A Bookazine Edition by
2022 EDITION A Bookazine Edition by
PUBLISHER DIPLOMATIC COURIER | MEDAURAS GLOBAL WASHINGTON, DC
Copyright © by Diplomatic Courier/Medauras Global Publishing 2006-2022 All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. First Published 2006. Published in the United States by Medauras Global and Diplomatic Courier. Mailing Address: 1660 L Street, NW, Suite 501, Washington, DC, 20036 | www.diplomaticourier.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data ISBN: 978-1-942772-07-1 (Digital) ISBN: 978-1-942772-06-4 (Print) LEGAL NOTICE. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form—except brief excerpts for the purpose of review—without written consent from the publisher and the authors. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information in this publication; however, the authors, the editors, Diplomatic Courier, and Medauras Global make no warranties, express or implied, in regards to the information and disclaim all liability for any loss, damages, errors, or omissions. EDITORIAL. The essays both in print and online represent the views of their authors and do not reflect those of the editors and the publishers. While the editors assume responsibility for the selection of the articles, the authors are responsible for the facts and interpretations of their articles. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information in this publication, however, Medauras Global and the Diplomatic Courier make no warranties, express or implied in regards to the information, and disclaim all liability for any loss, damages, errors, or omissions. PERMISSIONS. None of the articles can be reproduced without their permission and that of the publishers. For permissions please email the editors at: firstname.lastname@example.org with your written request. COVER DESIGN. Cover & jacket photo via Adobe Stock; design by Marc Garfield for Diplomatic Courier.
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A Bookazine Edition by
DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022 EDITION
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ANA C. ROLD MANAGING EDITOR SHANE SZARKOWSKI SERIES EDITORS ADAM RATZLAF WINONA ROYLANCE CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS NAZA ALAKIJA AARON ALLEN JENNA BEN-YEHUDA CARL BILDT ANDREA BONIME-BLANC WHITNEY DEVRIES DANIELLA FOSTER NICOLE GOLDIN CONNIE GONZALEZ RICHARD HAASS WENDY KOPP CAREY K. MOTT MANUEL MUÑIZ JOSEPH S. NYE, JR. SRUJANA PENUMETCHA ADAM RATZLAFF CORINNE RIPOCHE ANA C. ROLD CAREL DU MARCHIE SARVAAS PURU TRIVEDI OLA M. TUCKER OAKLEIGH WELPLY PUBLISHER DIPLOMATIC COURIER | MEDAURAS GLOBAL WASHINGTON, DC DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 5
TABLE OF CONTENTS FROM DOHA TO DAVOS: EDUCATION’S GREAT RESET IS HERE | ANA C. ROLD & WHITNEY DEVRIES......................................................................................................12 REORIENTING RESILIENCE FOR GROWTH IN THE NEXT NORMAL | NICOLE GOLDIN..............................................................................................................................................20 DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE “S” IN ESG INVESTING | DANIELLA FOSTER.........................................................................................................................................26 A WORLD OF MOUNTING DISARRAY | RICHARD HAASS.........................................................32 GERMANY’S NEW GREEN-POWERED DIPLOMACY | AARON ALLEN...........................38 QUO VADIS STAKEHOLDER CAPITALISM? SCENARIOS AND PROJECTIONS | ANDREA BONIME-BLANC.......................................................................................44 WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SOFT POWER? | JOSEPH S. NYE, JR.......................................52 TECHNOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY | MANUEL MUÑIZ...............................................................................................................................................58 WOMEN’S BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS’ AGILITY KEY TO PANDEMIC RESPONSE WORLDWIDE | SRUJANA PENUMETCHA & CONNIE GONZALEZ.............64 FUTURE-PROOFING THE WORKFORCE OF TOMORROW | CORINNE RIPOCHE........................................................................................................................................70 OUR OPPORTUNITY TO RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION | NAZA ALAKIJA.................................................................................................................................................76 TO REMAKE THE WORLD, LET’S RETHINK EDUCATION | WENDY KOPP....................................................................................................................................................82 ANIMAL HEALTH IS KEY TO TACKLING BOTH POVERTY AND CLIMATE CHANGE | CAREL DU MARCHIE SARVAAS...................................................................88 DIGITAL DIPLOMACY IS THE NEXT NORMAL | PURU TRIVEDI..............................................92 REGULATING THE DISRUPTORS | CAREY K. MOTT.......................................................................98 REFORMING THE DEFECTIVE U.S. SANCTIONS REGIME | OLA M. TUCKER................104 THE AMERICAS’ COMORBIDITIES: INEQUALITY AND DECLINING TRUST IN DEMOCRACY | ADAM RATZLAFF......................................................................................................110 RESILIENCE AS TRANSFORMATION FOR A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD | OAKLEIGH WELPLY........................................................................................................................................116 TO RESTORE FAITH IN GOVERNMENT, BRING CIVIL SOCIETY TO THE TABLE | JENNA BEN-YEHUDA .................................................................................................................................122 DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 7
THE DAVOS AGENDA EDITOR’S WELCOME
he World Economic Forum today kicked off the WEF’s Davos Agenda 2022, which for the second year in a row is being held virtually due to the pandemic’s stickiness. While the summit looks different from years past, it remains the first global platform in 2022 where key heads of state, executives, and leaders from civil society and international organizations will be able to gather and reflect on the “State of the World.” That state remains incredibly challenging, and leaders will work toward solutions to exacerbated global divisions, vaccine inequities, a stalled economic recovery, and other longer-term challenges which are less directly connected to COVID-19. For years, Diplomatic Courier has been a presence at Davos for these meetings, hosting sideline convenings of multisectoral experts to discuss the state of the world and solutions to daunting challenges. While we were unable to host a convening on the sidelines this year for obvious reasons, Diplomatic Courier nevertheless brought together an array of experts to discuss critical challenges and potential solutions in our annual Davos Dialogues bookazine publication. Davos week remains an important opportunity to contemplate the State of the World and so, virtual or in-person, Diplomatic Courier remains committed to providing a platform for that contemplation. In our call for papers to Diplomatic Courier’s network of experts, we identified twelve themes for contributors to engage with. This edition of Davos Dialogues enjoys thoughtful contributions across a wide swath of these themes, but three in particular stand out. One of these is the future of education, which in 2022 is a key theme for both Diplomatic Courier and World in 2050. UNICEF Senior Advisor and Sage Foundation founder Naza Alakija talks about how disruptive and exponential technologies have the potential to expand connectivity and bolster gender equality throughout world’s education systems. Diplomatic Courier founder Ana Rold and correspondent Whitney DeVries, meanwhile, give a 10,000-feet view the future of personalized education, the promise of Ed-Tech, and how leaders across a variety of sectors have been discussing these challenges. 8 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
Another key theme in this bookazine edition is resilience. Global Head, Inclusive Economic Growth at Abt Associates Nicole Goldin reminds us that the need for resilience in the face of disaster has long been acknowledged, but we still failed the most vulnerable during the pandemic. This, she says, highlights the need to revise and reorient how we approach resilience to be more inclusive and sustainable to meet future challenges. Connie Gonzalez and Srujana Penumetcha of CIPE’s Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment, meanwhile, examined how women entrepreneurs were disproportionately hurt by the pandemic, and how women’s business associations responded—in many cases very successfully—to these challenges with an eye toward greater inclusivity in economic systems to help foster more resilience for women entrepreneurs. A third theme, and one which underpins how we meet every challenge, is how we invest in solutions. Bayer VP and Global Head of Public Affairs and Sustainability Daniella Foster tackles shortcoming in the recently very trendy ESG investing space, where she warns that too much attention is being paid to the “E” in ESG and not enough to the “S,” or social investing. She argues that social investing not only helps to meet the UN SDGs, but that these social issues are highly interrelated with climate change. GEC Risk Advisory founder Andrea BonimeBlanc, finally, examines the failures of shareholder capitalism and state capitalism in meeting the challenges of 2020. Stakeholder capitalism, she tells us, has the potential to privilege a longer-term mindset to create better sustainable and resilient value creation.
Shane Szarkowski Managing Editor Diplomatic Courier January 2022
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Photo by WISE.
FROM DOHA TO DAVOS: EDUCATION’S GREAT RESET IS HERE ANA C. ROLD & WHITNEY DEVRIES
wo years into the pandemic and schools are still struggling with teacher shortages, student and staff absences, and a growing number of students that are developing mental health issues and are unable to catch up. This is in the parts of the world where funding, accessibility, and technologies are in abundance. In rural or developing regions of the world, where lack of internet connectivity and other challenges—like poverty, illness, and lack of infrastructure—persist, the outcomes for learners have been catastrophic. Experts believe it could take an entire generation to catch up to pre-pandemic levels. The silver lining is that the covid generation is a tenacious one and is eager to contribute to solutions. But they don’t typically get a seat at the table to do just that. Sure, we often invite young people to join big events and multilateral meetings, but not on their terms. What would happen if youth had a powerful platform to broadcast both their needs and ideas for the future? WISE—the preeminent global platform for the future of education—aimed to answer that very question in their biennial summit last month. In a first, WISE invited a large cohort of young leaders to curate a big part of the content for the meeting. As concerns rise over the pandemic’s impact on every aspect of our lives, several key ideas and solutions came to light during the WISE sessions, curated by youth leaders and experts alike. Our team at Diplomatic Courier was privileged to moderate two 12 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
sessions and preview ground-breaking research. As we begin Davos Week—a time each January when heads of state, private sector and civil society leaders mobilize around global challenges—we look back to WISE’s generation unmute for solutions.
The Future of Learning is Personal COVID-19 accelerated adoption of personalized learning and there is near universal enthusiasm for it: these were some of the key takeaways of an Economist Impact research paper unveiled at WISE. Given the mass-adoption of Ed-Tech due to the pandemic, this was not a big surprise. However, this universal enthusiasm mirrored near universal confusion about what personalized learning really is and most importantly which approaches—teacher-led or student-led—are more suitable when navigating the future. There is huge promise in personalized learning, whichever level in the spectrum we follow. Personalized learning exists to meet the needs of individual students so they can achieve their full potential. To further accomplish this in schools, the gap between teachers, administrators, and students must be bridged. Simply put: “Personalized learning technology can really support building environments where the teachers acquire the necessary skills and allocate time to better know their students, to adjust the teaching experience to help students achieve their full potential,” explains Elyas Felfoul, WISE Director of Policy Development and Partnerships.
Panelists discuss the launch of report “Getting Personal: The Future of Education Post COVID-19.” From left to right: Isabelle Hau, Impact Funder, Ana C. Rold, CEO & Publisher, Diplomatic Courier, Elyas Felfoul, Director of Policy Development and Partnerships, WISE, Mehdi Benchaabane, Executive Director, Learning & Innovation, Qatar Foundation. Joining virtually: Jonathan Birdwell, Regional Director (EMEA), Policy & Insights, Economist Impact. Photo courtesy of WISE. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 13
Can Ed-Tech Keep Its Promise? Ed-Tech’s big promise—especially since the pandemic forced learning online—is greater access to education worldwide. However, it comes with challenges to ensure equitable inclusion. We know too well that even though technology is a key tool for delivery, it is not enough on its own. Experts see Ed-Tech as a key vehicle to deliver more equity, which is reflected in the gold-rush to Ed-Tech focused investment. Recently, Owl Ventures raised over USD $1 billion across three funds. According to education investor Isabelle Hau, impact investing in the Ed-Tech sector could advance in two ways in the future. First, it will grow and become more global. Second, it will continue to evolve with a greater focus on equity either through funding for women and traditionally underfunded entrepreneurs or for solutions that grant greater equitable outcomes in education. Ultimately, Ed-Tech will grow globally, but equity must remain at the forefront of its adoption, concludes Hau.
WISE Panel: “Women in Education: Breaking the Glass Ceiling” addressed the contributions of girls and women in the future of education. Panelists included: Ana C. Rold, CEO & Publisher, Diplomatic Courier, Naza Alakija, Founder, SAGE Foundation, Eglantina Zingg, Founder, Goleadoras, and Sarah Wadi Al-Amiry, Joint Venture Project Manager, Exxon Mobil. Photo courtesy of WISE.
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A Proverbial Glass Ceiling Made of Concrete This we know: educating girls can uplift entire communities and societies. Girls need to participate in all fields, including STEM, where there is a shortage. But breaking the proverbial glass ceiling post-pandemic is like trying to break concrete. “The most basic and essential area of focus for positive change right now is to ensure that girls can attend school safely and complete their education,” said Naza Alakija, Founder of the SAGE Foundation. “When girls have to drop out—even for a short time—their parents are much less likely to allow them to go back, as they don’t see the return on time and investment.” However, “[girls] have the ability to think differently and innovate in a way that we’ve never dreamed of,” said Alakija. Therefore, educating girls remains of utmost importance, especially at a time when the pandemic has forced millions of girls out of schools—some of them permanently. Accessibility, is another basic need that simply cannot be pushed to the side any longer. Over 1.3 billion people worldwide do not have internet access, and 94% of children missed out on school during the pandemic, making access and connectivity a serious educational concern. “Without [internet], they’re cut off from life-changing information and knowledge,” explains Alakija. “They have fewer resources to help them learn, grow, and to fulfill their potential.”
