by Gordon Moseley in Geneva, Switzerland
The 2023 Public Forum of the World Trade Organinzation opened on Tuesday in Geneva with former British Prime Minister and current United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, highlighting the need for a global response to the many global problems facing the world, including climate change and pandemics.
Delivering a Presidential Lecture before a packed audience, Mr. Brown noted that the world continues to change and mankind is no longer confronted by wars against each other, but have to now deal with threats against humankind.
“Climate change, pandemics, financial contagion and other problems can only be addressed by globally coordinated action involving all of us, bearing in mind that despite today’s wars, the biggest threats are no longer among nations, but threats to humankind like climate change and pandemics as a whole, and they know no national boundaries. And so we need to engage all countries in the search for global responses to global problems. Without this we cannot be sure that climate change can ever be properly addressed, pandemics ever effectively controlled, financial contagion ever averted or global injustices properly addressed”, the former British Prime Minister said.
This year’s WTO Public Forum is declaring that “it is time for action”, and the former British Prime Minister in his lecture called for greater action by more countries to address the challenges facing the world and international trade.
He said there must also be global solutions for future possible threats that may face the international community, adding that attention must also be paid to those countries that would weaponize their resources to hurt the world economy.
On the issue of global resources and demands, Mr. Brown said countries would better be protected under a multilateral umbrella.
“Whatever the current advantages may be that can be gained from resource nationalism…that windfall may be short-lived as needs and demands change, additional countries find reserves and just as the friend-shoring can quickly lose its advantages when friends fall out and it becomes fore-shoring, resource nationalism loses its advantages when the resources fall out of being in demand, reminding us again that we are better protected through an effective multilateralism umbrella”, he noted.
Brown said the case must be made to every country that there be greater instances of global cooperation to allow greater institutions.
He sees greater international cooperation as a way to deal with the many challenges facing the global community, calling on the IMF to become an institution that does more for crisis prevention and crisis resolution, for the World Bank to be marginalized to focus on greater public good with a focus on global climate change and global education, and widespread support for efforts to resolve trade disputes. He also called for greater financing of the World Health Organization.
Many of the issues raised by the former British Prime Minister have been raised by many in the international community.
Guyana has been paying attention to the issues of climate change, financing for vulnerable communities, Agriculture and food security.