Left to Right: Ramu Damodaran, Dima Al-Khatib, Archie Young, Fernando Marani. March 27, 2024.

L to R: Ramu Damodaran, Dima Al-Khatib, Archie Young, Fernando Marani. March 27, 2024. CREDIT: Noha Mahmoud.

Unlocking Cooperation: The Global South and Global North

Mar 28, 2024 56 min watch

How can Global South and Global North nations collaborate more effectively? What roadblocks hinder joint action on crucial issues such as security, development, climate, and AI? How can ethical reflection and engagement pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable multilateralism?

In the inaugural panel of Carnegie Council’s “Unlocking Cooperation” series, moderator Ramu Damodaran discusses these pressing questions and more with leading experts.

Unlocking Cooperation Global South North Spotify podcast link Unlocking Cooperation Global South North Apple podcast link

JOEL ROSENTHAL: Welcome. My name is Joel Rosenthal. I am president of Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and we are delighted that you are joining us here in person and also online.

Today we are meeting to launch the first in a series of conversations called “Unlocking Cooperation.” This theme may strike some of you as counter-programming to what you are seeing and hearing in the news, and this is precisely our intention. “Unlocking” is a suggestive term. It implies that success is within our reach if we can only find the key. As violence continues in Europe and the Middle East and as positive collective action on urgent global-scale issues seems out of reach, we believe it is more important than ever to discover and deliver new forms of international cooperation.

Recent surveys show a significant uptick in zero-sum thinking, both domestically and internationally, especially among young people. “Zero sum” is just another way of saying, “My gain is your loss.” While we understand and respect the experiences that lead to this point of view, we believe zero-sum thinking is not only insufficient but short-sighted.

In contrast we believe there are shared values and shared interests that can serve as the basis for effective and inclusive forms of cooperation; we merely need to activate them. Win-win as opposed to zero sum is not just wishful thinking. Non-zero solutions are realistic, pragmatic, and within our grasp.

In his famous peace speech of June 1963, John F. Kennedy reminded us: “No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again.”

To continue the quote: “I am not referring to the absolutely infinite concept of peace and goodwill, which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams, but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal. Let’s focus instead on a more practical, more obtainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions, on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interests of all concerned.”

I think many of us would agree with what Kennedy said back in 1963. Human problems have human solutions, and our problems are not so much technical as they are ethical and behavioral. We trust that this meeting today and all the meetings in this series will help spark new dialogues and new actions emphasizing our common humanity. We have with us four exemplars to help us investigate the keys to unlocking greater cooperation, and so my thanks to our exceptional speakers for joining us.

With that I am going to turn over the floor to Ramu Damodaran, senior advisor to the UN University of Peace. Along with Kevin Maloney, Ramu has been both the architect and engineer of this program, so, thank you, Ramu, for everything, thanks to the panelists, and thanks to you all for coming.

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thank you so much, Joel. I don’t know if any of you have been to a one-man show downtown by Laurence Fishburne. I know that Archie has. One of the lines Laurence Fishburne said was, “The one thing I have been blessed with is a voice.” I have a lot in common with Laurence Fishburne, but that is not one of them.

I am very grateful for this opportunity, Joel, that you and Kevin have given us to talk about the UN Summit of the Future and in particular the idea of using it as a means to truly unlock, as you said, Joel, not a zero-sum game but a win-win game.

We are blessed by the panel we have today with us. We are going to go in typical American first-name style alphabetically, leading with Archie Young, the UK ambassador to the UN General Assembly, then we have Dima Al-Khatib, who is director of the Office for South-South Cooperation at the United Nations (UNOSSC), and Fernando Marani, who is the program director at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.

The idea of our conversation, since we have a very limited time, is to begin by asking each of our panelists to frame one of the areas of experience or expertise in the context of unlocking cooperation and the Summit and in the second half ask each of them to think of one or two points that the other two panelists have made with which the other agrees or disagrees or something that sparked a sense of curiosity or interest and then take it on to a conversation with all of you.

We have talked about the Summit of the Future. Central to all of this, as is inevitable with the United Nations, is the promised document, and we keep on trying to find new words to call these documents. This time we have come up with the word “pact,” so we could have a Pact for the Future.

When I look at what the General Assembly said, that “each is to realize the vision of a multilateral system that is more effective, more trusted, more inclusive, and better equipped for the challenges, opportunities, and capacities of the present and future, a new beginning in international cooperation with a new approach,” something we could have said rather more briefly by saying it is about ethics in international affairs.

