Countries can’t solve climate change or end world poverty by themselves, leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier today.
Macron and Trudeau joined former US President Bill Clinton and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg at Bloomberg’s inaugural Global Business Forum in New York, a high-profile event for leaders in town for the United Nations General Assembly this week.
The leaders offered an alternative vision to the isolationist policies of leaders like President Donald Trump, who on Tuesday spoke at the UN of the “great peril” facing the world, the unfair burden being carried by the US, and importance of each nation putting its own citizens first in solving world problems.
He said the word “sovereignty” 20 times in 40 minutes.
The conversation at Bloomberg’s forum focused on globalism, rather than isolationism, and how to make it work better for all of the world’s people.
Whereas Trump omitted the word “climate change” from his speech at the UN, Macron said the world must consider how to solve problems like climate change and extreme poverty collaboratively.
“We are in a very specific moment,” Macron said. “We have very specific challenges, including climate change, and we do need multilateralism. We need strong commitments from different nations and the private sector as well. This multilateralism is not just in the government’s hands, it’s how we deal with the common good altogether.”
“Today, when you look at private sector, especially from the US and Europe, we’re sending to Africa what we don’t want to develop in our own country. That’s unacceptable. Let’s try to promote these new initiatives, green initiatives, renewable sectors, cross-fertilized sectors between renewables and digital. That’s the best way to address both climate change and development in Africa and concrete job opportunities,” he said.
Bloomberg said France was “lucky to have” Macron in leadership and said the world had “a great deal riding on his success” in reforming France’s labor system.
Trudeau also appeared at the forum to tout what he called a “progressive” pro-growth strategy in the world, so that trade agreements lift up all people, rather than merely enriching the already-powerful.
“Trade leads to growth, that’s the story of our world over centuries, and that’s a good thing,” Trudeau said, noting that when he got elected, he promised to pursue growth policies so that “everyone would benefit.”
“We have had growth, but that growth hasn’t reached everyone. That’s why anxiety around globalization and people’s futures and their kid’s futures growth are persistent and lead to backlashes, so we need to pursue progressive growth and a progressive trade agenda,” he said.
The pair appeared along with former US President Bill Clinton, the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands and Denmark, presidents from African nations, and leaders from the business sector at the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Business Forum in New York today.
The event is a successor to the Clinton Global Initiative, which for more than a decade was the most high profile event to be held during the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, but ended last year as Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign.
Bill Clinton was the first speaker on stage at the Bloomberg event as a “hand-off” or baton-passing, one organizer told The New York Times. Clinton urged both the corporate leaders in the room and the business leaders to keep in mind that globalism — while it obviously benefits the world’s most powerful — has to also lift up the middle and lower class if it’s going to remain viable.
“We know we live in an interconnected world and we know it’s been good to us,” Clinton said to the business leaders in the room. “We’re also aware that people feel left behind and alienated, politically and socially and economically.”
Clinton said that the “separatist tribalism” in evidence around the world was really about one thing, and urged the leaders in the room to do something to solve it each and every day.
“All of this everywhere is about whether we should share power or grab it, and whether social inclusion is better than domination,” Clinton said. “You're all here becausE you know intuitively that multiplication is a superior strategy to division and addition is a superior strategy to subtraction in politics, economics, and social inclusion. I want you to find ways to say that and act on it every single day.”