Brunswick’s Pascal Lamy, President of the Paris Peace Forum, describes the opportunities the event presents for global corporations to engage with governments, peers and civil society toward solving the world’s toughest problems.
The Paris Peace Forum was launched in 2018 as a global answer to the crisis of multilateralism we were collectively facing in the midst of Donald Trump’s presidency. The multilateral system was shaken by the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and UNESCO. It was also contending with the worrying rise of populism and big power rivalry.
To counter that, 65 heads of state and government, 20 heads of international organizations and hundreds of actors from civil society gathered to reaffirm the importance of collective action in responding to the most critical challenges of our time, ranging from the fight against climate change to the preservation of biodiversity and the regulation of cyberspace.
Building on this extraordinary momentum, the Paris Peace Forum is now at the forefront of multi-stakeholder diplomacy, partnering with prominent private and public institutions along with civil society to incubate and scale-up solutions on global challenges. Even as the US has returned to its former role in global institutions under President Biden—demonstrated, among other ways, by Vice President Kamala Harris’ participation in the 2021 Forum—the Paris Peace Forum has demonstrated the appetite for a new arena for multi-stakeholder engagement.
Why should companies care?
Brunswick entered a partnership with the Paris Peace Forum last year because a key part of our work is bridging the worlds of politics, finance and society. The Paris Peace Forum is a natural platform to accelerate this dialogue. There is no other place today with such a mix of actors, from high-level to grassroots, from the Global North to Global South, from civil society to government to business.
By engaging with the Paris Peace Forum and interacting with its wide community of civil society project leaders, companies can identify their greatest opportunities to create social value and strengthen their ongoing commitment to transform themselves.
Among other highlights, the last edition of the Paris Peace Forum saw the launch of several new initiatives. Among them was the “Net Zero Space” initiative, calling for achieving sustainable use of outer space involving prominent actors from the New Space industry. Another was an international call for child safety, involving major tech companies along with states and international organizations. Yet another was an International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM) for the independence of media in fragile settings—“it’s hard to think of a time in recent history,” as the fund writes on its website, “when access to trustworthy information has been more important.”
Looking ahead—the 2022 Paris Peace Forum
The next Paris Peace Forum will take place on November 11-13, 2022. The high-level segment of COP27 starts in Egypt on November 8, so we hope many participants will be able to circulate between the events. As in every edition, the Paris Peace Forum will offer speaking opportunities in multi-actor debates—ones that involve heads of state and government, civil society leaders, private and institutional investors as well as heads of international organizations. As a platform focused on solutions, the Forum is also looking for examples of how companies are creating social value. This year’s event is an opportunity to share your company’s journey to the international community.
Pascal Lamy, Chair of Brunswick Europe, was formerly Director-General of the World Trade Organization and also European Commissioner for Trade. He is President of the Paris Peace Forum.
Additional reporting by Hakim El Karoui, a Senior Partner and Head of Brunswick’s Paris Office, and Marc Reverdin, a Director based in London who was formerly Secretary General of the Paris Peace Forum.
Photograph: Wolfgang Volz/Laif/Redux