“Peace is not just the suspension of war. It is made up of all the solutions that help minimize international tensions: cooperation to fight climate change and resource scarcity, institutions to channel power rivalries and administer global public goods, justice to assuage grievances and frustration, regulation to address inequalities and abuses of power.” – Paris Peace Forum
The WBA is honoured to be selected as one of ten winning projects seeking to develop solutions for today’s transborder challenges, showcased as part of the Paris Peace Forum on 11-13 November. The Forum, which commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the end of WW1, called for strengthened international cooperation and global governance. During the opening ceremony, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel championed the necessity of multilateralism at a time of increasing nationalism, global insecurity, and threats to international order. Their call for collaboration, however, went beyond governmental cohesion and pushed for multi-stakeholder cooperation; as UN Secretary General António Guterres reiterated, “we need inclusive multilateralism in close conjunction with civil society and the business community”.
With over 10,000 visitors, 65 Heads of State and Government and 10 leaders of international organisations, the Forum brought together a multi-sector group of actors for a dynamic series of project presentations, pitches, panels and brain-dates. This energised interactions between participants and challenged them to think beyond the parameters of their own networks to explore solutions to global governance challenges. The innovative format encouraged new conversations and helped connect initiatives and bridge sectors. Chance encounters at the stalls or a seat on the same panel discussion helped to highlight similarities between project aims and reflected core shared values, demonstrating the power of partnerships and the inherent benefits of multilateralism in confronting interconnected and cross-border challenges and threats.
It was inspiring to see the encouragement and potential for building new governance models over the course of the Forum, and the community the Alliance has built thus far proved to be a powerful case study for the potential impact multi-stakeholder initiatives can have on the global stage. At the WBA’s stand we continued to learn from diverse conversations with visitors – as well as other multi-stakeholder initiatives – about the value of the Alliance in our goal to measure and incentivise business impact towards a sustainable future. We were encouraged once more to reflect on the shape the Alliance could and should take going forward, particularly in our ability to engage across stakeholders and geographies more broadly.
As we continue to find new ways of working together to strengthen each Ally’s capacity, as well as our collective power as an Alliance, it is worth remembering that we are stronger than the sum of our parts. Our community of Allies is our greatest strength, and we were honoured to be able to accept and share this award on behalf of all of you. In a time when multilateralism is under fire, let’s seize upon this momentum to continue to work towards an inclusive and sustainable future that works for all.