Thank you all for joining us. Let me begin by asking Archie to focus on one particular area of his expertise, by no means the only one, climate, and what promise has climate change—which has been over the last several years a source of division and lack of cooperation between the Global North and Global South—to help unlock cooperation?

ARCHIE YOUNG: Thank you very much, Ramu, and it is a pleasure to be here with such distinguished colleagues. Thank you for the invitation as well.

I am pleased that we are focusing on climate as an exemplar of cooperation given how critical cooperation is to the extraordinary challenge that we face in tackling climate change, both in terms of preventing its worst impacts and dealing with its impacts and also doing so in a way which enables genuine sustainable development and the uplifting of the most vulnerable around the world. It is in many ways a classic case of cooperation given the levels of interaction that are required but also given questions about agency and the fact that the people who have least contributed to the problem are the people who are suffering the most, and therefore that need for mechanisms and tools which are inclusive, which genuinely build on and benefit from the insights that are possible around the world, and bring people together in a common direction.

I will return to your question a bit because you framed it in a very negative way about collaboration. I actually think that there are incredibly positive examples of collaboration in tackling climate change.

Yes, it is very clear from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Global Stocktake that collectively we are behind. There is insufficient action on pretty much all of the key indicators, but that does not mean that cooperation isn’t happening; that does not mean that there are not positive examples to build on.

If it is helpful, just to give a sense of those areas of cooperation, I would say there is the cooperation which is technical, there is financial, there is political, and there is diplomatic cooperation. There is cooperation between states. There is North-South and South-South cooperation.

I am trying to look for the right geometry in terms of actually being credible where the range of networks of cooperation are actually happening. The image that came to mind was a pinball, pinball cooperation, because it is spinning and whizzing between all of these different nodal points, but that almost feels too random, and actually there is much more of a direction to it, which I think is a positive direction.

Then there is cooperation depending on different issues: the cooperation to reduce emissions, to build an active capacity, to get the finance flowing, to address the losses and damages from climate change, and to build the technical cooperation and the capacity building. There are formal mechanisms as well as informal mechanisms. Although I am not going to do a list of all of the UK’s program—I don’t think that would be appropriate for this audience—there are some good examples of where that cooperation is happening.

One example on the diplomatic side that I think is an interesting case is a very informal grouping called the Cartagena Dialogue for Progressive Action. For those of you who are not familiar with the Cartagena Dialogue, this was formed many years ago by my mentor and a dear friend who sadly passed away not so long ago, Pete Betts, and some other colleagues. They identified that in negotiations people were stuck in their groups, people were not listening to each other, and people were not identifying where the opportunities for cooperation really were, so they brought together this grouping of progressive countries to spend time together, invest in each other as human beings, and understand the interests that lay behind their positions, and it is through that that we were able to work together to drive toward the Paris Agreement, the Glasgow Climate Pact, and the Katowice package, all of these different agreements and decisions that we have been able to make since.

Just a couple more points, if I can: One is to bring it back to the Summit of the Future and that broader sense of cooperation. Like I said, climate change is such a classic case for cooperation; even the UN Convention on Climate Change says, “Given the global nature of climate change, it calls for the widest possible cooperation between all countries.”

The Summit should be the manifestation of that as well. It should be this opportunity for the whole world to come together despite the divisions and set a direction that resonates with people, so we need to—and I say this myself—watch ourselves the UN language. We need to be able to create both a Summit and a Pact which are meaningful. We need to use them as a crucible for areas where we can work together and not just throwing in all the areas on which we disagree.

We need to also be respectful of different mandates. Yes, climate change absolutely needs to feature in the Pact for the Future and the Summit, but also we have to respect the fact that there are ongoing processes, UN processes, state-state processes, multi-sectoral processes, and very informal processes which all deserve their own space and their own movement. I want to make sure that as the Summit sets that clear direction all of these other issues, which are very relevant and see themselves in it, we do not end up in a competition as to which issue is more important for the future.

The last thing I will say is that you talked about the ethics side of this, and I think increase of cooperation was mentioned. This came through strongly last year in the UK’s international development white paper, where it makes the point of wanting to frame our development cooperation in terms of mutual respect and partnership and avoid development “being done” to others. What I am interested to hear from colleagues here today is what that looks like in practice and how can we live up to that ambition? Thank you.

