As 2020 has been a year of reckoning – the GIGA Global Transitions Conference will take stock. This year has brought a host of past problems that multiple stakeholders had tried to paper over or wish away, and a new set of problems that few had done much to prepare for. We see fragmentation across institutions and issues. But we also see an awakening to the need for reform in many areas, possibilities for consolidation and cooperation, as well as new opportunities for a fundamental re-think on some of our priors on power, order, and governance.
Governments, international organizations, civil society actors, business groups had been at least cognizant of the fact that globalisation – and the institutions that had guaranteed it – were under challenge. Signs of the growing disorder were for instance, the long-lasting deadlocks of the Doha Development Agenda and President Trump’s trade wars, the inadequacy of multilateral institutions to adapt to the changing balance of power or to the new challenges posed by economic statecraft, growing frictions in old alliances and partnerships, the insufficient measures to mitigate climate change, and increasing anger and disappointment within the global north and south over the skewed distribution of the gains of globalisation.
These problems persisted and worsened under the unprecedented life-and-death pressures that the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on almost all aspects of our political, social, and economic interactions. So this year, together with our distinguished guests from academia, business, and policy we will take stock, particularly in light of the tough lessons that 2020 has taught us thus far, and also recognize how the pandemic may be helping in bringing out the best in some of our institutions. Amidst the loss to human life and health, and economic devastation, which the pandemic has unleashed, this systemic shock may serve as a wake-up call. It provides us with an urgent opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities; rescue and revive some existing practices, rules, and institutions; build from scratch those structures and processes that are no longer fit for purpose. To do this, we need to keep an eye not only on interests but also on values.
In this spirit, the GIGA Global Transitions Conference 2020 – under the lead of Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar – will seek reflection on the current state of the world and an exchange of ideas for ways forward.
In the interest of the safety of our guests and our team, this year’s conference will be organized online.
The GIGA launched the Global Transitions Conference Series in 2015 to promote analysis and debate on key problems the world faces today from diverse academic and practitioners’ perspectives, and to propose innovative and feasible solutions. Once a year, leading thinkers from around the globe are invited to join GIGA scholars for this dynamic interaction.