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bin Nasser, Chairperson, Qatar Foundation, presents Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder, Teach For All, the 2021 WISE Prize for Education award. Photo courtesy of WISE. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 15
A Whole of Society Approach to Education “As educators, we have the greatest role to play in shaping the future,” said Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach For All, who was awarded with WISE’s prestigious WISE Prize for Education. “In order to do that, we need to reorient towards a different purpose that is relevant for today’s world—a purpose of enabling students to gain the mindsets and skills and sense of well-being that they will need to shape a better future.” Several leaders, including Kopp, stressed the importance of transforming learning systems. Educators increasingly focus on students’ well-being while also enlisting them to help solve problems in our world today. However, collective leadership and the inclusion of citizens on all levels of the entire education ecosystem need to be developed further to support this advancement.
Marc Brackett, best-selling author of “Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive” gives a keynote speech at WISE 2021. Photo courtesy of WISE.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Skills for the Future The pandemic brought a greater global convergence on child and student well-being, making social and emotional learning and skills—also known as SEL skills—a focus point across the entire supply chain of education. “When you think of social-emotional learning as building health connections and supporting students 16 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
with understanding and managing their everyday emotions, it’s what anybody would do to help a friend,” explains psychologist and founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Marc Brackett. There needs to be a systemic approach to implement social and emotional learning in education systems. Teachers lack the preparation to teach those skills. However, according to Brackett, they need to be equipped to do so for the future.
What Does It Mean to Really Unmute Youth? It’s really tough to be a young person these days. The lockdowns and adversity that comes from the pandemic’s effect on every facet of our lives, are particularly hard on a generation that has inherited a compendium of crises all at once. Often, young people feel left out of the decision-making process altogether. And when they do get invited to multilateral meetings, their voices are drowned by a cacophony of hard-power negotiations. But there is an increased and urgent focus for young leadership in global issues, and a growing realization that global problems such as climate change require youth inclusion and participation if we are ever going to solve them. “Change is really happening. I think it’s not enough; it’s never enough,” Jana Degrott tells us. She is the Co-Founder of We Belong and one of Luxemburg’s youngest elected politicians. “It’s really making sure that [young people] are everywhere included, and that they also feel like their voice really matters.” She would know. She didn’t simply wait to be invited; she grabbed a chair and joined at the big table and now is helping others like her learn how to run for political office so that they can make change from where it matters. WISE Summit carries the unique role of elevating innovations and solutions for education from a global standpoint, having become a key platform for the sector’s most important leaders to convene. But who is at the table also matters, and opening seats so that young leaders can be part of the solutions, is perhaps WISE’s biggest achievement yet. That’s what it means to really “unmute” a generation’s voice. Editor’s Note: WISE 2021, officially known as the World Innovation Summit for Education, took place in Doha, Qatar from December 7-9, 2021. The Summit took place under the theme: “Generation Unmute: Reclaiming our Future through Education.” Diplomatic Courier served as a media partner to WISE 2021 and participated in a number of sessions, which are being discussed in this article. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 17
Photo by Unsplash.
REORIENTING RESILIENCE FOR GROWTH IN THE NEXT NORMAL NICOLE GOLDIN
s we look toward the post-pandemic era, it’s already been dubbed “the next normal,” indicating a new economic and systemic landscape that requires us to reimagine the way we work, live, and learn as individuals, communities, nations, governments, and as global citizens. The devastation caused by COVID-19 in developing countries means the next normal will include a set of harsh realities and there has been a significant reversal of development gains. For example, 100 million more people are in extreme poverty since the onset of the pandemic and food insecurity and hunger have surged as food prices rise sharply and incomes fall. After years of worldwide improvements towards gender parity in education, girls suffered more from school closures and have been less likely to return, especially at secondary levels, where critical employment-related learning takes place. One study estimates that at least 20 million more girls will have dropped out of school permanently after the pandemic. Inequality on every dimension has been exacerbated, including widening digital divides and a disproportionate worsening of youth and women’s workforce participation rates and prospects. In 2018, the World Bank issued a report titled “Building Back Better” in response to natural disasters that were heavily affecting poor and vulnerable communities. The report set out a resilienceoriented approach to reconstruction, one that would better prepare communities to respond to—and mitigate—the level of devastation and damage from such events. Three years later, this approach has taken on new meaning and urgency as the scope and scale of disruption to individual livelihoods and economies has hit new levels due to the pandemic. In addition, economic recovery is hampered by more than “just” the virus. There are demographic shifts, the compounding forces of climate change, conflict, and crises whose impacts are felt stronger in developing countries and by already disadvantaged populations. 20 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
Revised resilience for inclusive, sustainable growth Resilience is commonly defined as a capacity to recover from difficulty or shock—such as economic collapse, natural disaster, or war. Resilience approaches generally have a reactive and primarily defensive posture– focusing on risk mitigation, prevention, and protection as well as response. They also include preparation and adaptive elements to better anticipate and prepare people and communities for shocks. USAID’s first agency-wide policy guidance on resilience, released in 2013, sought to increase the adaptive capacity of partners and grantees, improve their ability to address and reduce risk, and improve the social and economic conditions of vulnerable populations. Current realities, however, underscore the need for a revised posture in economic development cooperation and greater ambition for economic growth in the next normal. Shocks and challenges can bring opportunities as well. For instance, the pandemic highlighted the need for expanded care systems in developing countries. This could create low- and middle-skill employment and enterprise. Rising food prices may entice youth who are otherwise averse to work in agriculture into higher value farming and agribusiness, mitigating persistent unemployment and pressures on market systems. In response to climate change, new green industries are emerging, generating millions of private sector jobs and business potential. Agglomeration economies in rapidly expanding cities can disseminate ideas and information that increase market access and efficiency. Population dynamics can boost returns giving way to demographic dividends. Defensive actions remain important for economic recovery and resilience in the face of economic shock and upheaval. However, a proactive and offensive posture is necessary to take advantage of new markets and growth opportunities. Beyond defensive resilience, we must go on the offensive towards more inclusivity, sustainability, and prosperity. With a resilience foundation, this kind of economic development posture can be thought of as one of transformation, defined by change in what we do and the results we seek. Putting posture into practice In practice, this offensive transformation means realignments and adjusted priorities. This requires investing in individual and institutional actors at all levels, so they are prepared to take advantage of where markets are heading. Further, it means doing this in a way that benefits many, mitigating inequities and sharing outcomes so that no one is left behind. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 21
Capacity building is central to resilience programming and intensifying efforts to build and strengthen transformative capacities. From an economic development perspective, this means building the capacity and competitiveness of market actors and institutions by instilling in-demand skills and entrepreneurial mindsets and strengthening extension services, market information systems, social capital, and networks. Increasing local ownership of—and participation in—interventions will also support this offensive stance; as will preparing workers to compete in growth sectors and an increasingly international labor market. Innovation in products, services, distribution, and business models is vital to this shifting posture as is the need to support further adoption and dissemination of digital technologies and other tools that catalyze economic participation. During COVID-19 lockdowns in Uganda, a USAID-funded resilience project supported business service providers who normally provide in-person services to farmers to build on the social capital they had developed and pivot to a virtual and contactless model. Using mobile information gathering, motorcycle goods transport, and fixed delivery points, they safely managed the distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers with protective gear, social distancing, and sanitization. In addition to capacity and innovation, an offensive economic development approach will incorporate inclusive financial services that not only protect assets, but also help more people generate wealth and promote economic empowerment. Similarly, measures to increase productivity and income generation within the informal sector as well as to prolong the ability of older workers to earn and contribute economically as they age are critical. Across these elements, policy is an important aspect of offensive resilience and turning challenges into equitable opportunities. Proactive policies and regulations that encourage new industries, enable small business, activate labor markets, combat corrosive corruption, and limit the likelihood of growth to be extractive or only of benefitting a small segment of society are among the most pertinent. Taken together, these practices can help reorient economic development cooperation to seize growth opportunities in the next normal—advancing a resilient future-proof economy as well as an inclusive, competitive, sustainable “future-prosperous” one.
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***** About the author: Dr. Nicole Goldin is Global Head, Inclusive Economic Growth at Abt Associates, a global consulting, research and technical assistance firm, and non-resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council.
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Photo by Shane Rounce via Unsplash.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE “S” IN ESG INVESTING DANIELLA FOSTER
here’s been an increased focus from investors in recent years on ESG investing—the consideration of environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria in investment analysis and portfolio development. As I hypothesized in my predictions for 2021, we’re seeing more companies commit to ESG goals and embedding sustainability into company operations. In fact, interest in this space is on the rise across stakeholder groups, not just from the investment community. When looking at the United Nations Sustainability Goals (SDGs) there’s clear interplay between the environmental (E) and societal (S) changes that need to take place. Yet when money managers look at ESG investing criteria, climate change tends to be the priority issue. This makes sense to some extent; to drive climate action, all companies need to make changes to their operations to help the world reach the 1.5-degree target. On the other hand, investors should not look at environmental commitments (E) in isolation. Climate change is also an urgent threat to health, food supplies, biodiversity, and livelihoods across the globe. Companies should also be closely assessed for what they are doing from a societal and community standpoint (S). Nature Communications reports those communities most impacted by climate change also tend to be impoverished and aren’t able to take care of their basic needs. These communities can’t wait for climate neutrality or net-zero emissions. There are programs that can be put in place much more quickly to give these communities a better quality of life today. We can look at this across a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their interdependency with climate change. SDG 1: No Poverty People living in poverty have the hardest time coping with extreme weather and even more subtle effects of climate change. The increased frequency of climate events makes it harder to earn a living, feed a family, and create a healthy home. There’s 26 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
an urgent need to make an impact in these communities today, which is where a company’s societal commitments should take center stage. At the core of poverty is lack of access and opportunity via economic growth, employment, education, and healthcare. Thus solutions need to be focused on teaching people skills, creating opportunities, and driving systemic change in the community. Companies should focus their resources on resilience building— training, capability building, etc.—not just charity. For instance, many companies participate in disaster relief programs, which are critical in the aftermath of a hurricane or earthquake, but what will truly move the needle are programs created in partnership with governments that help these communities prepare for future disasters and so they can rebound more quickly. At Bayer, we’ve set a series of commitments to foster inclusive growth and improve livelihoods whether it be for women living in low-and-middle income countries or smallholder farmers. SDG 2: Zero Hunger According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, one-third of food produced doesn’t even make it to the table. Yet nearly 1 billion people go to sleep hungry each night. This is a multi-faceted problem that all actors in the food value chain have an opportunity to help solve to drive both societal and environmental change. Food loss and waste leave a significant carbon footprint Greenhouse gas emissions are created through inefficient storage methods, indelicate handling of food, and unnecessary transportation among other causes. Addressing these environmental concerns is important, but these solutions need to go hand-in-hand with social programs that companies can drive in partnership with NGOs and governments to actually get more food—with a focus on more nutritious food—to people in need. Programs could range from innovation to create more resilient or nutritious crops, advocating for public policy solutions to help communities divert food waste from landfills, to coordinating more thoughtful donation programs. It needs to be a 360-degree effort across food systems, waste, and nutrition to create lasting impact in these communities. SDG 3: Good Health & Well-being We need to think of the environment as a social determinant of health. Climate change has caused many health issues like respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and allergies. People in DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 27
underserved communities are the most vulnerable. People without access to medical care have a hard time managing or treating these illnesses, often causing them to miss work and fall deeper into poverty. Healthcare companies have a huge opportunity to help tackle global health challenges. According to the World Health Organization, between 2030 and 2050 climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. Moreover, the direct damage costs to health (i.e. excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation), is estimated to be between $2-4 billion per year by 2030. At Bayer, we are helping to expand access to everyday health solutions for 100 million underserved consumers by 2030. With half the world lacking access to basic and essential health services, having improved access to over-the-counter products and nutritional supplements can serve as a healthcare lifeline. This also includes expanding access to health education which is a critical aspect of healthcare that is often overlooked. We’ve also set a goal to expand access to modern contraception for 100 million people in low-and middle-income countries as we know access to family planning is essential to improve not only women’s health, but their economic opportunities and progress towards gender equality ESG Criteria Should Work Together Investors should reconsider how they prioritize ESG criteria. While every company must do their part to reduce their environmental footprint, these commitments should not be looked at in isolation. Social commitments can often hold the key to how we can also drive climate action AND create better lives for all people both in the short- and long-term. If we fail at this, if we overlook or undervalue the “S” in ESG, then we will fail at the whole of ESG. ***** About the author: Daniella Foster is the Global Vice President and Head of Public Affairs and Sustainability for Bayer’s Consumer Health Division.
