GLOBAL CRISES WITH IMPACTS
IT’S TIME FOR URGENT MULTILATERAL ACTION (1)
(Belgrade City Hall, 23 October 2020)
VIII ECPD Global Youth Forum
YOUTH POWER FOR THE COMMON FUTURE
With the main topic
ACTING ON THE EARTH CHARTER (2)
(Belgrade City Hall, 24-25 October 2020)
(1) The European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD), established by the United Nations University for Peace, has organized its recent annual international conferences in a new thematic framework on the Future of the World between Globalization and Regionalization, with a focus at previous conferences on human security and on the UN Agenda 2030. We start a new decade with global trends that are largely negative. The year opened with a global pandemic, a catastrophic risk that had long seemed probable but unpredictable. It demonstrated that the world is teetering on the edge of an abyss of existential risks and catastrophes that threaten civilization as we know it, with potentially irreversible consequences. Youth are striking and marching in the streets, highlighting the fracture between generations as their elders pursue short-term interests while leaving the consequences to future generations. Democracy is eroded with the rise of nativist, populist and autocratic regimes defending the vested interests of the rich, powerful and corrupt. The paradigm of national sovereignty underlying the present world order prevents any effective response to problems that are now truly global. Only urgent multilateral action might save us from the severe crises that are already unfolding, or at least reduce their impact. This is the theme to be explored in this conference, from various perspectives, in the search for ways forward to build resilience in the region and to support its contributions to global transformation.
(2) This year the global pandemic has both demonstrated the essential unity of all humanity on this planet, and also highlighted the extreme inequality that still persists. Yet we must not forget the existential threats we face from the climate crisis, the collapse of global biodiversity, and other global catastrophic risks. Youth are striking and marching in the streets around the world as we protest the threats to our future and the failure of adults to act. The materialistic society and its consumer economy have been pillaging the planet and leading to the potential collapse of civilization. Many have lost hope, and it is hard to find a positive way forward. However, a crisis can also be an opportunity, not to return to business as usual, but to accelerate the transformation to a just and sustainable economy and society. The way forward has already been mapped out by the UN Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, but they are still outweighed by powerful governments and corporate interests ignoring the future if not denying that there is a problem.