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thank you, Archie. You had two remarkable themes there, the idea of the tension, if you will, between a preoccupation with processes and with investing in human beings, and then the idea that you mention about inclusive cooperation, which brings me to Dima because Dima, as I mentioned, is looking after the vast portfolio of South-South cooperation.

We think again of these as two monoliths, the South and the North, but what about within the South itself, when you talk about cooperation within the South, and that in a sense fusing with cooperation with the North, something that could be called “triangular cooperation?” Is this something that you are exploring?

DIMA AL-KHATIB: Thank you, Ramu, and thank you, Joel, for hosting us today and a great discussion.

Let me start from where our colleague ended here on the issue of climate change. Climate and cooperation for addressing it is, by excellence, as you say, a subject of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation, and I will delve into that a little bit further.

Climate does not have any geographic boundaries. This is a topic whereby the implications have to be addressed by the collective. There should be a sense of accountability, and this is where the countries of the South, which are 80 percent of the globe, are shouting out and wanting to address that, and there are some other countries that are extremely threatened by the implications of climate change; hence, this urge, because it is about livelihoods, sustaining life, and existence.

From there on, as we look into issues such as climate but other key developmental issues, South-South cooperation and the interaction and collaboration among countries and triangular cooperation have proven to be very effective ways that complement the regular way of doing or supporting development, whether by the multilateral system or through different collaborations with countries.

I do agree that there are so many mechanisms that exist. The one-million-dollar question would be: How do you make sure that you connect all of this together and capitalize on it rather than having to repeat the same thing?

I wanted to also give a few examples about specifically triangular cooperation because triangular cooperation not only is driven by Southern countries but is a complement to South-South cooperation and it is cooperation with a modality that brings onboard the expertise and support of different entities, not to mention countries. This is where also Northern countries can definitely exercise that support and that collaboration based on this Southern-driven demand. Again, when we talk about South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation, the demand has to be driven from the countries of the South, taking into account their specificities, context, culture, language, proximity, and so on.

What we have seen in the past decade or so is a growing interest and commitment to the modalities of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation. It has been on the rise. We have seen countries—Germany and Japan—that have dedicated, for examples, policies, frameworks, programs, and budgets for this cooperation. Canada, the European Union, Norway, Korea, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and many other countries do have frameworks and do have that type of development cooperation modality, and it has been proven to be extremely effective.

For example, in Ibero-America we have 121 triangular cooperation initiatives that were carried between 2020 and 2021. This is expected to be on the rise as we also observe the different dynamics in development and financing ecosystem. Next year there will be a major conference on financing for development, and I do expect issues of that nature will be definitely deeply discussed.

All of the work that relates to South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation is, of course, grounded on this major conference that took place—we were just talking about it; [points to Fernando] he comes from Buenos Aires—Argentina, the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, which was recommitted to in 2019, what we call the Buenos Aires Plan of Action Plus 40.

I also want to mention one important thing. Since I assumed this function one year ago at every major international conference and fora there is a dedicated call for capitalizing and using South-South and triangular cooperation as a means that complements the traditional or current development cooperation frameworks. It is also very important to note that we also see emerging countries that are now looking again and reconsidering the way they are supporting development and trying to look at it and classify it as triangular cooperation, because whenever technical expertise is also coming into play this is part of the exchange that takes place.

Recently, for example, in January the Third South Summit that took place in Uganda after 20 years has also produced a major declaration whereby the countries of the South restated what are their development priorities and how important it is to address them in many ways, South-South and triangular cooperation being key factors. In February there was also a major conference that took place in Morocco for middle-income countries. Again, this was underlined as one of those.

In 2024 the 4th Small Island Developing States Conference will be taking place in Barbuda and Antigua, and this is going to set the ten-year action plans for the small island countries. This is also an opportunity whereby this will be brought to the table. In June there will be also a dedicated conference which will come up with a new action plan for the landlocked countries, a group of countries that are suffering from different developmental challenges due to their landlocked-ness, and this is also going to rely a lot on discussion. We are also partnering with the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States to have a ministerial segment to that conference to discuss and delve deeper into how South-South and triangular cooperation can make a difference. We will be using case studies to showcase that process and that phenomenon.

Another thing I wanted to mention: Monitoring these trends is extremely important and looking into what the impact of that is and how it works, talking about it, advocating for it, and raising awareness about it is extremely important. This is why I value discussions such as the one we are having today because it is also speaking to a different audience and is spreading the word about that.