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Photo via Adobe Stock.
A WORLD OF MOUNTING DISARRAY RICHARD HAASS
y book, A World in Disarray, was published five years ago this month. The book’s thesis was that the Cold War’s end did not usher in an era of greater stability, security, and peace, as many expected. Instead, what emerged was a world in which conflict was much more prevalent than cooperation. Some criticized the book at the time as being unduly negative and pessimistic. In retrospect, the book could have been criticized for its relative optimism. The world is a messier place than it was five years ago – and most trends are heading in the wrong direction. At the global level, the gap between challenges and responses is large and growing. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the inadequacies of international health machinery. We are entering the third year of the pandemic, but still do not know its origins, thanks to Chinese stonewalling. What we do know is that more than five million people, and more likely 15 million, have died. We also know that some three billion people (many in Africa) have yet to receive a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And we know that the ongoing pandemic has reduced global economic output by trillions of dollars. Climate change has advanced. The world is already more than 1° Celsius warmer than it was at the start of the industrial revolution and is on course to get warmer. Extreme weather events are more frequent. Fossil fuel use is up. Governments have pledged to do better. Their performance remains to be seen; in some cases, including China and India, the world’s two most populous countries, the pledges are noteworthy for their lack of ambition and urgency. 32 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
Cyberspace remains akin to the Wild West, with no sheriff willing or able to set boundaries on acceptable behavior. There is not even the pretense of global cooperation. Rather, we see technology outpacing diplomacy, with authoritarian governments going to considerable lengths to wall off their societies while violating the cyberspace of others to sow political discord or steal technology. Nuclear proliferation continues. North Korea has increased the quantity and quality of its nuclear arsenal and the range and accuracy of its missiles. And, in the aftermath of the unilateral US decision in 2018 to exit the accord that placed temporary ceilings on Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the Islamic Republic has gone from being a year away from possessing a nuclear weapon to just a few months or even weeks. Great power rivalry is more pronounced than at any time since the Cold War. US-China relations have deteriorated rapidly, mostly owing to increased Chinese repression at home, trade and economic frictions, and China’s growing military strength and increasingly assertive foreign policy. Against a backdrop of growing economic competition and possible conflict over Taiwan, it is unclear whether the two countries will be able to cooperate on global challenges like public health and climate change. Russia is arguably even more disaffected with the world order. Three decades after the end of the Cold War, President Vladimir Putin, seemingly ensconced in power for the foreseeable future, is set on stopping or, if possible, reversing NATO’s reach. Putin has shown himself to be comfortable using military force, energy supplies, and cyberattacks to destabilize countries and governments he views as adversarial. The immediate target is Ukraine, but the strategic challenge posed by Putin’s Russia is much broader. Other developments also offer reason for concern. More than 80 million – one in every hundred people – are displaced. Many times that number are enduring what can only be described as a humanitarian crisis. The Middle East is home to several ongoing wars that are simultaneously civil and regional. Democracy is in retreat in much of the world, not just in dramatic cases such as Myanmar and Sudan, but also in parts of Latin America and even Europe. Haiti and Venezuela are essentially failed states, as are Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Afghanistan appears on its way to again becoming a world leader in terrorism, opium production, and misery. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 33
There is one other critical factor: The United States is in greater disarray internally than it was five years ago. Political polarization is at an all-time high, and political violence has emerged as a serious threat. The peaceful transfer of political power following elections can no longer be taken for granted. This internal reality has in turn accelerated America’s pullback from global leadership after three-quarters of a century. No other country is able and willing to assume this role. To be sure, some positive developments deserve mention: the rapid creation of vaccines that dramatically reduce vulnerability to COVID-19; new green technologies that reduce reliance on fossil fuels; growing cooperation between the US and several of its partners to push back against a more forceful China; and the simple fact that, so far, great power rivalry has not descended into war. What would it take to avoid a future defined by disarray? A short list would include widespread vaccination against COVID-19 and new vaccines effective against future variants; a technological or diplomatic breakthrough that would dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels and slow climate change; a political settlement in Ukraine that promotes European security and an outcome with Iran that prevents its becoming a nuclear or even near-nuclear power; a US-China relationship able to put in place guardrails to manage competition and avoid conflict; and a US that managed to repair its democracy sufficiently so that it had the capacity to focus on world events. As always, little is inevitable, for better or for worse. What is clear, though, is that trends will not improve by themselves. Innovation, diplomacy, and collective will are needed to turn things around. Unfortunately, the last two are in short supply. ***** About the author: Richard Haass is President of the Council on Foreign Relations. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2022.
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Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash.
GERMANY’S NEW GREEN-POWERED DIPLOMACY AARON ALLEN
t’s still not easy being Green. Shortly after coming in third place in the 2021 German federal election, the environmentally conscious and youth powered Greens decided to join, as a junior partner, the three-party Ampelkolition (“traffic light coalition”) with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP). This often-strange assortment of bedfellows is now tasked with ushering in a new era of fiscally responsible progressive change. For the Greens, this will be an opportunity to continue to advance domestic priorities such as the phasing out of coal by 2030 and digitalizing the German economy. Additionally, this new coalition government offers the Greens a prime seat in crafting Germany’s international posture, as its co-Chair and formerChancellor candidate, Annalena Baerbock, is now the Foreign Minister. The questions now are, who is Germany’s new top diplomat and what will the current iteration of the Green party bring to Germany’s foreign policy? Who Is Annalena Baerbock? Baerbock, born in 1980, grew up in a small town in the northwest state of Lower Saxony in the then-Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). She participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations with her family and her early formative years were mostly spent in a newly united Germany. Baerbock would go on to study public law and political science at the University of Hamburg, public international law at the London School of Economics and initiate, but never complete, a Ph.D. at the Free University of Berlin. Aside from the United Kingdom, she has lived abroad in the United States (Florida) and Brussels. Her ascent in Green politics was swift. She officially joined the party in 2005 and went from a foreign policy advisor to a member of the European Parliament to becoming a member of the German 38 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
Bundestag herself in 2013 to co-leading the Greens with Robert Habeck since 2018. Her peers describe her as detailed, passionate and ambitious. She was nominated in 2021 as the Green’s first Chancellor candidate and for a brief moment, she led in the polls. However, the Green party’s frontrunner status was short-lived. Baerbock became consumed with numerous tax and plagiarism scandals and voters increasingly felt she was too young and inexperienced for the position. After SPD emerged victorious from the election, she was selected as the first woman and second Green foreign minister after months of coalition negotiations. As the new government takes shape, the Green party’s historic trajectory offers early signals of where she may hope to lead Germany next. What About the Green Party? The Green party was formed the same year Baerbock was born and coalesced environmentalist, and grassroots peace advocates into one faction. “One of the important roots of the Green Party was the movement against nuclear armament at the beginning of the 1980s. There was an important pacifist tradition and the majority of the party had a critical point of view of American foreign policy, especially under the government of Ronald Reagan,” says Hubert Kleinert, a former Green Party politician and current professor at the Hesse University of Applied Sciences. When Germany unified and the Greens became more mainstream, its foreign policy orientation began to splinter. This phenomenon was most pronounced as the Greens joined a coalition government with the SPD under the Chancellorship of Gerhard Schröder in 1998. Joschka Fischer, a Green party stalwart, was selected as the Foreign Minister and became the party’s most popular politician throughout his tenure. Fischer utilized his position to shepherd in the Green’s transition from a strictly pacifist party to one supporting humanitarian interventions. He, as with Baerbock, comes from the pragmatic realo wing of the party which is frequently pitted against the more hardline fundis. This was the case during the heated debate on the deployment of German troops to halt the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999. Fischer persuaded enough of his fellow Greens to shed their non-interventionist stance in favor of upholding human rights through military force. But the internal divisions were not easily healed or forgotten. Since then, however, the realos have continued to grow in influence and Baerbock has inherited a foreign policy legacy that continues to thread the line between idealism and isolationism. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 39
How Will Baerbock and the Greens Impact German Policy? The Greens will now have to align their vision for Germany’s role in the world with the prerogative of the Ampelkolition at-large and the hard realities of international politics. “The Greens today are strong supporters of European integration and their foreign policy prioritizes values over interests, especially human rights,” says Dr. Kleinert. Additionally, they will seek to elevate issues such as climate change and arms control and hold rule-of-law violators within the EU, such as Poland and Hungary, to account. The Greens will also have to negotiate thorny issues within the coalition on topics such as Germany’s NATO defense spending commitments and continued role in hosting U.S. nuclear weapons. In the immediate post-Merkel era, the Greens are setting their foreign policy imprint in the early days of the Ampelkolition. Baerbock will lead a German diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing due to her concerns about human rights abuses in China. She has repeatedly expressed concerns over the plight of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, and the crimes against humanity committed against the Uyghur population. Her values-based diplomacy vis-à-vis China will invariably run up against Germany’s economic interest. Due to Germany’s export-led-economy, China has increasingly become a key trading partner and market for its products. And throughout her Chancellorship, Merkel worked to further develop this relationship as a hedge against a recalcitrant America. The Greens will likely have an ally with the current U.S. government, as the Biden Administration hopes to build transatlantic coalitions to combat China’s growing influence around the world. But Baerbock will face pushback from her SPD colleagues within the coalition, particularly from Chancellor Scholz, if her human rights approach encroaches too far on Germany’s economic stability. A similar trend can be seen with Russia. The Greens would like to take a harder line against Russian President Vladimir Putin and have consistently come out against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project between the two countries. Recently, as Russian troops gather along the border with Ukraine, Baerbock warned that “in the event of further escalation this gas pipeline could not come into service” This again put her in at odds with her SPD counterparts, who have consistently backed the project, and in alignment with the United States. Russia is a major gas supplier to Germany and a confrontation has the potential to disrupt this key energy source. The tasks before the Greens are considerable but not insurmountable and time will now tell if they have the acumen to reconceptualize a new German foreign policy within the existing 40 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
political framework. Friedrich Rosenthal, a twenty-six-year-old Green supporter from the state of Saxony Anhalt, is hopeful that, among many issues, the Greens will be able to build a stronger and more united Europe. “I hope that during Baerbock’s term in office, we will come closer to the possibility of modernizing the EU and its structures, creating more spaces of co-determination and co-design that are easily accessible to citizens, and thus also making the EU even more democratic,” he says. The Greens now have their work cut out for them as they work to craft a more livable world for this next generation. ***** About the author: Aaron Allen is a non-resident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and a freelance journalist based in Berlin.
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Photo by Jon Tyson via Unsplash.
