Regional groups will play bigger role facing global issues: WEF leaders

Global institutions remain weak or fail to make reform, WEF leaders say

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Regional organizations will play a strong role in dealing with global challenges as international organizations remain weak or fail to make reform, state and organizational leaders agreed during the World Economic Forum’s sixth Summit on the Global Agenda held in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

“We are moving to a world where multi-regionalism will be the growth industry in governance,” said Carl Bildt, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, according to a press release by the Work Economic Forum.

Amid a limited influence of global institutions “there is enormous potential for regional institutions to fill some of these gaps,” said Kevin Rudd, Member of Parliament in Australia.

“There is a distinct role for small and middle powers – constructive and creative powers – to sustain, rebuild and renew the global order. There is no longer a one-size-fits-all mechanism to deal with great challenges. It’s a coalition of the policy willing,” Rudd added.

Other leader, however, warned that some regions are not yet well integrated and that the goal should be to achieve multilateral global agreements.

“We don’t think that regional economic integration is a panacea,” said Igor V. Finogenov, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Development Bank in Almaty.

“The regions are reorganizing themselves and we in Latin America are still on the periphery of the periphery. Our region is still very fragmented,” said Alicia Barcena Ibarra, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago.

The regional perspective on global issues is essential, said Fathallah Sijilmassi, Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean in Barcelona.

“Within the framework of commitment to the global agenda and respect for national priorities, we need to have this ‘helicopter height’ for a regional perspective of the major challenges. If you want long-term solutions to long-term challenges, they are in regional integration,” Sijilmassi added.

Concurrent to the Summit on the Global Agenda, the World Economic Forum, in conjunction with the Government of the United Arab Emirates, has convened a meeting of regional organizations to exchange views and discuss ways of cooperating.

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