We have recently undertaken a study together with a German think tank to look into the impact of triangular cooperation. It was focused on the Arab region, a region that is also grappling with different developmental issues ranging from peace-related ones but also agriculture, health, education, you name it. It has shown how much triangular cooperation has been proving its worth by looking into special initiatives that have been supported by Germany, Japan, and the like.

At the same time, it also highlighted moving forward what one should focus on. Advocacy came as one area but also the need to monitor the extent to which the Northern countries have been supportive. With Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) systems sometimes this is not fully captured. There is an intent to increase looking into that, and that is something that definitely would be needed, and it will showcase further how much this modality has been effective and has been yielding up its results.

There is another study that was done between the OECD and the Islamic Development Bank also looking into triangular cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank being an international financial institution that not only has South-South cooperation as part of its DNA but is also coming up with packages of support whereby there is engagement of technical support coming either from the private sector or other entities. We do have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Islamic Development Bank and so on.

These are important elements to look into, and we as an office do have the intention based on a recommendation from the secretary-general to establish a window on triangular cooperation that will be part of our UN Fund for South-South Cooperation to be able to work with the multilateral system because we are motivated also to work with the totality of the UN system regionally and on the ground for the sake of supporting the use of this modality and enabling the establishment of a financial mechanism that will allow it.

There is more to come about this. We have started recently jointly with Portugal, the permanent representation mission, and the Islamic Development Bank a series of discussions around this, and we hope that this year we will be able to operationalize this, so there is much to talk about.

I do not want to take a lot of time. Thank you very much for the question. We look forward to continuing these dialogues and spreading the word about this because there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel and we need to hold onto these mechanisms. Thank you.

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thank you very much, Dima. The impression I got from what you said is that there has always been a certain conscience—not necessarily altruism but policy choice—by individual countries like the OECD countries on extending cooperation. I wonder whether that could be replaced by more architectural norms which unite countries.

I was going to ask Fernando about that: Is it possible to have a global normative system which in a sense mandates cooperation and takes it for granted in specific areas?

FERNANDO MARANI: Thank you, Ramu, and thank you for the invitation. It is a very interesting conversation and very timely as well. I think we are living in a world where the narrative is that the division and polarization among nations is growing and growing. It is a very unfortunate type of conversation. I think we need to ensure that we keep on finding those areas where actually cooperation works and exists and there are areas of convergence on so many fronts.

I am a lawyer by background so of course I would love to set everything on a legal framework; it gives predictability, enforceability, and you have always in such a framework ways to solve your disputes in a peaceful manner. Of course, I am a true believer of the importance of setting any type of cooperation in a legal context and legal framework, but there are also some downsides to that. Be honest—the process is long, not only the process of negotiating such treaties, but also enforcement. You reach the moment of agreement and adoption of the text, and then it takes years sometimes to bring it into reality.

I will pick up two areas in which it makes sense to have such a type of agreement and where it has been working. Maybe it is a bit of timing. There are moments in history when we achieve higher cooperation. I will try to demystify both.

Definitely in areas like common public goods it makes sense to have a legal framework to regulate. It usually is much more effective. The paradigmatic case is the case of the Convention on the Law of the Sea. It took 20 years to get there, but it was an instrument that ensured that we were able to use our oceans in a more sustainable manner. We are still benefiting from laws that were put in place in the 1980s.

Again, I cannot deny my lawyer identity but also my Argentine identity, so climate. We were always in the 1980s thinking that because of the ozone layer we were all going to die of skin cancer in the Global South. It was an achievement of the international community, a treaty to ensure that the production of certain gases was prohibited, and now we are living in a world with an ozone layer. It is not an issue at least on the top of the newspaper. There are areas where this works and works fast.

But as I said it is not always necessary to put things in a legal framework. There are other ways of ensuring cooperation. As a former diplomat, I think that the United Nations has a huge role to play. There are many areas of convergence: You can issue documents that still have power, like what we are expecting on the Pact of the Future. That is not going to be a legal treaty, but it will have the power of being adopted in the framework of the General Assembly with the support of the leaders of the Member States, so that is also powerful and gives more flexibility.

On the issue of the momentum—and again I do not like that conversation—we all keep on dreaming that the past was better. I have attended so many panels about how 2015 was the best year in international cooperation, and since then we are down.