QUO VADIS STAKEHOLDER CAPITALISM? SCENARIOS AND PROJECTIONS ANDREA BONIME-BLANC
saw a funny tweet the other day that essentially said: 2022 is our third try at getting 2020 right. As we enter 2022, I’ll make a wild prediction: we’re not going back to early 2020 or what might be called “bP” (before Pandemic). Although we are collectively experiencing a deep and ongoing global health crisis and, in many cases, socio-economic trauma, there is room to feel modest hope for meaningful focused change—and shifting forms of capitalism may have something to do with it. Before the Pandemic we failed to urgently address big systemic risks that have been brewing for a while. Maybe, as some have said, it took a shock to the global system to wake us up to the gathering systemic and often interconnected storms of climate, pandemics, cyber insecurity, social injustice, and more. Realigning market dynamics to address these ongoing crises and shifting notions of corporate purpose seem to be part of this unfolding story. Shareholder, State and Stakeholder Capitalism Underneath these systemic crises lies another reality: the dominant form of capitalism over the past half century—Milton Friedman’s “Shareholder Capitalism” where the shareholder is king/queen and short-term profits are everything—is under assault. This prevalent form of capitalism has been variously blamed for causing, exacerbating, contributing to and/or being unhelpful in, addressing the aforementioned existential challenges. Such accusations are most evident in the debate about the oil and gas industry’s role in worsening the climate crisis while knowing full well for decades of the devastating consequences of too much CO2 to earth’s atmosphere. “State Capitalism” is another long-standing form of capitalism: “… an economic system in which private capitalism is modified by a varying degree of government ownership and control.” Merriam Webster. 44 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
Or as I would put it: a system where a more/less authoritarian political state controls the economy but allows for some free market activity. The second largest economy in the world—China—has the most prominent form of State Capitalism. Even there, however, the Pandemic plus other dramatic policy changes in the socio-economic and political realms under President Xi are impacting its form of State Capitalism into something potentially quite different from what it was—and the pandemic and climate crisis have something to do with this too. Enter “Stakeholder Capitalism”: “a form of capitalism in which companies do not only optimize shortterm profits for shareholders, but seek long term value creation, by taking into account the needs of all their stakeholders, and society at large.” –World Economic Forum. Klaus Schwab. Stakeholder Capitalism at the company level means that management and the board are focusing not only on the best interests of their shareholders but also of other key stakeholders like employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. Subsumed under this stakeholder model are two things: • •
that shareholders gain greater financial and reputational value through a broader stakeholder approach a longer-term mindset (instead of quarterly earnings “shortermism”) creates more sustainable and resilient value creation
To paraphrase Howard Schultz the founder of Starbucks – employees are the most important stakeholders, and a happy employee means a happy customer which translates into better and more sustainable value creation. Stakeholders and the ESGT Tsunami ESG (the shorthand for environment, society, and governance) or what I call ESGT (plus technology) is part and parcel of the rise of Stakeholder Capitalism especially over the past 2 years, as key ESGT issues at companies (health, safety, diversity, inclusion, governance, cybersecurity)have been dramatically revealed, accentuated, and accelerated by the Pandemic. Examples from the still unfolding Pandemic period of why pure Shareholder Capitalism won’t cut it anymore and why a multiDIPLOMATIC COURIER | 45
stakeholder approach will create greater resilience, longevity and value protection and creation abound: Cyber Insecurity. The private sector is not equipped to deal with the onslaught of nation state, criminal and underworld sponsored cyberattacks, most notably ransomware. Without the help of governments, private business is lost on this front. This requires business to consider government agencies as a key stakeholder to protect other key stakeholders of the business – especially employees and customers. Market Dynamics. During the Pandemic it became brutally clear that companies by themselves would not be able to withstand or even survive the economic, market and supply chain shocks alone without government intervention to protect a variety of social goods (healthcare, wage protection, worker safety, food supply, personal protective equipment, etc.) and by implication their key stakeholders (shareholders, employees, and customers). Crisis Healthcare. Without government intervention through incentives, investment and/or direct public private collaboration, we would not have witnessed the velocity and success of vaccine development both nationally and internationally. Quo Vadis Stakeholder Capitalism? So where is Stakeholder Capitalism heading? Is it a fad, a distraction, the real deal or something more significant? The Figure here provides a high level, typologized view of the topic from the standpoint of where an individual corporation or other type of entity might sit based on two major considerations: (1) who the actual primary beneficiaries of a company’s results (or proclaimed beneficiaries in the case of greenwashing companies) are and (2) what the actual strategic drivers of the company/ entity are: mostly profits, mostly purpose or a mix of both. Below—from least to most likely—are four scenarios on the fate of Stakeholder Capitalism over the next couple of years. Least Likely - The “Greedy Greenwashers” Scenario Stakeholder Capitalism is no different from Shareholder Capitalism and is just a passing fad full of greenwashers and the typical market signs of greed and fear—whether in the equity or bond markets or in the raft of ESG service providers and other hangers-on that are 46 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
Source & © Andrea Bonime-Blanc 2022. All Rights Reserved.
trying to turn a quick buck. An eloquent proponent of this position is Tariq Fancy, ex-BlackRock sustainability chief. Less Likely - The “Jury is Out” Scenario Stakeholder Capitalism is incipient and its long-term survival as an important form of capitalism is uncertain. Not enough corporations and large businesses have fully embraced the concepts pioneered by the likes of Paul Polman at Unilever and other leading companies like Nike, Patagonia, and Microsoft. The jury is out. “According to a Stanford University study based on a survey of over 200 CEOs and CFOs of companies in the S&P 1500 Index, most executives believe they are already doing a satisfactory job of incorporating stakeholder concerns into their corporate planning and not receiving sufficient recognition.” –Investopedia. Likely - The “Seismic Change” Scenario Stakeholder Capitalism is but a bridge to a whole new way of doing business—leading to an entirely new form of economic activity that is fundamentally different from pre-Milton Friedman Shareholder DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 47
Capitalism and WEF sponsored Stakeholder Capitalism where profit is secondary to purpose and purpose will become the primary strategic driver. It could lead to something beyond capitalism that I am calling the Regenerative Economic Ecosystem where purpose and a multi-stakeholder beneficiary approach (aligned with key ESG and SDG themes) are the only things that matter, and profits are not only secondary but ploughed right back into regenerative and circular economy projects. It’s a turbocharged nonprofit noncapitalistic ecosystem focused on solving the biggest ESG/SDG challenges. The still under development Platform for Social Impact in Puerto Rico would be just such an example. Most Likely – The “It’s Here to Stay” Scenario The rise of Stakeholder Capitalism is well under way—especially evident in Europe but also in the US and elsewhere (Asia) especially buoyed by the biggest asset managers in the world (BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard) and increasingly regulators. It is here to stay and likely to become one of the predominant forms of capitalism over the next few years, continuing to develop and flourish in direct alignment with the UN SDGs, emerging climate and ESG reporting frameworks and requirements as well as unrelenting demographic and existential pressures. ***** About the author: Dr. Andrea Bonime-Blanc is the Founder and CEO of GEC Risk Advisory, a global ESG and cyber strategist, board member, life-member of the Council on Foreign Relations, international keynote speaker and author of several books and many articles.
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Photo by Charles Deluvio via Unsplash.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SOFT POWER? JOSEPH S. NYE, JR.
s 2021 drew to a close, Russia had massed troops near its border with Ukraine; China had flown military jets near Taiwan; North Korea was still pursuing its nuclear-weapons program; and Taliban fighters were patrolling the streets of Kabul. Seeing all this, friends asked me: “Whatever happened to soft power?” One answer is that it can be found in other recent events, such as President Joe Biden’s virtual Summit for Democracy, which was attended by representatives from more than 100 countries. Having been excluded, China took to the airwaves and social media to proclaim that it had a different and more stable type of democracy than the one being extolled by the United States. What we were seeing was a great-power competition over soft power, understood as the ability to influence others by attraction rather than by coercion or payment. When I first wrote about soft power in 1990, I was seeking to overcome a deficiency in how analysts thought about power generally. But the concept gradually acquired more of a political resonance. In some respects, the underlying thought is not new; similar concepts can be traced back to ancient philosophers such as Lao Tse. Nor does soft power pertain only to international behavior or to the US. Many small countries and organizations also possess the power to attract; and in democracies, at least, soft power is an essential component of leadership. Still, the concept is now generally associated with international relations. As the European Union developed into its current form, European leaders increasingly made use of the term. And ever since 2007, when then-Chinese President Hu Jintao declared that China must develop its soft power, the government has invested billions of dollars in that quest. The challenge now is for China to implement an effective smart52 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
power strategy. If it can effectively pair its growing hard power with soft power, it will be less likely to provoke counterbalancing coalitions. Soft power is not the only or even the most important source of power, because its effects tend to be slow and indirect. But to ignore or neglect it is a serious strategic and analytic mistake. The Roman Empire’s power rested not only on its legions, but also on the attraction of Roman culture and law. Similarly, as a Norwegian analyst once described it, the American presence in Western Europe after World War II was “an empire by invitation.” No barrage of artillery brought down the Berlin Wall; it was removed by hammers and bulldozers wielded by people who had been touched by Western soft power. Smart political leaders have long understood that values can create power. If I can get you to want what I want, I will not have to force you to do what you do not want to do. If a country represents values that others find attractive, it can economize on the use of sticks and carrots. A country’s soft power comes primarily from three sources: its culture; its political values, such as democracy and human rights (when it upholds them); and its policies (when they are seen as legitimate because they are framed with an awareness of others’ interests). A government can influence others through the example of how it behaves at home (such as by protecting a free press and the right to protest), in international institutions (consulting others and fostering multilateralism), and through its foreign policy (such as by promoting development and human rights). During the COVID-19 pandemic, China has tried to use so-called “vaccine diplomacy” to bolster its soft power, which had been damaged by its secretive handling of the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan. The government’s efforts have been aimed at reinforcing its Belt and Road Initiative, which supports infrastructure projects in many parts of the world. But international polls show that the results have been disappointing. In measures of attractiveness, China lags behind the US on all continents except Africa, where the two countries are tied. One reason for China’s lower level of soft power is its heavy-handed use of hard power in pursuit of an increasingly nationalist foreign policy. This has been on full display in its economic punishment of Australia and in its military operations on the Himalayan border with India. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 53
China has a smart-power problem. After all, it is difficult to practice vaccine diplomacy and “wolf-warrior diplomacy” (aggressive, coercive browbeating of smaller countries) at the same time. True, international polls showed that the US also suffered a decline in soft power during Donald Trump’s presidency. But, fortunately, America is more than its government. Unlike hard-power assets (such as armed forces), many soft-power resources are separate from the government and are only partly responsive to its purposes. For example, Hollywood movies showcasing independent women or protesting minorities inspire others around the world. So, too, does the charitable work of US foundations and the freedom of inquiry at American universities. Firms, universities, foundations, churches, and protest movements develop soft power of their own. Sometimes their activities will reinforce official foreign-policy goals, and sometimes they will be at odds with them. Either way, these private sources of soft power are increasingly important in the age of social media. The January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol certainly damaged US soft power. But those who would mourn the death of American democracy prematurely should bear in mind that the 2020 election drew an unprecedented turnout despite the pandemic. The American people are still able to unseat a demagogue in a free and fair election. This is not to suggest that all is well with American democracy or its soft power. Trump eroded many democratic norms that now must be restored. Biden has made strengthening democracy at home and abroad a goal of his presidency, but the results remain to be seen. No one can be certain about the future trajectory of any country’s soft power. But there is no doubt that influence through attraction will remain an important component of world politics. As Mark Twain famously quipped, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” The same is true of soft power. ***** About the author: Joseph S. Nye, Jr. is a professor at Harvard University and author, most rececntly, of Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump (Oxford University Press, 2020). Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2022. 54 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
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Photo courtesy of the U.S. State Department - Public Domain. 56 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
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TECHNOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY MANUEL MUÑIZ
he commemoration of the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump showed that the extreme political polarization that fueled the riot also frames Americans’ interpretations of it. It would, however, be gravely mistaken to view what happened as a uniquely American phenomenon with uniquely American causes. The disruption of the peaceful transfer of power that day was part of something much bigger. As part of the commemoration, President Joe Biden said that a battle is being fought over “the soul of America.” What is becoming increasingly clear is that this is also true of the international order: its very soul is at stake. China is rising and asserting itself. Populism is widespread in the West and major emerging economies. And chauvinistic nationalism has reemerged in parts of Europe. All signs point to increasing illiberalism and anti-democratic sentiment around the world. Against this backdrop, the US hosted in December a (virtual) “Summit for Democracy” that was attended by hundreds of national and civil-society leaders. The message of the gathering was clear: democracies must assert themselves firmly and proactively. To that end, the summit devoted numerous sessions to studying the digital revolution and its potentially harmful implications for our political systems. Emerging technologies pose at least three major risks for democracies. The first concerns how they structure public debate. Social networks balkanize public discourse by segmenting users into ever smaller like-minded communities. Algorithmically-driven information echo chambers make it difficult to build social consensus. Worse, social networks are not liable for the content they distribute, which means they can allow misinformation to spread on their platforms with impunity. 58 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
Moreover, because the new digital players’ advertising-dependent business models compete directly with those of traditional news organizations, they have undermined the architecture that once supported high-quality journalism and public debate. And their open, digital nature makes them highly vulnerable to external interference and misuse by nefarious actors, including those seeking to disrupt elections and other democratic processes. The second major risk posed by new technologies is to privacy. Owing to advanced monitoring and surveillance technologies, public and private actors alike can access detailed information about private citizens and consumer behavior. With the convergence of Big Data and artificial intelligence, insights into collective and individual behavior are becoming increasingly predictive. Systematic violations of privacy could usher in at least two different scenarios in which personal freedom would be severely restricted. The first is surveillance capitalism: corporations using their knowledge of consumers to manipulate them into serving their own bottom lines. The second scenario is the surveillance state: public authorities using their knowledge of citizens’ most private, intimate behavior to stifle dissent. The third major risk is to political agency. A democracy is essentially a large information system. Freedom of expression and association, together with universal enfranchisement, enables citizens to voice their opinions and offer or withhold their consent to political initiatives. Yet today’s surveillance and datamining technologies have created the conditions for an alternative political system in which understanding citizens’ freely expressed preferences is no longer necessary, because preferences can be inferred from monitored behavior. In such a scenario, individual agency and freedom cease to be the cornerstones of the political system, because they would be supplanted by data and public control. And with advances in neuroand behavioral sciences blurring the lines between knowing how a person behaves and being able to shape that behavior, it is easy to see how a highly repressive political system – a technological Leviathan – could emerge. China seems to already be deploying what some are calling a technological mandarinate. Although these risks are real, they need not become our new reality. It is fully within a democracy’s power to embrace certain technological developments while restricting others. At the Summit for Democracy, attendees agreed to launch a major iniDIPLOMATIC COURIER | 59
tiative to identify and support the development of technologies that advance democratic principles and values. In close collaboration with the White House and the US Department of State, IE University, where I work, and other summit partners will be holding a series of start-up and scale-up competitions to identify entrepreneurs who are working on promising new “democracyaffirming technologies.” The project will focus on five main areas: verification technologies designed to combat disinformation and strengthen public debate; data-analytics tools that respect privacy; digital identity systems and trust frameworks for managing individual and public data; transparency technologies to improve public services; and unbiased AI systems. This multi-stakeholder collaboration is a perfect example of democratic societies’ unique capacity to come together and innovate. It is also a reminder that, despite the tone of our public debates, the democratic world is not helpless in the face of technological change. The countries present at the summit represented 70% of global GDP, and they contain the world’s most highly developed regulatory institutions. If technology is a new domain of international relations and competition, the democratic world is equipped for success. According to Freedom House, eight of the ten largest consumer markets are in “free” countries, and those same countries are also home to 85 of the world’s top 100 universities. In venture capital markets, democratic countries have an overwhelming lead, accounting for over 80% of all investment activity in the past year. The democratic world dominates in terms of research ability, regulatory capacity, and market size – all of which is key for innovation and business scalability. The Summit for Democracy underscored the urgency of studying both the strengths and vulnerabilities of democratic systems in the twenty-first century. It showed that an analysis of the role of new technologies must take center stage. The commemoration of the January 6 events in Washington DC, in turn, is a good reminder of how urgent it is that we direct our innovative potential toward shoring up the health of our democracies. The soul of our political systems and of the international order are at stake. ***** About the author: Manuel Muñiz is Provost of IE University and Dean of IE’s School of Global and Public Affairs. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2022. 60 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
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Photo by Christina Wocintechchat via Unsplash.
