Concluding panel: Looking ahead – Exiting from Disorder

Chair: Francois Heisbourg

Speakers: Mr Michael Møller, Amb. Theodor Winkler, Amb. Tehmina Janjua

Rapporteur: Ms Eva Soltész, Geneva Centre for Security Policy 

Today, we are facing a global disorder which has produced complex disruptions and multifaceted threats that seem almost impossible to resolve. From a policy perspective however, it is crucial to ensure the order in the international system to guarantee peace and security – even if looking back in history shows that a state of order has never been the norm and, recalling the period of the Cold War, is not necessarily a genuinely positive thing.

There are a number of elements which currently see disruptions and thus drive the current global disorder: globalization, rapid technological progress and demographic changes which challenge the function on the nation state; an increasing number of conflicts which result in a high number of IDPs and refugees; unstable multipolarity and uncertainty of the hegemonic model due to the rise of China; a crisis of multilateralism and lack of trust in international actors.

How to go about to tackle these challenges underlying the current disorder?

First of all, multilateral approaches and international organizations must be strengthened while cooperation among them must be increased and asymmetries overcome. Specifically, there is a critical need for change in the governance structure and a shift in the working culture on all levels of governance while enhancing the engagement of more actors, including regional organizations and non-state actors. Siloed practices must be replaced with more comprehensive, multifaceted approaches. As such, security policy needs to be linked more strongly to development cooperation. Furthermore, the structure of the UN system, particularly the Security Council, needs to be reconsidered and its operational work needs to be improved in order to become more effective. At the same time, more focus needs to be put on prevention and more long-term thinking.

Secondly, the unequal status quo of the globalized world, which lays the ground for the root causes of migration as well as the rise of extremist ideologies, must be addressed. Inequity in the global economic system needs to be reduced while ensuring respect for human rights and sustainable solutions for environmental challenges resulting from climate change.

Thirdly, the development as well as the use of new technologies needs to be thoroughly regulated in order to contain their potential as a threat and prevent misuse.

Lastly, we need to overcome the normative deficit which we are currently facing. As such, multi-stakeholder initiatives are a crucial way ahead. Most importantly, however, all actors must go back to act according to the UN Charter, upholding human rights and respect for international law as their guiding principles.

The actors which will need to play the leading role in “exiting from the disorder” are the UN and other multilateral actors as well as increasingly also regional organizations and local actors. The nation state, whose function is being challenged through the disruptions we are facing, will nevertheless continuously play an important role, as it serves as the basis of the international system and is the and foremost provider of services to its citizens.

The Maison de la paix organizations, the hosts of this very conference, have themselves a great potential to tackle the challenges we are facing today, by being home to an enormous amount of knowledge and expertise. Increasingly reaching out to the global South will be necessary in the future, as well as developing a “rapid reaction mechanism for peace”, as panelist Ambassador Winkler, an important figure in the foundation of the Maison de la paix, appropriately put it.