It is not true. A year and a half ago we adopted a new Convention on Biological Diversity beyond national jurisdiction, a huge, complex, difficult topic, and a lot of interests overlapping from countries from different sides of the world, and we still made it.

Some people say the early 2000s were great for international criminal cooperation and the Rome Statute is the best that we have had, and since then there has been nothing else, and it is not true. Seven months ago the Ljubljana-The Hague Convention on the Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition (MLA) Initiative—how to ensure that countries could cooperate on the investigation and prosecution of crimes against humanity—was adopted.

It is not that nothing happens or that you only have this moment. It is that you need to keep on working. That is today probably what I see as the basic challenge from here until September and what examples like the UN Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty (BBNJ) case or MLA.

To ensure that we have meaningful international cooperation you need to ensure that first everyone is ready to sit around the table and speak. I would say inclusivity is not just giving a chair to someone, it is to ensure that that person also has the knowledge and capacity to attend those conversations. When we say that knowledge is capacity-building and we say the capacity to be around the table is funds for people to come to New York or wherever those conversations are happening.

Again, coming from far away—and I always feel sorry for my colleagues from Australia—coming to a meeting in Europe, coming to a meeting in New York is expensive. It is far. It is difficult. Some countries in the Global South have Ministries of Foreign Affairs that are tiny, so to ensure that they have the right expert to attend these conversations that are difficult is not easy. It is not just a question of overnight.

In the case of BBNJ it took almost 15 years to get there, but there was a lot of effort from countries from the Global North to ensure that countries from the Global South, including small island developing states (SIDS) were ready to be around the table, they were ready to defend their interests, but also to engage in these multilateral conversations. So, give everybody the resources to be at the table.

The second one, coming closer to the discussion of today and the ethics, is have empathy, understand where the other is coming from, understand what is the background of that person and that country. Don’t fall into the usual misunderstandings. Be ready to try to get a different angle to the conversation.

That is not always easy. We all have our own cultural backgrounds and our own history, and you sit at the table and you think the other person considers you an enemy. Just get rid of all those prejudices and try to be open to listen to things from a different angle.

Just to go back to what Dima was saying, triangular cooperation for me is one of the best tools to ensure that because it is easier in certain areas that are super-sensitive if the conversation comes from a South-South angle, but unfortunately not all the countries in the South have the financial capacity to ensure that conversation. I invite everyone to explore those opportunities. They are so exciting and bring good results on the ground.

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thank you, Fernando. I am grateful you brought the personal element of negotiation, the whole idea of going to a negotiating forum, the effort it takes, and the investment.

Could I ask each of you in one minute to share with us a thought you have picked up from the other two panelists and what it meant to you? Archie?

ARCHIE YOUNG: Thank you. There is so much to pick up on from what you both said. I liked what Fernando was saying just then in terms of the human connections. Since that was the last thing that was said, that is what I will pick up on.

I mentioned the Cartagena Dialogue, but I am interested in how so often in multilateral fora we are on transmit. Actually in too many of our processes people turn up, press the microphone, transmit a statement, and then leave. I am interested in how we can create the right spaces.

People sometimes are skeptical about lunches and dinners and understandably so, but actually it is often in those human moments that you have an opportunity to ask people what, like I said before, are the interests that underlie their positions but also where you can find the points of common direction and can identify: “Well, actually, these are the points in which we disagree, but we might agree on these elements. How can we work on those?”

If I link that to where we started on the Summit of the Future, we are currently at the stage whereby every country is engaging in what apparently is still a zero-draft compilation text, 242 pages, which is brilliant for transparency—you can see what every single country asked to be added into the zero draft—but it also makes for a very difficult negotiating route because lots of people are talking past each other, everybody feels as though this is a negotiation that is going to run for months. Qhy would I give up on my asks now? People are playing an endgame already.

This is the Summit of the Future. This is the future that is in our hands, and so I am interested in how we can actually use the human connections to craft something that is meaningful, that focuses on the issues that people care most about, and what kind of multilateral environment space conversations would actually enable that to happen.

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thanks, Archie. Dima?

DIMA AL-KHATIB: Thank you. Also picking up from where—

ARCHIE YOUNG: Can I just add, that was not in any way critical of the co-facilitators, who I think are doing an incredible job in very difficult circumstances, just to make that clear. Sorry, Dima.