WOMEN’S BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS’ AGILITY KEY TO PANDEMIC RESPONSE WORLDWIDE SRUJANA PENUMETCHA & CONNIE GONZALEZ
omen’s business associations (WBA) and women entrepreneurs are disproportionally being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years. But it is important to determine how they are being affected and how they are responding.
Earlier in 2021, CWEE conducted a global survey to obtain data around these questions. This survey complemented other efforts by CIPE to collect data on the effects of the pandemic at the firm level and in certain countries through partner organizations. What makes these results different is the target audience of women’s business associations specifically. Respondents identified the need to learn new skills applicable to changing local conditions, opportunities for networking and advocacy, and financial support from governments to ease financial challenges provoked by lockdowns and closures. “This [pandemic] is not a one-off event,” Ma Aurora GeotinaGarcia, Chair of the Philippine Women’s Economic Network and Co-Chair of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE), told us.” In 2020, our concern was ‘how will my business survive? Is this going to be just a short-term event?’ This is no longer an event but rather this is the now and this is the future. Therefore, the challenge to businesses is: ‘How can I, assuming I survive the pandemic, sustain my business on a long-term basis, given that the environment has changed?’” Here is how the pandemic is affecting the Philippines, where micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) make up 99% of the registered businesses in the country, the majority of which are women-led, the effects of COVID-19 have been significant. Business closure greatly affected women-owned businesses, particularly in the women-dominated service industries, in64 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
cluding tourism, hospitality, fashion and retail sectors. Many of these sectors were considered “non-essential” and forced to close during lockdowns. Massive financial challenges led many women to shift their business into new, unrelated industries, and additional burdens of both working from home and working for the home resulted in technology access issues and increased incidents of gender-based violence as lockdowns extended and forced couples to remain at home. Mylene Abiva, President of the Women’s Business Council Philippines (WomenBizPH) notes the pandemic’s compounding challenges for women. “During the Asian financial crisis, we didn’t really feel [the effects of the crisis] since it was not…gender based, unlike during this COVID crisis where we feel that a lot of the burden is now on the women because not only do we need to lead our businesses, [but] we also need to take care of our families and manage finances.” In addition to concerns about access to finance and access to markets, women entrepreneurs faced additional mobility and transportation barriers as a travel pass program only allowed one pass per family. These were often given to the head of a household, usually a male. This restriction left businesswomen with the option to face penalties if caught without a pass or reliance on a passholder to conduct business for them. WBAs such as WomenBizPH and PBCWE worked with womenowned businesses to transition quickly to digital platforms using e-commerce and providing digital skills training; however, connectivity and technology access issues still inhibited many women from the full benefits of online business, especially women-led micro enterprises. This also left them unable to access government programs aimed at providing entrepreneurs with capacity building, skills development and mentorship. “Digitalization was accelerated,” Garcia says. “Because if you don’t, then you would die, how can you survive? [This is] an issue for smaller businesses that don’t have the proper internet access or can’t even buy software to run their businesses. I think the magnitude of the impact differs as to company size and their response is also a function of what resources they have.” Businesswomen members also found creative ways to support COVID-19 responses, such as collecting donations and producing and distributing personal protection equipment (PPE). Maya Tamayo, Co-founder of the University of Philippines Center for Women’s and Gender Studies Angat Bayi (Amplify WomDIPLOMATIC COURIER | 65
en) program sums up this resiliency of women entrepreneurs in response to the pandemic: “there were businesses that closed down but at the same time, there were opportunities for women entrepreneurs to also find new ways to do business…women lost their jobs, but they find a way because it’s always like that…it’s always the women who try to find ways to augment family income when it’s lacking or when there is none.” WBAs often provided liaison services, linking members to financial aid programs and online training, and some even developed creative and timely support services for members. Recognizing that paying membership dues is an expense and wanting to ensure members still felt the value of their membership, Abiva came up with the innovative idea of having a virtual gastronomic dining experience for members, leveraging the value add of one of WomenBizPH’s members, the Dusit Thani Hotel in Manila, which was able to cater meal packs. This creative membership engagement strategy allowed WomenBizPH members to continue networking, while enjoying a meal together. Additionally, associations such as the Zonta Club of Philippines conducted webinars raising awareness of violence against women and promoted the use of a free mobile app that links to emergency help and assistance to address the increasing incidents of genderbased violence as families struggled with multiple lockdowns and job losses. In addition, WBAs advocated for financial support through subsidies and lending windows from the government. PBCWE and WomenBizPH participated in dialogue and multi-stakeholder consultation processes in the form of roundtable discussions to address issues, such as COVID-19 recovery, gender-based violence and sexual harassment (GBVH) and online harassment. The government worked with them and stakeholders such as UNWomen to develop online vocational training, create information stickers about harassment and to design a program on the importance of using a gender lens in business. WomenBizPH also collaborated with the Department of Trade and Industry to launch women’s help desks in the Go Nogosyo “Business” centers around the country, to support women in ease of doing business so they can access technology, workshops, and assistance in registration. As we look to the future, businesswomen need support in digital transformations and access to technology and financing to keep their business viable. WBAs should participate in govern-
ment roundtables to determine how subsidies and economic recovery measures are created and distributed, and the private sector has a role to play in addressing and mitigating against gender-based violence and sexual harassment, including online harassment. Finally, WBAs highlighted the importance of continued support for advocacy efforts and networking opportunities to connect women leaders and ensure their active participation in recovery efforts. ***** About the authors: Connie Gonzalez is Senior Program Officer for the Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment, based in El Salvador. Before joining CIPE, she served as Partnership for Growth and Alliance for Prosperity Lead and Senior Strategic Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in El Salvador. Srujana Penumetcha Huerter holds a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, with a concentration in International Policy and Development, and a B.S. in International Relations and Politics from Carnegie Mellon University.
Photo by Carlos de Toro via Unsplash.
FUTURE-PROOFING THE WORKFORCE OF TOMORROW CORINNE RIPOCHE
here is no denying that COVID-19 has shifted how organizations and employees approach work. In a very competitive talent landscape, companies are looking for workers who can maintain business continuity today while also thinking ahead to the skillsets that will be needed for the future. Employees are also reassessing what is important to them and seeking more from their employers. All of this points to a “Great Re-Evaluation,” which presents opportunities and risks for businesses. If employers do not adjust to meet employee demands with compassion, they risk losing current talent and may fail to attract the talent they need for the future. As a leader of one of the world’s leading talent advisory and solutions companies, I have witnessed one of the most significant paradoxes of the COVID-19 pandemic—the events over the past two years have both exacerbated inequities within parts of the workforce while creating new opportunities for career advancement for others. This dynamic requires new ways of thinking from company leaders and more than empathetic words. Employees need actions and commitments that help transition the workplace to one that works for everyone. We must first acknowledge the uneven and inequitable impact that the pandemic has had on women. The OECD found that on average across OECD countries this year, women spent almost twice as much time per day on unpaid labor tasks than men, working an average of 4.39 hours per day compared with 2.275 hours for men. They also found that mothers of children under twelve were three times as likely as fathers to report that they took on all or the majority of unpaid care responsibilities caused by school and childcare closures, regardless of their employment status. These at-home demands have reinforced 70 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
longstanding gender inequalities and contributed to an overwhelming sense of burnout among women. This burnout is only reinforced when businesses fail to acknowledge the struggle of their employees and are not adaptable enough to implement solutions that support women and fully capitalize on their potential in the workforce. Women have experienced the greatest number of pandemic-related job losses, with millions leaving the U.S. workforce since the onset of COVID-19. As vaccination rates increase, businesses reopen, and schools and childcare institutions return to full schedules, we expect that many women will return to the workplace. But this will only be possible if employers prioritize the development of support systems to help them succeed. One change that has the potential to help women in the workforce is more flexibility around where and how work gets done. Employees, especially those who identify as female, want more flexible work arrangements. Globally, our data shows that 53 percent of workers are calling for hybrid working models where more than half of their time is spent working remote. We have seen many companies re-evaluate their approach to work and transition to permanent hybrid or remote workplaces. Businesses are transforming office spaces to focus solely on collaborative work, integrating new digital tools to enable more efficient remote information sharing, evaluating opportunities for job sharing or part time work, and re-defining strict start and end times to allow employees to build schedules that best reflect their own needs. These changes are practical, but ultimately stem from a change in employer mindsets. They reflect companies understanding how the lives of their employees have changed and reacting with compassionate action. More broadly, flexible work arrangements benefit many types of workers, including parents and those with disabilities. The ability to adapt to a hybrid working model –and to sustain it –will vary across countries and industries, but opening lines of communication with employees on where and how they like to work and are most productive in their personal and professional lives is an essential first step to ensuring that business needs and employee demands align. Another way that employers can support their workforce is by investing in their people through upskilling and re-skilling programs. There is a growing demand among workers for training and skill development as part of their re-evaluation. This can be what differentiates between companies’ ability to attract and DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 71
retain talent. Our global survey data found that 66 percent of workers believe they need to train and gain new skills to stay employable in the years to come and more than 6 in 10 workers are taking or considering taking a new qualification or skills training. This need for training and upskilling applies to both technical and non-technical skills, ranging from technical certifications to management and leadership training. It may feel for many leaders that investing in talent is a fleeting trend that may not be as critical as other issues they are facing. I respectfully disagree. Employees will continue to demand more from leaders and deserve investment in their wellbeing and growth that reflects not only the realities of the pandemic, but also of their broader aspirations and goals. The businesses that will thrive will be the ones who have policies, programs, and practices that meet the needs of their workforce and create a more inclusive and equitable society. ***** About the author: Corinne Ripoche is Regional President of the Adecco Group, Americas.
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Photo via Unsplash.
