At a time of global tumult and rancour, where the issues pertaining to global governance are of tremendous importance, a delegation from the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) had the honour of meeting H.E. António Guterres, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, on May 4th, at the UN Headquarters in New York.
This visit carried a message of strong support both to the new UN Secretary General, the institution itself and the persisting universal values of equity, fairness, consensus and decency the UN represents, as it is the primary global forum to address the unprecedented challenges the world is currently facing. The delegation consisted of Massimo D’Alema, President of FEPS, Pascal Lamy, Vice-President of FEPS and former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Ernst Stetter, Secretary General of FEPS, Juan Somavía, former Director-General of the International Labour Organisation and close collaborator of FEPS, and Vassilis Ntousas, FEPS International Relations Policy Advisor.
The meeting provided an excellent opportunity to delve into the specifics of the period of profound global challenges we are experiencing, during which the work of the UN is more urgently required than ever. From the growing gap of confidence and sense of disconnect that is experienced globally, the spectacular renaissance of geopolitics, and the exacerbating spectre of inequalities, to the rise in populism, protectionism, illiberalism, extremism, nativism, and anti-intellectualism, the intensity, extensity, and interconnectedness of global challenges is such that the UN remains ideally placed to continue playing its role as the guarantor of peace, security and prosperity, as well as the best framework for multi-stakeholder coalitions needed to address these issues more efficiently.
At the meeting’s core of discussion stood the range of modalities through which FEPS can be of assistance to the work of the UN. As the only progressive think-tank at European level and as the centre of one of the most extensive networks of progressive and social democratic organisations and foundations in Europe and beyond, FEPS is uniquely positioned to provide the space for the necessary global thought coalitions to be nurtured, and in this sense, to help articulate some much needed progressive proposals for the international issues of today and tomorrow.
Recognising the role, reach and gravitas of FEPS, it was agreed that closer cooperation between the UN and FEPS will be concretely pursued in delineating policy specifics behind our joint vision for a fairer, better, more inclusive and more secure world, in the areas of global governance, migration, security, and climate change.
The intention of FEPS to host an annual meeting around the UN General Assembly was also found as a great concrete step as to how the cooperation between FEPS and the UN can be strengthened. A first meeting of this kind was announced for next year’s General Assembly meeting, most likely to focus on international migration issues and social cohesion, bringing together influential policy-makers and intellectuals from all across the globe.