DIMA AL-KHATIB: No problem.

Going back to the issue of dialogue and the interactions and the Pact of the Future, I know there are a lot of discussions going on, but I want to go back to a few points.

One is it is a call also to capitalize on what exists, but also as we look into the Pact of the Future it is also to think about what is provided for its implementation, the means of implementation? It is extremely important because it is one thing to come up with a document that is inclusive of everything and another thing is how do you want to make it happen and how do we want to track this implementation. It goes back to a multilateral system whereby they can play a major role in this. That is one thing that I would like to say.

The other thing is, going back to the countries of the South, let’s keep in mind that there is also an amplified voice nowadays for the countries of the South. They are now part of the G20; they are now part of BRICS. It is an amplified voice. How can this amplified voice also be the voice of trying to make it happen for the countries of the South? That is something that we need to reflect on and think about in terms of the reinforcement, support, the skill, and the negotiation that you talked about.

When we are discussing with some of the representatives of the Member States different issues come up which are of extreme relevance and importance, and we need to be mindful of that. I will leave it with one, for example, with our High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation. One of the issues that they wanted to discuss was climate justice, which also brings into play not only the issue of climate from an operational perspective but the justice end of it, then we go back to the legality of things.

So many things to do, but we must think always about the operational language: How do we make it happen?

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thank you. Fernando?

FERNANDO MARANI: I will maybe try to bring the concept of leadership to this discussion because we have a UN director and an ambassador from one Member State. I think while the conversation is going at an expert level it is very much focused on the 240 pages and trying to find out how the comma will make an impact on the world, I think it is the right moment for the leadership also to have a different type of discussion.

What we have on the table is what it is now. How do we make this Pact meaningful? This is not a pact that is going to solve the future. It was never intended to be a pact to solve the future; it was to create momentum to enhance international cooperation and to try to find solutions that are bringing countries together in areas that we have not done in the past.

Sometimes conversations with experts go away from that because you just want to ensure that your little thing or big thing is there even though already there is a lot happening in an area like climate change. I think what we need at this stage, especially in negotiations, is that leadership from the United Nations and the Member States start focusing on what we are going to achieve. Based on this landscape, based on this 240 pages, what are the ten things that we are going to make different, and it could go all the way from addressing new challenges to ensuring that whatever we agree on has a proper follow-up. I think that is the second conversation that we need to try to encourage in the next few months.

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thank you so much. I am grateful for your self-restraint in the second part as well.

Let’s throw it open for a conversation. Should we open it up first to the virtual?

ALEX WOODSON: I am Alex from Carnegie Council with a virtual question. This is from Maya Mele.

The question is: “Collaboration is a powerful tool, precisely a practice through forms of dialogue where perspectives may expand through the aid of novel outlooks provided through a diverse gathering of Member States. Thus, on the topic of including diverse stakeholders, how may youth become involved?”

RAMU DAMODARAN: Would anyone like to take that on, on youth?

ARCHIE YOUNG: I would be very happy to. I think it is an important point. This is the Summit of the Future. This is the youths’ future we are dealing with, both in terms of the actual Pact itself, but also there is a Declaration on future Generations, which goes alongside the Pact.

The classic line of representation is, “No decision without us.” I think it is important that youth are included. Doing that in a way which is meaningful and not tokenistic—I have been involved in many summits and processes, and finding a way of doing that and involving young people such that they are not just there to sit on a panel and say something and then be ignored but actually that they are feeding in is something we need to continue to work hard on.

I was involved as the lead negotiator for the Glasgow Climate Conference of the Parties. Ahead of that we had a youth climate summit in Italy with 400 representatives of young people. I was also aware of how contested that was. Actually some of the representatives there felt that this was fantastic, this was exactly what we needed, they could engage and feed in, and some still felt, no, because they were put in a position of having to speak for others that they did not feel comfortable speaking on behalf of.

We need to create the right environment where those lessons and voices are heard and where they are feeding in. We have held events as the UK mission here with civil society and with other groups in order to try to hear what the diverse range of perspectives is, but I am also sure that there is a lot more we could be doing.

It is not just youth. It is also learning from Indigenous peoples, it is learning from many underrepresented communities around the world, not out of some paternalistic view of needing to listen but actually because that is where the solutions are, that is where the hope is, and that is where the direction and momentum are that can break us out of some of our existing dichotomies and multilateral processes and actually open up new avenues.

