2nd Global Table

Notizen vom Comer See


31.10.2014 | Michael Schaefer | Ressourcen und Sicherheit

Michael Schaefer, Vorstandsvorsitzender der BMW Stiftung, schildert seine Eindrücke und erste Ergebnisse vom 2nd Global Table am Comer See.

Der folgende Text ist auf Englisch, unserer Konferenzsprache.

Day 1:

Our group fits this place. Some 20 impressive people, representing Europe and all other regions of the globe, are discussing a new angle of our overall theme “Limited Resources – Opportunities Without Borders.” While we had used the 1st Global Table in Hangzhou, China, to elaborate the format and content of our new conference series in more general terms, our discussions on the shores of Lake Como were immediately more concrete.

At the heart of our dialogue during this first day was the question of how one of our subsequent Global Tables should be framed in order to make a real contribution to solving a complex resource issue in a specific region: Tanzania.

Earth Security Group founder and CEO Alejandro Litovsky set the stage for the two working groups by presenting the “Tanzania Case” on the basis of the Earth Security Index 2014. The two groups were then asked to form a concrete proposal for what a Global Table in Tanzania could look like. Group 1, led by Elsie Kanza, discussed a project around the topic of  “How to use the newly discovered gas resources for development in Tanzania,” while group 2, led by Frannie Léautier, worked on a scenario for “Sustainable Cities in Tanzania.”

The discussions in both groups were amazingly focused, very engaged, the results substantial. A plenary meeting compared the two optional models for a Global Table in Tanzania, taking a very strategic approach to the design of a multi-stakeholder dialogue on both issues that are believed to be essential for that country. The competition ended in a draw: We, the BMW Foundation, in close consultation with our Tanzanian participants, will have to decide which perspective to focus on. And the entire Global Table group took ownership and volunteered to continue to work on a concept for a Global Table in Tanzania with tangible relevance to the country's priorities.

The 2nd Global Table on Flickr

Days 2 and 3:

After tackling the complexities of a single issue – the effect of gas resources on politics, business and civil society in Tanzania – the group split into three smaller groups and moved on to other topics and regions, directly or indirectly related to resource scarcity.

One group engaged in an in-depth discussion of energy security. Despite the diversity of the group, participants reached agreement that the presented trend reflecting energy policies in the world, especially the question of how to get rid of existing or perceived dependencies of supply markets, may be short-sighted or even wrong in the longer perspective. On the contrary, a rule-based system of interdependencies would be the only way to establish a stable framework for energy security.

A second group dealt with a complex challenge only indirectly related to resource security: global pandemics. Again, the necessity of bringing together strategic stakeholders in the early stages of a critical situation was recognized as indispensable for early warning and early action. Furthermore, the “health-security interface” seems key and is often neglected or overseen. New alliances and cooperation frameworks for government, corporate interest, civil society and international organizations are essential.

The third group looked into the strategic challenges facing societies in Latin America as a result of deforestation, climate change, and the inefficient use of resources. New research and development partnerships seem to be necessary, as is a more active role of the corporate sector in creating a sustainable framework for the development of labor markets and living conditions in general.

All discussions impressively reflected some elements the Global Table process aims at: to better understand the interdependencies in a global, resource-based world and to resist the national trends towards short-term solutions which may reduce certain dependencies, but will lead to fragmentation and conflict in the long run. Bringing together diverse perceptions and interests will be the more complicated, but more successful method: the identification of converging interests should guide international cooperation. Trust building, it was felt, is essential but nevertheless complex as it requires building personal trust and transforming it into institutional and international trust.

Personal networks will remain indispensable even in an age of information technology. At the heart of reconciling strategic differences and conflicting interests has to be the principle of “fairness,” in essence guaranteed by a rule-based global system, be it in the field of resource security or any other key area. Good governance requires an agreed legal framework as a basis for building interdependent systems of cooperation.

Finally, the people involved in our Global Table on Lake Como were a source of inspiration. New friendships and networks were forged through the constant exchanges in and outside our sessions. In this sense, we leave this magic place enriched and fully motivated to continue our road towards the 3rd Global Table in Brazil next spring.