OUR OPPORTUNITY TO RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION NAZA ALAKIJA
few years ago, the notion of ‘normal’ became one of the most controversial phrases of our lifetimes. The concept of what was once considered ‘normal’ in our pre-pandemic world, in contrast to the new—and next— normal, would uncover the vast inequalities that exist across countries and cultures. As we watched our world unravel, we were faced with the inescapable truth that the individuals and communities who are most vulnerable would be increasingly subjected to the biggest challenges. Among the most critical of these was—and is—access to education. For the world’s vulnerable, education means so much more than just schooling; it is their only gateway to opportunity, protection, resilience—a true chance at life. As we enter a new year, it is more apparent than ever that we must redefine what normal means in the world of education. It begins with raising our global baseline and this question. What standards are needed if we are striving for a future that is wildly more inclusive, progressive, and connected? A valuable lesson the pandemic taught us is that information and digital technologies can play a key role in dramatically improving the lives of children and their communities. The internet is now an essential tool for learning; but as technology advances, so too will the inequalities for children who don’t have access to the internet. As our world moves, we rely on education to move its future custodians with it—which is why it is vital that we prioritize bringing access to the 1.3 billion children who are still offline. When COVID-19 hit, the ‘normal’ lack of connectivity for vulnerable children 76 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
increased and further demonstrated their exclusion from access to learning, growth, and the opportunity to reach their full potential. For UNICEF and ITU, their connectivity expansion project—Giga, looks to redefine normal by connecting every school in the world to the internet by 2030, so that every young person has access to information, opportunity and choice. To achieve their audacious goal, Giga are using machine learning and satellite technology to map every school in the world. The data generated and visualized through this online platform will help identify where the gaps and information needs are, and ultimately help national governments optimize their education systems via connectivity. UNICEF is also welcoming a new era of fundraising to support Giga, by tapping into emerging technologies and the rising phenomenon of blockchain and NFTs. In early January 1,000 NFTs will be sold to fund the project; a first-of-its-kind initiative for UNICEF led by Chris Fabian. In the fight to revolutionize the future of learning, such ingenuity will create ripples, and we hope this is only the beginning for the sector. For girls and young women, gender inequality throughout the education system is most visible across their limited involvement in STEM; subjects that cultivate lifelong development through lateral thinking, problem solving, and innovation. It is an area that has the potential to contribute to personal empowerment for females and have them play a crucial role in the transformation of communities and nations and building economies for the future. The “next normal” must involve a world with freer access to STEM subjects that have so far been largely closed to women across many communities, that has in turn seen them pay a steep price for excluding girls and women from becoming part of creating solutions. In Kazakhstan, UNICEF has already begun the fight to close this gap. Determined schoolgirls are sending Nanosatellites into the upper atmosphere to collect climate data, in a groundbreaking move to ensure young women are given the opportunity to impact their environments. In Afghanistan, the Girl’s Robotics Team was founded with the support of the Digital Citizen Fund, a nonprofit that helps girls and women around the world access STEM education and technology, utilizing new skills. Against the backdrop of the devastating conflict in Afghanistan, the Girl’s robotic Team—aptly named ‘The Dreamers’, were able to showcase just what is possible when girls are given equal access to STEM subjects. Last year, the team joined the fight against COVID-19 by designing a ventilator out of automobile parts, after the government sent out a public plea for ventilators for the country’s hospitals. These pockets of progress DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 77
are tangible examples of how girls and women from the unlikeliest of backgrounds can contribute to scientific and technological solutions that have the capacity to lead global innovation, drive climate resilience and save lives. The global response to the pandemic has shown what we are collectively capable of; partnership that transcends difference, collaboration, and an ability to mobilize urgently. If we were to apply these learnings and keep momentum, to use the same immediacy and vigor to connect our children to the internet and in turn to a world of opportunities, and to uplift the voices of our girls—we would begin to change the social fabric of our world as we know it. In global development it can sometimes feel like the needle moves agonizingly slowly. But when it comes to education, and millions of young and bright futures, it’s not time we have to spare. ***** About the author: Naza Alakija is a humanitarian, a Senior Advisor for UNICEF, and the Founder of Sage Foundation.
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Photo by Adobe Stock.
TO REMAKE THE WORLD, LET’S RETHINK EDUCATION WENDY KOPP
he immense challenges our society faces bring into stark relief that meeting any of our aspirations will require developing today’s students as leaders who can shape a better future—not only for themselves, but for all of us. Given that the only path to a just and equitable future is one led by those who have the deepest insights about what needs to change and the least investment in perpetuating the status quo, there is a need to focus especially on students who have experienced inequity and marginalization. Indeed, as educators, we have perhaps the biggest role to play in meeting global aspirations for sustainability, peace, and justice. Realizing this potential will take rethinking prevailing assumptions about the path forward in education, in three respects—the purpose of education, how we develop leadership for fulfilling it, and how we support our educators to be not only locally rooted, but globally informed. First, we need to prioritize rethinking the very purpose of our education systems. Most plans for improving education start with changing the elements of the system—the curriculum, teacher development, technology, and so forth. We should take all this on, but we must begin with the crucial step of redefining our purpose rooted in an understanding of today’s realities, our aspirations for sustainable development, and our belief in the importance of every child, particularly the most marginalized. Our education systems were not designed to develop all students to exert the leadership necessary to tackle injustices in their communities and beyond, to solve the increasingly complex problems facing our society, or to create meaningful careers in a changing economy. Achieving these purposes requires rethinking everything from the outcomes we work 82 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
towards to the relationship between students and teachers. However, before this can be done, we must come together in communities and countries all over the world to reconsider what we’re working towards. By having these conversations, whether among stakeholders within single schools, school systems, or across whole countries, we will not only discover a new vision for the education systems we want, but we will build a shared resolve to work together to achieve it. Second, we need to develop “collective leadership” to realize this new purpose. There is a tendency to define “system change” as top-down and driven by the government alone. Yet, government leadership alone does not explain differences in educational improvement between communities. In communities where systems are changing and children’s outcomes are improving, many diverse people are working together. From every level of the system, communities are collectively recognizing their agency to address problems, learning constantly, and supporting each other. There are teachers and school leaders showing that something different is possible and doing the extraordinarily challenging work of meeting students’ individual needs and inspiring them to achieve. Students and their caregivers advocate for what they deserve. School system administrators—inspired by those teachers, school leaders, and students—set a vision and make it easier for everyone in the system to succeed. Policy makers and civic leaders create the context, set priorities, and provide resources that speed up progress. Social entrepreneurs and civil society leaders identify and address the gaps in the system. And when systems move fastest, all these actors work together. If we want to reshape education systems, we need to understand how to develop the collective leadership that is needed and act on those insights. No set of interventions can work sustainably without an intentional focus on developing the people in these systems, their sense of purpose and mindsets, their agency and ability to work together, and their understanding of the principles underlying solutions that are proving effective in similar contexts. Third, we will need to foster global learning among educators. Over the years, I have learned that any particular solution we believe in today will surely be seen as insufficient in the future. Creating a system in which all children fulfill their potential will not be about identifying a fixed set of “answers,” but DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 83
rather about a tremendous amount of effort and continuous improvement over time. We should be investing in learning systems and networks that support educators in gaining inspiration from each other so that they can leverage the ideas and principles undergirding success in different contexts. This can fuel a never-ending cycle of innovation for continuous learning and improvement. Most consider education to be a deeply local endeavor. And yet, as different as cultures and contexts are from country to country, there are also remarkable similarities at the root of the issues facing the most marginalized students and communities. In countries all over the world, students face extra challenges, including discrimination and poverty. They attend schools that were not designed to meet their needs nor foster their leadership. The prevailing ideology of low expectations for these marginalized students fuels a cycle of exclusion. The solutions to addressing exclusion in education are a lot more shareable across borders than previously assumed, which could provide a huge opportunity for speeding up progress. We need to work in ways that are both locally rooted and globally informed. While everything in education needs to be contextualized to local circumstances and culture, there are important lessons to be learned from others. We must affirm the identities and histories of the students and communities we work with in ways that are rooted in an understanding of the values they hold dear. At the same time, there is tremendous power in exposure to what works in other communities for shifting mindsets and understandings about what is possible. We can put the world on a different trajectory through education. We must begin by rethinking long-held assumptions about the path forward. Let us enlist students, parents, committed educators, and any and all innovators and activists determined to remake the world and get going! ***** About the author: Wendy Kopp is the CEO & Co-founder of Teach For All. She was the recipient of the 2021 WISE Prize for Education.
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Photo by Joe Green via Unsplash.
ANIMAL HEALTH IS KEY TO TACKLING BOTH POVERTY AND CLIMATE CHANGE CAREL DU MARCHIE SARVAAS
ith breakthrough progress and commitments at both the COP26 climate talks and the UN Food Systems Summit, the international community signaled its intention to make strides in 2022 towards more sustainable food systems, including livestock production.
From the Global Methane Pledge to the Global Sustainable Livestock Coalition, food and agribusiness is increasingly seen as the gateway to addressing the linked challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, hunger, and poverty. Yet as the pandemic recovery progresses unevenly around the world, it is clear that sustainability will be a destination with different routes. To make meaningful progress in transforming food systems and sustainably meeting demand for safe, healthy, and affordable food, the world must accept there is no single “winning” model and instead leverage sectors like animal health that offer gains regardless of the context or the challenges. With an estimated one in five food-producing animals falling victim to disease, improvements in animal health offer enormous potential to minimize losses as well as foodborne illnesses and the unnecessary emissions associated with disease. With its direct links to human and planetary health, animal health plays an instrumental role in the sustainability of food systems—from optimizing the productivity of livestock and minimizing the need for land and water to ensuring the safety of the food supply chain. With vastly different disease challenges, resource levels, and infrastructure, each country will require their own unique mix of animal health tools that reflects “national realities” in the quest to meet shared global goals by 2030. Increasing access to every tool in the toolbox and rejecting policies that require exporters to match the production practices of other markets is essential. For instance, animal medicines and vaccines are the first line of defense in responding to novel and emerging health threats and disease outbreaks, 88 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
which are often highly localized. Existing products must be quickly adapted according to specific strain or conditions—and subsequently reassessed and relicensed. In sub-Saharan Africa for example, critical animal vaccines against rabies and other deadly diseases are most effective when they are heat stable, so they can be delivered without the need for an extensive cold chain. Similarly, some markets face the threat of bacterial infection that requires antibiotics not used in other countries. Ensuring veterinarians are able to prescribe the medicines needed to prevent or treat illness is vital for the sustainability of the global food trade. Breakthroughs in livestock genetics and breeding can also produce animals that cope better with new weather extremes, which in turn reduces the need for more land and resources. Heat stress from temperatures above 25C (77F) can cause cows to eat less and therefore produce and reproduce less, leading to farmers keeping larger herds that maximize their chances of producing sufficient meat and milk. However, a natural gene mutation found in European cattle can be replicated and introduced into herds across Africa, which is disproportionately affected by rising temperatures. More innovative public investment would support the infrastructure and regulatory protocols needed to scale up these kinds of improved breeding programs in countries worst-hit by climate change. Finally, advances in digital monitoring and early diagnosis can be the difference between successfully treating a single animal and losing an entire herd—along with the food supplies and income that come with it. These tools are more widely available in some countries than others due to limitations on connectivity and digital literacy holding back markets in low-income countries. Yet, new technologies like smart ear tags and sensors offer a rapid return on investment and sustainability gains by allowing farmers and veterinarians to act with greater precision before the toll of disease adds up – for people and planet. High standards of animal health and welfare are synonymous with sustainable livestock production and yet, the practices, policies, and technologies that achieve them may vary around the world according to disease threats and resources. The global arena must make space for all possible tools in order to give every country a fair chance of developing a sustainable food system. ***** About the author: Carel du Marchie Sarvaas is executive director of the global animal medicines association HealthforAnimals. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 89
Photo via Pixabay.