QUESTION: Thank you to Joel and Carnegie Council. My name is George Kamanda. I am also a Carnegie Ethics Fellow, but I am from Sierra Leone, so I am part of the Global South.

I have two questions, brief ones: All of the panelists spoke about capacity-building, leveraging resources, leadership, and also triangular cooperation, which is fascinating. My question hinges on those nexuses.

The first question is, how can the Global North support capacity-building efforts in the Global South without fostering dependency and undermining local agency and autonomy?

My second question hinges on the evolution of technological innovation: How can we leverage technological innovations to foster meaningful collaboration between countries in the Global North and Global South, particularly in addressing developmental challenges, because I think for any conversation we are going to have developmental issues are going to be part and parcel of it. The Summit of the Future or the Pact of the Future, I have been to several of the sessions and all, and I can tell it is long. Every day I have been attending because I am also a diplomat and work at the United Nations. I want to gauge your insight on those two questions. Thank you.

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thank you. Dima, would you like to take that on?

DIMA AL-KHATIB: Yes. On capacity-building, allow me a few minutes. The UN system is present in almost every country of the South. The work of the UN system is to work closely at the national level but also at the regional level with the different national stakeholders depending on the issues related to their country’s respective development.

Capacity-building is very much grounded with the work of the UN system on the ground and at the regional level. We as an Office for South-South Cooperation have been providing instruments to enable the country teams on the ground to mainstream South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation within these development cooperation frameworks. That is something we rolled out toward the end of last year. It is coupled with some training and learning that will be initiated, but also in parallel keeping our ears and senses with the Member States to understand better the needs for capacity-building elements.

What was the other question? Technology. Let me also dwell a little bit on this. Last year there was a major conference held in Havana, Cuba, by the Group of 77, which is a group of the majority of countries of the South, I think more than 130 countries, and it came out with the Havana Declaration on science, technology, and innovation, and it pinpointed exactly those areas where the countries of the South would require collaboration and would want to foster technology transfer, exchanges, support to innovation, but also using digital transformation to expedite that process.

There was also a whole discussion about vetting and validation of the different innovations. This is something that we as an office are trying to push forward through pilot initiatives but also through what we are calling right now a “development solutions lab,” whereby we are trying to also promote the idea of piloting, testing, and incubating ideas that are coming from the south to be able to foster that process.

Also—and just before the session we were talking a little bit about it—we have a network of what we call the “global thinkers.” This is a network of think tanks from the South whereby we are trying to also encourage collaboration among them, encourage working with them on addressing issues of priorities including technology and innovation, but also amplifying their voices and bringing their voices forward in different fora in collaborative ways.

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thank you, Dima.

QUESTION: My name is Lee. I am from the Colin Powell School at City College of New York. First, I would like to thank you guys because listening to you gives me some optimistic view of the future.

When we observe the relationship between North and South, most of the time, as Archie mentioned, those who cause some of the issues are still the beneficiaries to some extent, and that reflects the moral theory of Jeremy Bentham of sacrificing a few for a greater number sadly.

Watching on the solution aspect of it, I am from the Congo. On the North when we see this issue, we see it as something we can capitalize, we see it as an opportunity, but for people of the Congo, when we face this issue we see it as 12 million people being killed, 6 million people being displaced, and those who are lucky like myself, a refugee, can grab a small boat and come to your majestic and beautiful countries.

My question is: In this process is there any solution in that regard? Thank you.

FERNANDO MARANI: It is hard to tackle. I get what you say about solutions. It is always important when you set any dialogue or any platform that involves countries from the North and Global South that whatever solution is designed, it is designed in a way that benefits both.

Sometimes we have a difficult conversation, “How is this beneficial for the United Kingdom or for the United States?” It is okay if it is beneficial as long as it is also beneficial for the Global South. I think the biggest mistake we can make is to think that cooperation goes in one direction and that it should go in one direction. That is a zero-sum kind of approach that benefits no one in the long term. Cooperation is a way to come together, to have difficult discussions, and to understand where the other is standing, and it should benefit us both. That is probably one of the mistakes that were made in the past in the framework of cooperation that it was perceived as the North approaching the South from a moral high attitude, that was the perception from the South, and that created this long-term type of rift between the two.

What we need to understand is that most of the challenges that we face nowadays are challenges that are across the board and attacking our populations in the North, South, East, and West.

