We were invited by a local German-speaking newspaper to write an opinion piece, reflecting on our experience at the World Economic Forum. This is our contribution. Dieser Artikel wurde in Zusammenarbeit mit Nikolaj Fischer verfasst. Das Weltwirtschaftsforum (WEF) sollte vergangene Woche erneut Spiegelbild weltpolitischen Ausmaßes sein. Prominent eingespielte Gäste wie Angela Merkel spiegeln die Machtverschiebungen auf dem politischen Parkett Europas wieder.
Unless you are an anarchist, you probably appreciate a little bit of state in your life – the collective force that upholds public order, guarantees your personal security and protects your private property. In the 17th century, the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes asked what would happen if individuals were allowed to interact with each other in the absence of a powerful state apparatus, that is in the absence of a Leviathan. He asserted that competition, jealousy and selfishness would lead to a war of all against all, making, in his now famous words, the life of man “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. For generations that have never witnessed civil war, this seems exaggerated, but it serves to illustrate the dangers associated with leaderless political communities. In the future, the global order might be characterized exactly by this absence of leadership. (more…)
Forget the G-8, the G-20, the United Nations and all other initiatives of global cooperation – in the emerging global order every nation fights for itself. At the World Economic Forum in Dubai few were as outspoken in the exclusion of the possibility of truly global cooperation as Dr. Ian Bremmer, who argues that it is to the benefit of nobody to close one’s eyes to the volatility, insecurity and humanitarian casualties that arise as ever fewer nations have the capacity and none have the willingness to exercise global leadership. (more…)
Friday June 22, the last day of the Rio+20 conference. A haze of exhaustion hangs over the media center at RioCentro. At the far end of the auditorium, which houses a mess of cords, cameras, laptops and weary-eyed journalists, a huge screen depicts a live feed of dignitaries delivering carefully prepared statements from the plenary hall. Suddenly laughter fills the press center followed by an uproar of applause. On screen, Bruno Oberle, Director of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, reads the final statement from the Swiss delegation: “Yes, we made progress, but we missed the historical opportunity….” A well-reasoned statement steeped in empiricism, but not one that would ordinarily get a rise out of a tired press corps.
The 3rd preparatory committee meeting for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development closed without agreement. With negotiations hitting a bottleneck, it was left to the Brazilian hosts of the Rio+20 conference to take over the process rush an agreement before final meetings. The text of the draft is diplomatic and polite but a front has hardened between northern and southern countries. It is mainly an economical frontline between the developed and developing world. Mexican standoff: The EU, the US and the G77
Almost every group involved in the negotiations was far from agreement.