Category: Global Governance

Around George Papandreou, Madeleine Albright and several Foreign Affairs and Prime Ministers, the 22nd Symi Symposium invented the “Hybrid Forum”

July 26th-30th, the progressive family resumed meeting, to discuss the current global and US situation, the future of Europe, and topics such as the lifelong learning systems, narratives of wars and progressive movements of care, energy renaissance, the Balkans, the BRICS. Striking a balance: both in person, the good old way, and through Zoom, the good new way.

Despite the pandemic and other shut borders odds, the Symi Symposium, annually organized by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation, could this year again gather George Papandreou’s political and academic, influencers, friends. Since 2017, The Bridge Tank is being part of what this year was perhaps the first “Hybrid Forum”: a fine combination of core in-house, closed doors debates with tailored amount of Zoom exchanges with leaders such as f. Secretary Madeleine Albright, NATO’s Dy SG Geona, f. Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd or Colette Avital former Presidential candidate in Israel.

Madeleine Albright from DC, George Papandreou from Symi Symposium and Colette Avital from Israel

Symi Symposium conversations take place under the aegis of the “Chatham House” rules; not disclosing the positions of various speakers, topics revolved around pressing issues: with Madeleine Albright and later with Richard Parker from Harvard on the growing understanding that racism in America has something “systemic”, and how generally speaking the US situation relates to the agony of an age when Americans were 80% rooted in American-European white population, now evolving towards a 4-5 streams of populations origins trying to organise a domestic polity; the US now stand at a point where they have to internally negotiate new political alliances: this might possibly be one root of America giving the impression it is now in a mess.

As Greece now chairs the Council of Europe, this edition was additionally a week long opportunity to discuss current issues with
Frank Schwabe, Chairman of the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, or Francesca Abrogast, Executive Secretary of the Group.

Frank Schwabe’s speech following George Papandreou’s welcome
Francesca Abrogast, here with Denis MacShanne, who was Tony Blair’s Minister for Europe

We also had the usual Symi Symposium conversations with leaders in the Balkans or struggling progressives of different parts of the world, such as Isadora Zubillaga from Venezuela, the Special Representative in Paris of Juan Guaido. Conversations with leaders who have just emerged out of democratic struggles (North Macedonia), or who are now into these (Venezuela) attested that “Democracy is the longest meeting”. In this line, Joel Ruet from the Bridge Tank advocated for a continued discussion with the weavers within all systems.

Isadora Zubillaga, vice foreign Affairs Minister in Guaido’s “Government in charge” from Venezuela, Radmilla Shekerinska, Minister for Defense, North Macedonia, George Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece and President of the Socialist International, and Joel Ruet, President, The Bridge Tank.

During the same session, a special conversation with Mircea Geoana gave us the sense that NATO’s Secretariat is quite active at foresight on the risks and threats of the future.

We also discussed the pandemic development through the lens of lifelong learning systems, over three time horizons: so far the reaction against the Covid was a “Defense”, we’ll now need to “Exit” this temporary space and actively prepare to engaging into transformation, e.g. “Enlarging” humanness of systems. On all issues with no boundaries, a care Leadership has to emerge through the right bundle of community, participative democracy, technology, and an Education designed for world and life, not just for jobs. Economics too need to be mobilized: in the eve of automation, how shall robots contribute into revenue, and revenue support a “positive idleness”, that is not a pure ensure but contribution to the society.

It is all the more important to continue this work and not to be blinded by strategic competition, frictions and gaps, but rather recognizing at areas of strategic collaborations: Covid, climate, finance cooperation. The Symposium closed with ground for optimism, noting that in the long course of Energy history, for instance, the world sees the first policy driven energy transformation. It si in a great way also industry-driven and transition has to be Just with a real energy-society integration by policy; this may serves as a case study for a larger renewed Social contract.