DIGITAL DIPLOMACY IS THE NEXT NORMAL PURU TRIVEDI
hroughout the pandemic we have seen the extent of our global reliance on digital infrastructures. With the continued need to convene, plan, and strategize, digital tools have become critical to keeping the wheels of world affairs turning. The unprecedented incorporation of these tools by international organizations, forums, and multilateral organizations in the wake of the pandemic has marked a new age in digital diplomacy—expanding the mutualism of government, private sector, and international affairs. The pandemic brought on its own blend of new challenges and obstacles for private, governmental, nonprofit, and education sectors alike. The new emphasis on social distancing and increased concern over inter-personal contact in poorly ventilated spaces wrought a massive exodus from classrooms, boardrooms, and halls of government. Our global response to the pandemic, however, did not absolve the need to conduct business, educate students, run governments, or manage world affairs. Instead, the result was a digital overhaul of every facet of our lives. If we consider the rise in stock prices for digital meeting platforms like Zoom for example, we can conclude quite confidently that the demand for pandemic-friendly meeting, organizing, and collaborating alternatives was extremely apparent. Zoom alone experienced a ten-fold increase in its service usage during the pandemic. Regarding tech sales, the PC market grew by nearly 13% in its third quarter in 2020 reaching roughly 79.2-million-unit sales. This was also accompanied by internet service increases internationally from 40% before the pandemic to 100% following widespread lockdowns. It is quite clear that the digital sector within the span of two years, has made leaps and bounds in response to pandemic pressures. 92 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
Now when considering digital economies, policies, regulations, and diplomacy, it is a self-producing phenomenon. The increased mobilization of the digital sector begets newer policies, which in turn facilitate greater growth and mobilization of the sector. In this case, the growing use of technology across the board has come to affect new digital policies and regulations such as the EU’s Digital Services Acts (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA) or the more recent creation of the U.S.-E.U. Trade and Technology Council (TTC) earlier this year. At the multilateral level, we can also consider the UN’s Declaration at the commencement of UNGA75 as an affirmation of the inherent role that diplomacy and policy must play in shaping the growth of the sector as well. The declaration to improve safe, affordable, and equitable digital access reflects the hard-learned lessons from the pandemic about the importance of effective digital transition. Internationally, digitalization has followed a generally steady trajectory increasing our technological capacities across sectors. However, prior to the pandemic, these digital tools were rarely preferable to in person correspondence, communication, and collaboration. The pandemic whiplash finally necessitated a more fundamental incorporation of digital technologies across sectors. One of the perhaps more salient examples of this is the 75th Annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held virtually in September of 2020. While not in person, the 75th anniversary of the UNGA operated with fully digital programming which allowed for world leaders to provide their remarks virtually, both ensuring their own health and safety, but also arguably increasing general access to assembly programming. Civil society advocates such as CIVICUS have both lauded this virtual transition and simultaneously advocated for continued virtual access to UN programming in the future to better promote UN-civil society communication and collaborations. Additionally, this unprecedented degree of incorporation of digital tools and technologies has become the means of survival in an era of social distancing. Sectors that fail to fully incorporate a comprehensive digital policy will be unable to meaningfully engage internationally in the economic, political, and trade relations. This sink or swim facet of digitalization drives rapid incorporation of digital tools into our means of doing business. However, our fast-paced digital deep dive also raises ethical concerns regarding ethics, business practices, cyber security, trade, supply chain resiliency, and disinformation to name only few. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 93
Many of these concerns have been longstanding since before the pandemic, but what in terms of diplomacy is different? Digitalization and forecasts of doom, gloom, and boom have been subjects of much conversation and analysis for the past five years, but what has changed in terms of diplomacy? To an unprecedented degree, we are witnessing a profound confluence of diplomatic, governmental, private, and civil society sectors through digitalization. This growing sectoral interconnectivity is the direct result of widespread digitalization. However, this growing coalescence is also leveling the playing field in terms of lines of communication. Through the pandemic, we have witnessed a surging willingness of leaders in all sectors to convene and discuss policy and diplomacy. With business leaders and diplomats and nonprofits alike operating remotely and virtually, there has been a boom of new opportunities to create engaging and exciting virtual forums and programs. Prepandemic, effective and productive convening and programming has always been constrained by physical, geographic, and logistical constraints. The greater operational freedom created by widespread digitalization has bridged many of these gaps. Even as pandemic restrictions and safety protocols begin to loosen gradually and intermittently, the pandemic has taught us how to work effectively in the digital sphere. Moving forward, we may begin to see the formation of a hybrid diplomacy. The benefits of in-person interactions and communications are common knowledge, but the newfound value in digital diplomacy cannot be so easily dismissed even with a return to traditional diplomacy. This hybrid approach that borrows from traditional and digital diplomacy can help continue bridging gaps between the private, governmental, non-profit, and other multilateral sectors. While we are still very much in the full current of digitalization, we have a long way to go before we can fully maximize the benefits of this hybrid diplomacy. However, through greater digital fluency education and training as well as cross-sectoral collaboration on digital policies and regulations, it is achievable. ***** About the author: Puru Trivedi is Meridian’s Vice President of External and Corporate Affairs.
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Photo by Pixabay Creative Commons.
REGULATING THE DISRUPTORS CAREY K. MOTT
uch of the global economy is concentrated within two tightly integrated behemoths. Together, China and the U.S. generate 42% of world GDP with just 33% of the world’s population and claim 68% of the world’s business activity. As these rival states dominate international commerce, their own markets are becoming more concentrated and increasingly dominated by tech companies. Politicians in both countries plan to shrink Big Tech and promote domestic competition, but will the drive to compete globally and challenge ascending states lead to flawed antitrust policy? The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a global order built on free and open trade and movement of people. Shaken by fragile supply chains, economies in recovery are reasserting their sovereignty and idealizing autarky—and not just within the SinoAmerican duopoly. Europe, for example, is incubating firms that represent “European values” and regulating the rest, while India nurtures home-grown alternatives to Chinese social media and U.S. e-commerce. Throughout the pandemic, tech companies have swelled in size. Although important drivers of economic growth, governments feel threatened by their size, their autonomy, and the power they wield. More and more, tech companies are outpacing governments in their ability to shape individual behavior and public opinion. They influence and operate in a digital space of their own design. Data, their lifeblood, binds consumers to incumbent firms. Although a consensus is emerging that tech companies threaten states and endanger consumer welfare, there is little agree98 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
ment within or between nations about how to respond. Will governments promote domestic competition to spur growth and innovation at home, or will global competition drive policymakers to protect their “national champions” and conscript tech firms to execute their policy agendas? Their choice will shape the next decade of geoeconomic competition. On the one hand, punitive capital taxes, clampdowns on tech firms, and heavy state influence may make a country less competitive internationally and scare off foreign investment. On the other hand, coddling national champions leads to concentration in the tech sector, less domestic competition, and less innovation, leaving each country in a worse position to compete with foreign rivals. In the U.S., the small number of firms generating “super-normal” returns has led many to believe they grow at the expense of a recovering economy. Politicians are pinning the blame for decades of weak wage growth, low entrepreneurship, economic inequality, and even inflation on companies deemed “too big to prevail.” This reverses a half-century, free-market zeitgeist that spawned a number of theories playing up the consequences of cracking down and diminished the influence of antitrust law. Historically, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice sought to maximize consumer welfare by focusing on prices. So long as they kept prices low, firms were able to selfregulate and dominate their markets. Invoking the populistprogressive mentality of the Gilded Age, the U.S. now sees Big Tech as a threat to democracy. Beijing also regards the ability of private firms to shape public opinion as a threat to the stability of the Communist Party. In 2018, Chinese antitrust enforcement was transferred from an industrial planner focused on cutting prices to the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), a relatively new market regulator. Handed broad oversight of consumer protection, e-commerce, anti-monopoly, advertising, and pricing, Beijing recently expanded the agency’s scope to sanction violators of antitrust and control mergers. But antitrust decisions carry little weight, and firms are alltoo-ready to pay meager fines. Extra-legal bargaining, such as divesting of assets that displease the CCP, happens behind closed doors. Unlike the U.S. or EU, where judgments include judicial review, Chinese regulators take a shortcut by shaming DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 99
companies into obeisance. Companies complain of due process violations, and although they can appeal decisions, they typically do not. While Google spent five years appealing its European Commission decision, Alibaba thanked regulators for its $2.8 billion fine. By threatening reputational damage, China encourages firms to proactively cooperate with antitrust authorities, and in this way shapes its own self-regulation regime. As other nations balk at doing business in China and resist its “corrosive capital” flows, the state will contrive a way to maintain its economy’s momentum. Most likely, antitrust will be used to achieve broad policy objectives, such as unified messaging and prioritized manufacturing, while extraterritorial jurisdiction will be weaponized against rivals. Europe hopes to break the Sino-American duopoly, but it was late to embrace the digital economy. Preoccupied with inter-union politics and a lingering debt crisis, the world’s largest trading bloc has few domestic tech firms to rival foreign ones, which it’s eager to regulate. The European Commission and national regulators impose scattershot regulation plagued by delays, hoping this protectionism will jumpstart European innovation. But if Europe fails to replace the foreign firms pushed out, consumers will be worse off—a betrayal of its competition policy. The U.S. has historically led the world in innovation, and its startups aspire to monopolization. Fledgling companies seek patents, create sprawling networks, and erect moats. “Competition is for losers,” they sneer. U.S. regulation, rule of law, and intellectual protections encourage firms to grow large, fast. This distinct advantage is one of the reasons the U.S., which accounts for 24% of GDP, is home to 38% of the world’s capital markets. More than 200 Chinese companies worth $2 trillion float shares on U.S. markets—until China saw national security threats and the U.S. saw noncompliance. Beijing’s regulatory shortcut may inspire envy in beleaguered U.S. trustbusters, but Western rule of law, due process, and free markets will continue to be the envy of China’s tech firms. Tension between innovation and regulation is experienced globally, but the U.S. has been especially stunted by regulatory dissonance, tasking agencies to both protect consumers and encourage business. These are not mutually exclusive objectives. The competitive advantage of the U.S. should be its judicial review, but regulators are slow, resistant to economic analysis, and reluctant to intervene. While the world builds 100 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
walled cities, the U.S. should consider how its regulators could be made as efficient and effective as the tech firms they seek to regulate. By sustaining innovation, regulating effectively, and remaining open to foreign investment, the U.S. can set a global example at a critical moment. ***** About the author: Carey K. Mott is the 2021 YPFP Economics Fellow. He is an International & Domestic Markets Associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he reports on global financial flows.
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Photo by Soham Banerjee via Flickr.
REFORMING THE DEFECTIVE U.S. SANCTIONS REGIME OLA M. TUCKER
he popularity of economic and financial sanctions as a foreign policy tool has grown significantly in both breadth and scope in recent years, particularly by the U.S.—which employs sanctions more than any other country. Correspondingly, the use of sanctions has been met with increasing condemnation. Critics argue that sanctions are ineffective and cite the harm to business and the deleterious consequences that are often suffered by vulnerable and innocent groups. A recent comprehensive Sanctions Review by the U.S. Treasury highlights how a clear, strategic, and coordinated sanctions approach can improve the current sanctions regime as well as address national security challenges. With its stated commitment to further diplomacy, human rights and democratic values, the Biden Administration is in a distinct position to make good on its word and reform what many see as a broken sanctions program. However, in practice, this will be more complicated than it initially appears due to the fact the global economy is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before with many nations highly reliant on sanctions targets such as Russia, China, Iran, and others. Added to this is the unprecedented struggle that countries continue to face owing to the devastating setbacks of the coronavirus pandemic. What are sanctions and how are they used? Sanctions involve the withdrawal of usual trade or financial relations and are based on foreign policy goals and objectives. Sanctions can be comprehensive in scope, such as the enduring U.S. embargo on Cuba, which prohibits commercial activity with the entire country, or they can be more selective, such as the blocking of financial transactions with particular groups, individuals, or businesses. The goals of these measures range 104 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
from persuasion (to act or refrain from acting), to punishment, for violating an international treaty, for example. Historically, sanctions have been used to effectuate counterterrorism, combat narcotics trafficking and arms proliferation, promote human rights, advance conflict resolution, and further a host of other policies. Sanctions have also been imposed to deter unlawful conduct and prevent military advances by aggressors. Why is the current sanctions regime ineffective? Over the past two decades, sanctions have been imposed with ever more rigor and frequency to achieve U.S. objectives. However, this has often been done without sufficient planning prior to their adoption and without adequate analysis and evaluation of their effectiveness during and after their imposition. As a result, sanctions often end up hurting U.S. interests, result in greater costs on U.S. companies, and still do not alter the target’s behavior. For companies operating internationally, sanctions can be confusing and challenging to navigate and may directly impact business. Because sanctions are a strict liability regime— meaning that a violation can result in civil liability without proof or fault or intent—companies often over-comply out of fear of violation. Not only does this result in the loss of otherwise legitimate business to companies, but consumers also lose out on products and services. State and non-state actors threatened by sanctions, including powerful terrorist organizations and influential criminal groups, may retaliate by doubling down on unlawful activity, diverting resources, and otherwise increasing repression measures. Despite exemptions for humanitarian aid, such aid often can’t be supplied because of sanctions. Women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, refugees, indigenous persons, and other at-risk groups are often most impacted. Although comprehensive sanctions receive the most criticism, selective or targeted sanctions can also have negative consequences when not used properly. For example, although targeted sanctions aimed at a specific individual may be effective in stifling their financial access, sanctions against a particular bank may adversely affect a number of otherwise innocent consumers. How can sanctions be reformed? The Treasury’s Sanctions Review made recommendations for reforming the current sanctions program, many of which are DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 105
in line with what scholars and experts have espoused. According to the Review, to be effective, sanctions must have a “clear policy objective.” Additionally, lawmakers must ensure that the brunt of sanctions fall on designated targets and that potential collateral negative damages be minimized. Furthermore, the Review noted that the intended impact of sanctions can be bolstered when plans are made in coordination with allies and partners, as the coordinated use of sanctions can provide greater leverage against the sanctions target. Furthermore, countries imposing economic sanctions must also be willing to understand and accept any negative consequences to their own economies, particularly when dealing with potential adversaries such as China, which comprises the world’s second largest economy as well as serves as a major international financial center. Sanctions programs are a national as well as global security governance tool. As a result, sanctions must inevitably evolve as new threats emerge. There is no doubt that the U.S., which makes the greatest use of sanctions, must modernize its current regime, a measure that would be well in line with the Biden Administration’s vow to bring diplomacy back into U.S. foreign policy. When used strategically, economic and financial sanctions can be highly effective tools that foster democracy and the rule of law. But sanctions will always be a double-edged sword that require careful planning, collaboration, and extreme caution. It is imperative that policymakers be realistic about the goals that can be reasonably achieved through the use of sanctions. In its Sanctions Review, the U.S. Treasury has already outlined what needs to be done—all that remains is for Washington to act upon it. ***** About the Author: Ola M. Tucker, an attorney and compliance professional, is the founder of Compliance Notes. Her first book titled, “The Flow of Illicit Funds: A Case Study Approach to Anti–Money Laundering Compliance,” will be published by Georgetown University Press in Spring 2022.
