The second edition of the Paris Peace Forum took place at La Grande Halle de La Villette in Paris, France, from 11 to 13 November. The event brought together stakeholders from 140 countries, with over 7,000 participants, 33 Heads of State and 12 Heads of International Organisations. Here are four key takeaways from the event.
We need more representation and more dialogue to promote global peace
While moderating a panel on Rise of the South: towards a more balanced global governance system, the Foundation’s Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim, called for better representation of African countries and countries from the global South in international organisations such as the United Nations. He emphasised that local and international efforts need to be based on dialogue rather than power in order to ensure global peace. “Dialogues are better than bullets.”
Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary-General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), added that countries from the global South need to demand their seats at the table and increase cooperation amongst themselves. "We must not wait for the chairs to be pulled from the table for us to sit down. We need to maximise all the possibilities we have."
Dr Mohan Kumar, Chairman of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) in India, emphasised that countries from the global South shouldn’t allow bad politics to trump good economics. "What we need is good solid economics and good governance.”
Youth has a key role to play
The youth are key stakeholders that can come together and shape new answers to current challenges. They are key actors in the drive to update multilateral system. Youth is essential in promoting multilateralism and their trust in this should be strengthened in order to ensure the challenges of our time are properly addressed.
Jean Constantinesco, project leader at the AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub, emphasised how “often youth inclusive initiatives stop at the speeches,” but what programmes such as the AU-EU Youth Hub can do is bridge the gap and encourage collaboration amongst youth groups. Arancha González, Executive Director at the International Trade Centre added that there’s need for more youth involvement in key areas such as peace and multilateralism. “This is where your voice can be of huge help.”
For young leader Edwin Mulimi Nayendo from Kenya, a problem that needs to be urgently addressed is the lack of young voices in political spheres and decision-making processes. “Young people are not the leaders of tomorrow; young people are the leaders of today."
Leaders need to listen to their communities
International cooperation is essential to answer today’s challenges as ‘’no country can repair the cracks in isolation”, as put by the United Nation’s Secretary-General António Guterres during the soft opening of the Forum. However, particular needs from communities and countries need to be taken into consideration when creating global solutions.
Local solutions offer alternatives and should be scaled up
114 governance projects providing local solutions in 6 areas: peace & security, development, environment, new technologies, inclusive economy, and culture & education were presented during the event. Ten of these projects were selected to be scaled up and mentored by the Paris Peace Forum for a year:
- Mombasa Youth Assemblies, an Oslo Center project in Kenya that seeks to encourage a culture of democracy by engaging youth and helping them hold governments and stakeholders accountable.
- Festival à Sahel Ouvert from Senegal, who are using culture to foster economic development in Mboumba.
- Model Drugs Law West Africa, a Global Commission on Drug Policy initiative which provides guidance on how to make changes to drug policies in the region.
- The Implementation of the Abidjan Principles on The Right to Education, project compiles and interprets existing human rights law and standards in order to provide guidance on how to put them into practice, in the context of the rapid expansion of private sector involvement in education.
- Sustainable Cities Program, aim is to contribute to the sustainability of Brazilian cities and to improve the quality of life and the well-being of the population in general.
- Protecting Half the Planet: A New High Seas Biodiversity Treaty, goal of the High Seas Alliance is to support an effective framework that allows for the successful management and conservation of biodiversity in the high seas.
- Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative, aims to position Graduation as a key driver to end poverty in all its forms. It provides technical expertise to governments and other NGOs to enable adoption of quality Graduation programs, and advocates for a global shift in priority toward the ultra-poor in policy-making arenas.
- Rapid Response Mechanism for Higher Education in Emergencies, is a multi-stakeholder project in the making, aimed at providing more, better, and faster academic opportunities for students who are either in vulnerable situations or face humanitarian emergencies created by wars, conflicts, and natural disasters.
- Principles for Inclusive Peace Processes, aims to commence a global participatory process that will establish a new normative framework and standard to guide inclusive and effective peace processes.
- SADA’s Women’s Cooperative, aims to strengthen the resilience of Syrian women and girls and their host communities.
The next edition of the Paris Peace Forum will take place from 11-13 November 2020.