Paris Peace Forum seeks to 'revamp' global cooperation after 'dismal' pandemic response
Ross Cullen in Paris
The message from this year's Paris Peace Forum is that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic must be equitable and green – and revive a multilateral system of global cooperation.
The Paris Peace Forum brings together world leaders, celebrities and grassroots activists for a conference on global governance. The 2020 edition got under way online on Wednesday.
The director-general of the forum slammed the international response to the pandemic. "This answer that we gave to the pandemic in terms of global coordination was terrible, it was dismal," Justin Vaïsse told CGTN Europe.
"The reason is that we've seen 10 years of the deterioration of global cooperation and of multilateralism – the cooperation of main governments and states.”
The forum typically looks for solutions to global governance but this year the pandemic and a green recovery are the focus, alongside the wider aim of better international cooperation.
"The Paris Peace Forum is about how to revive the multilateral system," Pascal Lamy, the president of the Paris Peace Forum, told CGTN Europe.
Lamy, who is a former director-general of the World Trade Organization, also said the forum will look at "ecological transition, the first big world congress of the development banks … lots of topics from cyber security to AI – and the reality is, what we try to do is beef up and revamp a multilateral cooperation system."
The mayor of the host city says the coronavirus crisis has exposed weaknesses in major cities.
"We are starting to see more damage maybe than in smaller cities and we fully recognize our dependence on globalization in that regard," Anne Hidalgo noted in her address to the opening ceremony.
"It means that we are working with an economy that has been even more damaged than other places have been – other areas that work on a much more local scale."
One of the sessions at the forum focuses on front-line workers, looking at how to protect and empower the health sector.
There is also a seminar on supporting vulnerable populations in the COVID-19 era.
On Wednesday, speakers also took part in a webinar on "infodemics" and how to combat fake news and conspiracy theories about the pandemic that have been shared online.