Last but not least, Symi was also the occasion to continue exchanging ideas beyond the sessions.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium and now Member of Constitutional Court Erick Derycke, Mrs Dericke, and Joel Ruet

Joel Ruet, Chairman The Bridge Tank

NB: This post is only a personal reflexion on the event and discussions and does not bind in anyway the organizers nor any participant. Quotes are not necessarily attributable to any of the participants, nor to the persons mentioned in this post, but are rather reformulations of some formulas that may have circulated in the forum at some point. 

T20 Web Conference: Policy Recommendations for a Post-COVID-19 World

Joel Ruet presented the views of the Bridge Tank-convened working group on Promoting Southern actors’ direct access to the Green Climate Fund to de-risk projects and raise additional climate finance flows, written by Joël Ruet, Alessia Ameghini, Adel Ben Youssef, Ban Le, Celine Bak, Alexandre Borde, Paolo Giudici, Axel Michaelowa, Kang Rongping, Aman Srivastava, Leena Srivastava, Anbumozhi Venkatachalam.

Both the 2020-horizon USD 100 billion mobilization for climate and 2025 renewed target remain elusive. Climate negotiations are heading for a deadlock. The largest among multi-lateral climate funds, the Green Climate Fund, targets “greater paradigm-shifting mitigation and adaptation impact”. Structuring and scaling up climate financing implies to focus on differentiating between various risk appetites.

To encourage private additional flows, the G20 should support the GCF’s strategy of efficiently accrediting more Southern actors, becoming a facilitator of blended North-South-South public-private finance and an “educated risk-taking” Fund. This would defuse the climate negotiations crisis and accompany structuring climate finance.

Exchanges and proposals on industry with the Chinese Embassy in Paris

On June 11th, Joel Ruet exchanged views on the international situation with the Chinese ambassador in Paris and French personalities including former ministers Hubert Védrine and François Loos, former Elysée diplomatic advisers Maurice Gourdault-Montagne and Jean-David Levitte, experts Emmanuel Dupuy, Barthelemy Courmont and General Jean-Bernard Pinatel.

Several speakers pointed out that the United States has a position on the substance that will be sustainable even if the form would change with the eventual election of Mr. Biden.

François Loos and Joel Ruet jointly mentioned the persistent difficulties in framing a bilateral China-EU investment treaty, as well as the need to re-industrialise. The Bridge Tank stressed the need for a territorial approach for France that is outside the Anglo Saxon framework focused on “all trade” but also goes in the direction of framing practices between the EU and China.

Ruet stressed that industrial discussions remain at the end of the cycle despite optimistic bilateral statements, recalling with other participants that the 17+1 dialogue must also be brought closer to the EU in order to prepare for the China-EU Summit in Leipzig.

How does the pandemic impact the competition between the United States and China?

An Issue Brief, by Ambassador Philippe COSTE.  

Tensions between the two competitors are escalating, China’s situation vis-à-vis the United States is likely to strengthen and global governance is even more severely lacking than in the past, calling for more of European contruction. 

Download the French text 

► Not only the two powers which hold in their hands a good part of the fate of the planet show themselves little penetrated by their responsibilities towards multilateral insttutions, but everything happens as if the latter have become the closed field of a struggle for influence between the two superpowers. 

► Nevertheless the appreciation of a China that would have gained a relative advantage needs to be qualified. Before the “mask diplomacy”, the Europeans were divided with regard to China: a little wary but very interested in continuing to do business with this country of cocagne. Since then, the proportions have been reversed: Europeans are still interested in doing business but are clearly more suspicious.  

► It is only more urgent that Europe, mobilizes itself even more energetically to call the world to reason. Obviously, between the disputes over Brexit and those over financial solidarity between countries of the North and the South, and with the overwhelming short-term deadlines which beset European governments, the task is not easy, to say the least. But that is not a reason not to try it, with faith and persistency, as it is the only possible way.

Coronavirus Shows Healthcare Needs Global Governance

BY IRINA BOKOVA, HAKIMA EL HAITE, GEORGE PAPANDREOU, JOËL RUET

We firmly believe it is time to re-consider every country’s health security, using global governance tools that already exist. If we have the will and resources to invest into financial stability or limit global heating, why is health security not on the table too?

https://www.diplomaticourier.com/posts/coronavirus-shows-healthcare-needs-global-governance

COVID-19 : Let us take off our Blinders and Build a New World

BY HAKIMA EL HAITE & JOËL RUET

While we are giving in to the emergency, nature and its ecosystems are already preparing the next tornadoes, freezes, fires and floods, the next viruses to resolve the matter, in one way or another.

We have this choice, all together, today, to remove our blinders.

https://www.diplomaticourier.com/posts/let-us-take-off-our-blinders-and-build-a-new-world

The Bridge Tank’s 2020 Davos – Highlights

As each year, Davos is too hectic to come into a post. Here are, beyond our own organized “Innovation Lunch”, some highlights.

We started with a TV interview on this year’s theme on sustainable environment at the 50th World Economic Forum – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwk5r9PJcPE . The Davos forum of course lags behind on the environment but, despite “We will not save the planet only with companies, but we will not save the planet without companies”.

As last year, The Bridge Tank participated in the 4th Davos Forum on the Silk Roads, / Belt and Road Initiative. A discussion on how to move “from the old globalization that benefits some, to a new globalization focused on the belt and the road that benefits everyone and is of high quality”. Who said Davos is not political ?

On more economic found, the idea was to debate “More international public goods (open to all) than private goods (for shareholders)”.

Last but not least glimpse of this year, we enjoyed the Davos “Open” Forum through an amazing keynote speaker and player: Yo Yo MA.

In conversation – better sharing the dividends of growth

At G20 / T20, Saudi Deputy Minister of Finance said multilateral organizations have succeeded in ensuring efficiency but have failed in distribution – they “have focused on creating growth rather than sharing the fruits “

He planned pledges for multilateral stimulation to promote the national and common interests of the population – illustrating demographic transitions and employment in the South.

This is in this spirit ou Policy Brief wants to give ways for financial actors of the South directly accessing the Green Climate Fund.

The Bridge Tank participated in the G20 / Think20 kick-off meeting in Riyadh

At this meeting we presented our ideas and plans for a policy brief to G20 leaders on increasing the financial envelope of the Green Climate Fund. The Brief will be directed by The Bridge Tank and involves contributors from Tunisia, China, India, Indonesia, Germany, Italy and France.

Over the past 5 years, we have contributed to the Task Force on “Climate change and finance” of the T20, and seen the exercise progress and deepen. When G20 leaders decide to unite, solutions are ready through engagement groups like the T20.

We received a warm welcome from the Saudi Arabian G20 presidency and the global T20 teams.

In the Plenary, HRH Prince Turki al Faycal bin Saud, long time head of Saudi intelligence, gave a keynote to Think20/G20 experts, encouraging us for innovative funding solutions, in line with our policy proposals on Green Climate Fund: fast direct access to southern countries, funds and NGOs.

T20/G20 Policy Brief : Innovative Green-Technology SMEs as an Opportunity to Promote Financial De-Risking

By Joël Ruet(The Bridge Tank and CNRS-CEPN), Elena Verdolini(FEEM and CMCC), Céline Bak(CIGI and Analytica Advisors),  Anbumozhi Venkatachalam(ERIA)

“We recommend that the G20 target innovative green-technology SMEs as an opportunity to promote financial de-risking while addressing Paris Agreement commitments and UN Sustainable Development Goals. This should be achieved by creating signals for private investors through: (1) a reporting system that can help monitor the scale-up of green-technology SMEs; (2) the use of public funds to signal innovative green-technology SMEs to investors; and (3) the inclusion of SMEs in the design of green finance platforms. By implementing these recommendations, the G20 will ensure that innovative, low- carbon SMEs become attractive, low(er)-risk investment opportunities for the private sector.” Read more …

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