Emmanuel Macron hosts Paris Peace Forum to address global challenges

Event, which runs through Wednesday, aims to promote collective action and international co-operation

French President Emmanuel Macron poses as he signs a register during a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe as part of commemorations marking the 101st anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I, in Paris, France November 11, 2019. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
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President Emmanuel Macron launched the second Paris Peace Forum at La Grande Halle de la Villette in the French capital on Monday, inviting national leaders, high-level officials and heads of international organisations to discuss solutions to global challenges.

The event, which ends on Wednesday evening, will feature 27 heads of state, several leaders of businesses and NGOs, as well as various actors in civil society.

"We are facing a governance challenge between the global scale of the problems we face and the capacity of the international system as it is structured today to deal with them properly," said Pascal Lamy, the head of the forum and former leader of the World Trade Organisation.

The main objective of the event will be "to encourage international co-operation and collective action for a world at peace", the forum said on its website.

High-level discussions and debates held at the forum intend to advance “innovative and concrete solutions” to global challenges.

Subjects due to be discussed include the future of global trade, how to counter climate change and save the world’s oceans, preventing extremism and new technologies such as artificial intelligence.

There will also be panels on the role of sport and art in achieving conflict resolution, reflection on the falling of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, data sharing and fake news.

On Monday, there will be a "soft opening" where the forum will be closed to the press. After an official welcome by Mr Lamy, Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, will also speak.

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, is also expected to make an address on the first day of the event.

The official opening ceremony, which will be held at 9.30am local time on Tuesday morning, will feature speeches from Mr Macron, Wang Qishan, Chinese Vice President, Ursula von der Leyen, President-Elect of the European Commission and Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other notable European leaders joining Mr Macron at the event include Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes, Austrian Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.

Foreign ministers from Germany, Finland, India, the Netherlands and Russia will also attend.

Given France's close ties to the sub-Sahara, there is a strong presence of African political leaders, with officials from Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia also attending.

The UAE will be sending a delegation that includes Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of United Nations General Assembly and Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, will also be attending.

The delegates will be hosted by 19 French officials, including Mr Macron and foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

As well as over 80 debate sessions, there will be 114 global governance projects that will pitch their initiatives throughout the forum.

"We want to give priority not to discussions, to symposia but to the search for solutions, so we will show, expose, submit to debate a hundred projects," said Mr Lamy.

Ten of the projects will be chosen to receive support from a “Scale-Up Committee” – a panel of 10 experienced and influential personalities in their field of activity. The results will be assessed at the next forum in 2020.

The first forum, which was held last year, was attended by leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin.