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Time & Temperature in Doha

Qatar to back key global conference
By Sarmad Qazi
In a joint effort to restructure the international framework of co-operation, Qatar will back a major global conference at the World Economic Forum later this year, forum’s president Claus Schwab said yesterday.
Addressing the first session on the opening of the annual Doha Forum, Schwab, as a member of the discussion-panel, announced that the initiative, also backed by Singapore and Switzerland, will be based on a few “principles”.
“Firstly, we will think globally and beyond national boundaries and secondly, we will apply a holistic approach towards restructuring of major global institutions and processes,” Schwab said.
Over 1,000 global leaders representing governments, civic society, the youth and religions are expected to attend the conference. The WEF president did not make public the date of the meeting yesterday.
“We will also find ways on how global co-operation can be active rather than reactive and call for the global co-operative system to be based on inter-generational responsibilities,” he added, during the discussion that was entitled “Strategy: Towards a Multi-polar World”.
The conference’s objectives - developing a framework based on values, developing a comprehensive crises system, developing economies and societies, enhancing global, national, and human interests, ensuring ecological sustainability and building of effective institutional processes as well as legal frameworks, were also discussed by other panel members present yesterday.
Former French prime minister Alain Juppe maintained that the “multi-polarity” has been wrongly understood as a war against superpowers when it was in fact a reality.
“The shifting of geo-political gravity (China, Russia, India) is real. This multi-polarity is founded on stable rules and equality logic and aims to peacefully end the conflicts… It is the answer,” Juppe said.
Carrying the notion forward, former British foreign minister Douglas Hurd noted that the trouble with world institutions was that they “were born after the World War II” and are more like “palace on a hill”.
“From a distance they (UN, World Bank, IMF) look pleasing but when you approach them you see that storms have damaged them over the years. Realistically, we are not going to pull them down so we must modernise and repair them,” Hurd said.
“The UN has to shift its weight to new powers, give away unnecessary bureaucracy and focus on just five to six basic principles (Millennium Development Goals).”
According to him, regional organisations will play a part in the suggested global restructuring. However, in Middle East that “might be a problem without defining the positions of Israel and Iran.”
Former US deputy defence secretary Gordon England remarked that the US understands the current shifting realities.
“No nation is big enough to solve all the problems of the world and no nation is too small to contribute. President Obama has reached out to friends and even to some non-to-friendly countries,” England said.
According to him, progress between different cultures, even though always incremental, is necessary for sustainability of societies.
In his view “vastly expanding the educational opportunities and enhancing the economic and business ties through international partnerships” was the way forward.

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