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Photo by Delaney Turner via Unsplash.
THE AMERICAS’ COMORBIDITIES: INEQUALITY AND DECLINING TRUST IN DEMOCRACY ADAM RATZLAFF
he COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated underlying social issues across the globe. No region has been as hard hit by the pandemic as the nations of the Western Hemisphere, including the United States. Despite only representing about 13.1% of the global population, as of Dec. 20, 2021, the region saw approximately 36.4% of total COVID-19 cases and 44.6% of deaths. Not only were the health outcomes disproportionate, but the IMF noted that the Latin American and Caribbean region saw the economy contract by 7% percent in 2020, more than any other region in the world. Given how hard COVID-19 hit the Americas, it should come as little surprise that it has also exposed and exacerbated some of the region’s core underlying challenges—in particular the interlinked issues of inequality and declining trust in democracy. These two challenges can be seen as comorbidities to the COVID-19 pandemic in that they make it more difficult to address the pandemic itself and are worsened by the pandemic’s impact. The Latin America and Caribbean region is often considered one of the most unequal regions in the world. While inequality in the region declined drastically in the first decade of the 21st century, it has remained fairly constant ever since. Additionally, while the aggregate numbers highlight income inequality in the region, high levels of inequality based on ethno-racial identity and gender continue in the region as well. While all segments of society have been impacted by COVID-19, efforts to curb the spread of the disease were limited by the region’s high levels of inequality. In fact, evidence suggests that inequality and the higher need of the poor to continue working in the pandemic re110 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
duced the effectiveness of pandemic lockdown measures, particularly amongst the most vulnerable. Inequalities have echoed in the impact of COVID across different population groups. Evidence from the United States highlights the racial differences in both the likelihood of contracting and dying from the virus. While less information is available on the racial impacts of COVID-19 in Latin America, similar trends are evident where data is available. These high levels of inequality hamper the effectiveness of governments to address ongoing challenges and create a high level of distrust in the effectiveness of governments. The Americas also find themselves in the middle of a “democratic recession.” Leaders in many countries in the region have taken steps that challenge democracy and freedom in their countries. This has included assaults on the media, efforts to concentrate power in the executive, inappropriate uses of the armed forces, among other ongoing challenges. Despite these threats making democracy in the region fragile, most countries remain democracies. However, Cuba was the only country in the Americas was non-democratic at the turn of the 21st century, but has now been joined by Nicaragua and Venezuela. These cases highlight how easily democratic backsliding can shift into full blown authoritarian regimes. Underlying these threats to democratic governance is declining support for democracy among the populace in the region. Results from the last round of the Latin American Public Opinion Project highlight that the decade-long decline in support for democracy has continued. This decline in support for democracy does not suggest citizens no longer want a voice in politics, but rather reflects concerns over high levels of corruption, the failure of governments to effectively address problems, and concerns over how democracy is functioning at home. While this has been a long-term phenomenon, the failure of governments across the region to curb the spread of COVID-19 coupled with high levels of corruption in COVID responses in some countries have done little to slow declining levels of support for democracy in the Americas. While a great deal of attention has long been paid to these issues in Latin America, these comorbidities are evident across the Americas—particularly within the United States. Relative to other OECD countries, the United States is among the most unequal, ranked as the fourth most unequal among the non-Latin American OECD countries (only being more Equal than Turkey, Bulgaria, and South Africa as well as the four Latin American OECD countries). Likewise, U.S. democracy is at one of the DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 111
most fragile points in the nation’s history. Ignoring that the United States faces problems similar to its Hemispheric neighbors weakens the ability to collectively address these shared challenges and learn lessons from across the region. Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic is going to require that countries address not only the health impacts that the pandemic has laid bare, but seek to rectify the comorbidities that have exacerbated and been exacerbated by the pandemic. In the Americas, this is going to mean tackling the issues of inequality and declining support for democracy head on. Addressing these challenges will not be an easy task, requiring cooperation between all the Americas’ governments to address regional challenges while they simultaneously work to tackle these issues at home. Countries must show that popularly elected governments not only represent the will of the people, but are able to deliver on their promises, combat corruption, and tackle the varied challenges that face their citizens. This will require implementing reforms to promote transparency within government, greater citizen inclusion in budgetary processes, strengthening rule of law and anti-corruption measures, as well as active civics education campaigns that highlight why democracy works the way that it does and benefits that democracy and pluralism bring to society. All of these actions must also work to support all of a country’s citizens rather than reinforce the perception that the government continues to serve only a subset of the population. In addition to all of these, governments must seek to tackle inequality in their countries. This includes addressing not income inequality, but the systemic inequalities that are evident in every country in the region. Only by addressing both inequality and the governance crisis can the Americas move forward to a brighter future. The Americas must face not only the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but address some of the underlying symptoms that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and that have hampered governments’ abilities to address this crisis. It will not be enough just for the economy to rebound and to end the pandemic. Governments across the Americas need to address their citizens’ concerns about the quality of governance, their ability to deliver, and the underlying inequality that is prevalent across the region. Only then can the region be better prepared to advance in the 21st century and ensure governments that are truly for all of their citizens. 112 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
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Photo by Karim Manjra via Unsplash.
RESILIENCE AS TRANSFORMATION FOR A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD OAKLEIGH WELPLY
he world is going through profound change in energy with renewable energy moving to the center stage of Africa’s energy landscape. The transition to renewable energy in Africa has progressed with impressive pace over the last decade, with several countries working to increase renewable energy capacity in recent years. As 2021 comes to an end, the World Health Organization has issued a message of optimism that “2022 can mark the end of COVID’S acute stage.” This glimmer of hope opens up the possibility of recovery, building a ‘new normal’, and, if we are bold, transformation. This period of life in which a microscopic entity shut down the world, halted connections and mobility have shed light on features of our human existence that have always been there, but were less apparent: deep inequalities, inhumane suffering, and disparities in access to opportunities, resources, and basic health care. The COVID recovery should not mean going back to normal, but incorporating the lessons of this global crisis to enable profound transformations of our societies. Resilience is commonly put forward in times of crisis as a way to enable reconstruction and transformation. If you were not familiar with the versatility of the concept, almost two years of COVID-19 pandemic will have made sure that you have heard the word resilience a lot, across a number of different contexts, platforms and sectors. Resilience is understood as central to respond to global challenges and has gained increased attention across sectors. In business, resilience is an indicator of performant strategies. A number of management consultancies such as McKinsey, Deloitte or PWC focused on “strategic resilience” for businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. Resilience also features in national and international policy agendas such as when French president Emmanuel Macron named the early stages of the pandemic response in France “Opération résilience” or U.S. President Joe Biden’s “roadmap to climate-resilient economy.” Likewise, the resilience of health systems has been at the center of considerations for how nations and their systems can cope 116 | DAVOS DIALOGUE 2022
with the pandemic. For psychologists, the concept of resilience has been central in research on trauma and childhood development, made particularly salient due to the pandemic’s impacts on youth. The popularity of the term has increased in a time of global crisis, where the question of how we cope and how we move forward has been at the core of our considerations in the last two years. The heightened focus on resilience opens the question on what the concept can offer us as we move through the next stages of the pandemic, and how can it help us think of and live with a “new normal.” I would like to propose three core principles for thinking about how resilience can be mobilised in a more significant way to foster meaningful transformation: the three Rs of reflection, recognition and reparation. 1. Reflection The COVID-19 pandemic has shed a sharp light upon the deep structural inequalities and discrimination that shape our societies— locally, nationally and globally. It has made the injustices of our world impossible to ignore, whether this is in terms of poverty, access to healthcare, racism, or oppression. With this in mind, what next normal can we aspire to? What transformations are necessary to build a new normal that addresses global challenges while tackling inequality and injustice? This requires a deep reflection upon the world we live in and the very conditions of our existence. A reflection on the types of transformation that society needs and what we can learn from past mistakes is essential. This reflection requires moving past shortterm thinking and individualised solutions to adopt a broader systemic view of the transformations that need to take place. 2. Recognition One difficulty is that the notion of resilience is often brandished as a characteristic that pertains to the individual. Resilience understood as highly individualised and self-actualised might resemble what is aptly described as the “neoliberalism of emotions,” a form of self-help in which the onus is put on the individual no matter what external factors, structures, context, or disaster have been thrown their way. This view overlooks the fact that the responsibility of the individual cannot be understood apart from the multitude of connections and forms of interdependence that shape human life. We need systems, supports, and networks to get through crises and transform lives so that a new normal becomes possible. This wider understanding DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 117
demands the recognition of our fundamental interdependence at multiple levels: local, national, global. The latest variant of the coronavirus, has shown that vaccine equity and global cooperation are non-negotiable essentials to tackle the pandemic. This recognition of the ways our lives are fundamentally intertwined with the lives of others is the foundation to the essential trust needed to work together, address risk, and build a better future. This goes for so many other areas of human life. As such, resilience needs to be thought of in global terms. 3. Reparation Reparation might be the less intuitive or least comfortable principle to embrace for our “new normal” because it is inscribed within the recognition of inequalities and discrimination that underpin the “old normal.” It demands a deep and hard look at the power hierarchies and forms of oppression upon which world systems are built and upon which the privileged few have thrived. Yet reparation is fundamental to our collective global resilience. Our imagined “next normal” will require more than a superficial understanding of resilience. Resilience, like transformation, is not something that happens gently. Resilience is not linear. It might be tortuous, unpredictable, and even disappointing at times. It entails adaptation, risk, and resistance. Resilience might be accompanied by anger, which acts as the very motor for transformation. The Black Lives Matter movement showed how inane the idea of resilience might be in the face of glaring injustices, in which a cry for change is driven by despair and outrage. There is no desire here to ‘spring back into shape’, when the very shape of existence is injustice, racism, and cruelty. The next normal requires reparation of the deep injustices that shape the world. At the dawn of 2022, a message is clear: we cannot build a new ‘post-pandemic’ normal without global cooperation and directly addressing world disparities and injustice. ***** About the author: Oakleigh Welply is an Associate Professor at Durham University specializing on issues related to migration and education in Europe. Her book Immigration, Integration and Education in France and England was published by Routledge in November 2021.
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Photo by Adobe Stock.
TO RESTORE FAITH IN GOVERNMENT, BRING CIVIL SOCIETY TO THE TABLE JENNA BEN-YEHUDA
t’s fair to say that in 1950’s America, the majority of the population trusted their government. According to Pew Research, in 1958 three-quarters of the country “trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time.” Six decades later, that figure is now at an all-time low, with only 2% of Americans believing that they can continually rely upon the government to do the right thing all of the time. With the pressures of a global pandemic weighing on our society and a strained economy making the day to day lives of Americans even more difficult, it’s unsurprising that the population’s faith in the government’s ability to handle domestic issues has plummeted. Yet we also know that the American people’s adherence to public health guidelines is critical to putting this pandemic in the rearview mirror. These shaky levels of confidence aren’t confined to domestic politics alone. Following last summer’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, it’s no surprise that the number of those who have faith in the government’s ability to handle international issues has dropped from 48% to 39% in a single year, according to a 2021 study by Gallup. Simply put, the government must do more to deliver for its people. President Biden’s recent Executive Order to improve government customer service is an important step toward delivering upon a service orientation. However, avenues for helping the government do better should not come from within the government alone. Increasingly, our nation is beset by complex crises—whether extreme weather due to climate change or the challenges of evacuating vulnerable Afghans from Kabul amidst a rapidly deteriorating security environment. It’s time to foster frameworks for cooperation between government and civil society to create the added agility and capability that the government lacks.
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This partnership model isn’t new. It’s been used to great effect between government and the private sectors for years and the announcement of $1.2bn of private sector investment in Central America serves as a powerful example of how the private sector’s efforts will support the White House strategy to deliver economic growth for the peoples of Central America so that they can have access to meaningful employment without leaving their country of origin. What’s missing is an analogous mechanism for cooperation between government and civil society. As Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, Truman launched its Afghanistan Operations Center to facilitate the rapid evacuation of vulnerable Afghans. By creating a mission-center and recruiting over 100 volunteers, we directly evacuated 1,000 people; helped to manifest and fill seven private charter flights; and provided 13,000 case referrals and additional support to the NSC, USAID, State Department, the National Counterterrorism Center, and members of Congress. Truman’s efforts lent much-needed capacity to the U.S government evacuation effort by crowdsourcing real-time intelligence and converting it to impact on the ground and lives saved. Such efforts can and must inform policy responses to future crises. Gone are the days of neat bilateral skirmishes. Resolving today’s conflicts requires bringing all talent to the table—from across government, the private sector, and civil society working in coordination. Together, we can help the U.S. government deliver for the American people and restore the trust that’s been lost. ***** About the author: Jenna Ben-Yehuda is the president and CEO of the Truman Center for National Policy and a former State Department official.
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