Regional leaders agree on deepening links
The World Economic Forum's first Global Meeting of Regional Organizations, held in collaboration with the Government of the United Arab Emirates, ended on Wednesday, with regional leaders from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America calling for deeper links to the United Nations and other global multilateral organizations.
In particular, the regional leaders agreed to contribute shaping the UN development agenda for after 2015, the target year of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The meeting brought together high-level public figures representing regional and international organizations with experts and thought leaders from the World Economic Forum's Network of Global Agenda Councils. It was held at the same time as the World Economic Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda 2012, which closes on Thursday.
The Global Meeting of Regional Organizations provided a platform for participants to discuss how to strengthen their effectiveness and act as catalysts for advancing global cooperation. The regional leaders agreed to broaden their agenda and expand participation.
They will hold further meetings in 2013.
The growing fragmentation of the post-Second World War global governance system provided the historical and political context for the meeting. In recent years, particularly in the aftermath of the global economic crisis, the effectiveness of global institutions, as well as their rules and decision-making processes, has come under intense scrutiny.
Evidence of the deficits of the global system today include the inability of the international community to agree on a global framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the persistent deadlock in the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations or the lack of effective international regimes in preventing and managing armed conflicts.
The main issues discussed at the Global Meeting of Regional Organizations included the goal and purpose of regional organizations in the 21st century, regional initiatives to advance global trade, and how regional organizations can more efficiently prevent and manage armed conflicts and reduce the threat to human security.
Weakening global governance and a simultaneous upsurge of regionalism have made regional organizations increasingly relevant actors on global issues.
While global institutions remain the most significant bodies to address transnational issues, regional organizations have an increasing responsibility to support global governance. In addition, regional solutions could prove to be significant catalysts for global action. There are more than 50 major regional organizations worldwide.