The war in Ukraine and Russia’s violation of the UN Charter has led to a dramatic humanitarian crisis and the largest population movement across Europe since World War II, and already has major global implications. As articulated by the Executive Committee of the Paris Peace Forum in a statement in March, it also threatens cooperation on many other critical areas, notably on the biggest challenges for humanity, from the fight against global warming and loss of biodiversity to pandemic recovery and preparedness, nuclear disarmament, the race to reach the SDGs, economic and scientific cooperation as well as the common custody of the global commons including oceans, the poles and outer space. The resulting disruption of the world economy and rise in energy and food prices will without a doubt hit lower income countries the hardest.
The challenge to the international order is of such magnitude that the Forum dedicated its Spring Meeting to discussing how to preserve it and safeguard global public goods – with peace and economic stability as prerequisites, and how to prevent a global food crisis. The meeting also reflected on the increased importance of year-round activities for its community of members and partners and present some of the multi-actor programs and initiatives incubated by the Forum.
After a first segment reserved for the Paris Peace Forum community, the second portion was broadcast to the general public, with a focus on Preserving global cooperation in times of war.
The- public part of the Paris Peace Forum Spring Meeting, titled “Preserving global cooperation in times of war”, started with a spotlight interview with Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres, moderated by Trisha Shetty, President of the Paris Peace Forum Steering Committee.
During this discussion, Mr. Guterres reaffirmed that “what is happening in Ukraine is a violation of international law, of the UN charter, and is the invasion of a country by another”. He shared that the UN Secretariat is focusing its action on the humanitarian dimension and on reducing the conflict’s impact in relation to the global crisis, in particular with regards to food, energy and finance. He recalled that “this crisis comes on top of a group of crises” and for many countries, “the problem is not access to food, it is resources to buy food at the [increased] level of prices”. This calls for immediate action such as the removal of export bans and boosting liquidity and debt-relief instruments.
On whether geopolitics is killing global governance, Mr. Guterres emphasized that “there was never a true global governance system, and much less a democratic one”, and that the war in Ukraine has clearly demonstrated that current mechanisms are “not working properly”. He underlined the “need to transform this dramatic crisis into an opportunity”, to table the necessary reforms to give international cooperation mechanisms an effective capacity of governance, at least in critical areas (such as climate, health, cyberspace, outer space).
Then followed a Q&A with PPF community members. Salih Booker from the Ford Foundation quoted the Secretary General’s remark of a “morally bankrupt global financial system designed by the rich and powerful to benefit the rich and powerful”. Mr. Guterres first replied that “the inequality that was imposed in the vaccines distribution system is now creating a major threat for developed countries in the future”. “We need to make sure that international financial institutions that exist correspond to what the world needs today and not to what the world was after the WWII”.
On the topic raised by Fatmé Masri from Arab Reform Initiative, how to effectively include women’s participation in high level peace processes, Mr. Guterres stated that the central question is, as “we live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture”, women must take that power, as “power is never given, it is taken”.
To Trisha Shetty’s final question on the role of “we, the people”, Mr. Guterres concluded by reminding that “the strength of mechanisms of accountability is the best way to prevent future wars like this one”.
As moderator of Panel I – Avoiding more collateral damage: How do we keep global cooperation on track? – Justin Vaïsse introduced the discussion around these central questions: What mechanisms can be used to preserve global cooperation? How do we protect global governance from geopolitics?
Ilona Szabó, recently appointed to the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism, stressed that our current multilateralism framework was in need of an upgrade before the war, and the conflict in Ukraine had made a bad situation worse. Henry Wang from Center for China and Globalization pointed out that while China wants to stick to multilateralism, one sees some “alarming signals” – including security alliances – that the world is becoming more divided.
Arancha González from Sciences Po emphasized the importance of focusing the narrative on cooperative approaches in a fragmented world. Asked about globalization’s trajectory, she said that the new connectivity needed better management rules and building more resilience. She said that she was neither optimistic nor pessimistic about it but rather “activistic”. Natalie Samarasinghe from Open Society Foundations added that we “needed to make global cooperation – and fixing it – a priority”. That will happen by making it more inclusive, and by “rethinking our approach to global burden-sharing”.
Koen Doens, Director General of International Partnerships at the European Commission, reflected on the exercise of liberal democracies and its parallel with the multilateral system: “it is a balancing act between strong enough institutions and strong enough civil society” and doing away with at a global scale would be “going to a world where might makes right”. He outlined the European Union’s Global Gateway, which is the EU’s response to building its links with the rest of the word on how global challenges – climate change, digitization, socio-economic inequalities – can be tackled.
