A two-day peace forum opened Friday in Paris, aimed at offering a more hopeful note to a year marked by the war in Ukraine, skyrocketing hunger and prices, and the rising destruction from climate change. Latin America is also on the agenda.
About 4,000 people including a raft of world leaders, humanitarians and business figures are expected at this fifth edition of the Paris Peace Forum, a brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro described conflicts over fossil fuels and other natural resources as marking today’s wars — zeroing in on regional hotspots such as Venezuela. Macron and Latin American leaders were reportedly to discuss Venezuela’s crisis later Friday.
Running through Saturday, the Paris forum targets themes of peace building, conflict and the fallout of Ukraine’s war — from refugees to rising hunger— and such topics as reforming multilateral institutions.
What can this kind of gathering do in tackling what it calls today’s “multi-crises”?
“Because [of] the number of issues that have been mentioned and addressed in the forum, new coalitions have been created, new political initiatives have been launched from the forum as well - and funds have been mobilized.” said Fabienne Hara, secretary-general of the Paris Peace Forum.
Among its other achievements, she said, the forum generated a coalition to mobilize funding for COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries.
“We’re hoping that [by] gathering different kinds of actors — and we have states, international organizations, private sector, NGOs, civil society, philanthropies and so on — we mobilize political will, we mobilize funding.”
Hara said this year’s forum also targets the widening divide between richer and poorer nations over issues like climate reparations, now being discussed at the COP27 summit in Egypt.
Macron also used the summit to launch an international effort to protect children from online abuse, including pornography and cyberbullying.