In our center one of the issues we see that we do research on is the problem of housing. Housing is a problem in Buenos Aires, housing is a problem in the Congo, in Sierra Leone, housing is a problem everywhere, and if we do not find solutions that are long lasting and address those issues the consequences we have in our own societies and at the international level are going to be very negative.

We need to start to be open to learn from each other, wherever we are coming from.

QUESTION: Thank you so much your time and sharing your insights. I come from Columbia SIPA. I am currently working in a Capstone. We are trying to design the framework on international dialogue in the Global South on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI).

I have a multidimensional question to ask. First of all, on the ethics, in basic international conflict resolution or any interventions that we have there is a notion that countries are going to be “democratized” as a negative term, in the sense of how we impose our values to countries that are not, we have this cookie-cutter approach sometimes, not always.

I know there is a shift right now, people are becoming more tolerant and trying to work on aggression and all that, but when we talk about AI specifically, there is still this notion of colonization, how the Global North is obviously out front. There is a race, but there is no way the Global South can catch up. There is a digital divide and other issues. Would you share your perspective?

FERNANDO MARANI: I would say there are two issues related to that. One is the digital divide and the other is the lack of global governance.

The digital divide, yes, is a challenge. It is a challenge for AI, but it has been a challenge for technology all across the board. It is not new. I think there are a lot of initiatives that the United Nations and Member States are working on to try to tackle that digital divide, not only because it is good but because the consequences on advancing especially the Sustainable Develop Goals (SDGs) is huge.

Global governance is the other area. I feel like a myth buster today, but that is the other area, there is a lot of myth that people don’t want regulation, people don’t want it. I invite you to read, for example, the position paper that the private sector is submitting for negotiations on the Global Digital Compact. Microsoft and Google are all asking for regulations. They are companies, so they want regulations that benefit them, but they want regulations.

The same applies to governments. We tend to think: Oh, the United States does not want regulations, the United Kingdom, Europe, and China do not want regulations. If you read their positions, you see that they actually see the need to find a way to enhance international global governance on digital issues.

Different views? Yes, but the appetite to have that conversation and the appetite to have an agreement clearly exists. With any new technology it is hard because at the end of the day the person who is sitting there negotiating is, is it me, is it Archie? I don’t want to speak for you, but technology is not what it was when I was in school or university, so it is a challenge for us to be ready as diplomats to negotiate at the table and negotiate those issues.

As I say, the appetite and the interest are there. The time is needed. I think the Summit of the Future is giving us a great opportunity to make a step forward on that front as well.

DIMA AL-KHATIB: There is an initiative by the UN secretary-general. They have a senior advisory board putting together a governance framework for AI, and I think that is going to be very useful.

ARCHIE YOUNG: I was going to mention that. Also, as you say this is a very fertile space where people are still trying to work out actually what the right models—plural—look like. In the United Kingdom we hosted a summit on AI safety at Bletchley Park just at the end of last year, which the secretary-general attended, and many countries, a very diverse range, and that was important to us because these issues of AI safety are felt globally.

Also, just last week there was an AI resolution which was adopted at the United Nations, and there is ongoing work on the Global Digital Compact, which will be another add-on to the Summit of the Future.

These are all examples of deliberately different geometries of trying to tackle this issue. It is very easy when focusing on them to focus on the risks and how do we manage the risks. I am conscious that it can sound too glib and can sound too naïve to say it, but I also think we do need to focus on the opportunities of what digitalization and what AI can do for the SDGs.

I must confess. I have been to some conferences on that, which have been frankly pretty empty, and some which have been really, really interesting with practical examples of how these new technological advances can turbocharge specific aspects of the SDGs and can actually democratize—whether it is on health or on so many other issues. I do think there are opportunities. We just need to make sure we don’t get lost in that naivete thinking that everything is going to be perfect, and we do need some mechanisms to make sure this is managed appropriately.

RAMU DAMODARAN: Thank you for your absolute diligent timekeeping.

Archie, you mentioned the phrase, “fertile spaces.” This Council is a fertile space which leaves more questions at the end of discussion than answers.

Thank you, Joel, for getting us together. Thank you, Kevin, for organizing all this. Thank you to the wonderful team who has been pushing all this. We will be in touch on future programs. We hope to have at least two or three more this year. Thank you and Godspeed.

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is an independent and nonpartisan nonprofit. The views expressed within this panel are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the position of Carnegie Council.

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