The second panel on “accelerating the response to the looming food crisis” started with a message of encouragement and gratitude to the partners from French President Emmanuel Macron.
Pascal Lamy, President of the Paris Peace Forum, asked panelists what needed to be done to face the looming food crisis. Mari Pangestu from the World Bank announced surge financing for the comprehensive global response focusing on food accessibility, fertilizers and food affordability for poor households, stressing that some countries are up to 80% dependent on food imports. Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, French Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, gave an overview of the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) initiative (launched by the French presidency of the EU) and its 3 pillars: Trade, Solidarity, and Production.
Jean-Marie Paugam from the WTO, echoed by Joe Glauber from the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), and emphasized the importance of keeping markets transparent and open as the situation is currently quite tense (with increasing export restrictions), and of reducing market distortions. Ute Klamert from the World Food Program advocated for the need to “prevent hunger from being used as a weapon of war”, and ensure open trade for food, pesticides and fertilizers. War must be a turning point in the way we address food insecurity, she said. Gabriel Ferrero from the Committee on World Food Security and Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa from the African Union Commission stressed the need to improve coordination of all the initiatives that have emerged. Dominik Ziller from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) shared his concern that this war may lead to a collapse of the global food system if no urgent action was taken, we needed to increase land used for production, and to reduce production loss and waste around supply chains.
As prices are currently 30-40% above normal, Pascal Lamy asked about increasing funding. As Mari Pangestu explained that coordination in emergency humanitarian funding deployment is key (targeting, cash, coupons, other mechanisms), Ute Klamert pondered on how to best invest available funds, as integrating climate resilience into social protection is essential. Dominik Ziller joined the WFP in calling for more funding and shared his deep concern that tightened conditions may put IFAD’s credit-rating at risk. Private sector and philanthropy actors could also play a key role, particularly on mid and long term financing.
Pascal Lamy then challenged the participants to address the food crisis while keeping our climate objectives. Food security and climate objectives can be addressed in an integrated way by encouraging local production and regional trade, diversifying seeds, crops etc. Increasing food production responsibly to reach self-sufficiency is essential for many import-dependent countries. He asked: is there a “Wir schaffen das” spirit that would allow for markets to stabilize? Pascal Lamy concluded by calling on the G7 and G20 to put together a “Whatever it takes” food action plan: Food should not be and is not a weapon.”
15:30 – 15:40 Opening words and short presentation of the fifth edition of the Paris Peace Forum (11-12 November 2022)
15:40 – 16:00 Spotlight with António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (Moderation by Trisha Shetty, President of the Paris Peace Forum Steering Committee), with questions from Salih Booker, Senior Program Officer, International Programs, Ford Foundation, and Fatmé Masri, Project Director, Arab Reform Initiative.
16:00 – 16:55 Avoiding more collateral damage: How do we keep global cooperation on track?
A high-level discussion exploring what can be done to keep the common agenda on global public goods on track. Speakers include Ilona Szabó, Co-founder and President of the Igarapé Institute, member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism, Henry Wang, Founder and President of Center for China and Globalization (CCG), Koen Doens, Director General – DG International Partnerships (INTPA), European Commission, Natalie Samarasinghe, Global Director for advocacy, Open Society Foundations (OSF), and Arancha González Laya, Dean of Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) at Sciences Po. The session was moderated by Justin Vaïsse, Director General of the Paris Peace Forum.
17:00 – 18:15 Accelerating the response to the looming food crisis
This session explored possible synergies between recently launched initiatives and accelerate consensus-building around an operational roadmap including the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM), launched on 24th March by the French Presidency of the European Council, in conjunction with partners from the European Union, the G7 and the African Union, and with the support of relevant international organizations (WTO, WFP, IFAD).
Speakers include: Mari Pangestu, Managing Director, Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank Group, Gabriel Ferrero, Chairperson, Committee on World Food Security, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, French Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, Jean-Marie Paugam, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Dominik Ziller, Vice President, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Joe Glauber, Secretary, Agricultural Market Information System, Ute Klamert, Assistant Executive Director, World Food Program (WFP), and Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director for Agriculture and Rural Development, African Union Commission. The session was moderated by Pascal Lamy, President of the Paris Peace Forum.
**All times are indicated in CEST / Paris time. Please note that the Spring Meeting was held in English only.
Appel à une mobilisation multi-acteurs pour un développement agricole durable en Afrique