3 days to discuss global governance : SOS GROUP at the 2021 Paris Peace Forum

The Paris Peace Forum is an international event that occurs every year to discuss the challenges of world governance and multilateralism. For the fourth consecutive year, the Paris Peace Forum brought together the most important players in global governance. Heads of state and government and CEOs of major multinationals, as well as several civil society actors, gathered for a unique hybrid edition from November 11 to 13 to advance concrete solutions to the enormous challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to improve global governance in times of Covid-19.

Frederic Bailly the Executive Board Member of SOS GROUP in charge of International Affairs attended the Paris Peace Forum this year. While he participated in this event as a moderator of the conference “Pact for Impact: Mobilizing forces for the social and solidarity economy”, we also attended some of the conferences to follow the debates on today’s global issues. Here is some feedback on the three main issues to which SOS GROUP is already committed: 

  • A more inclusive economy thanks to social and solidarity economy 
  • A support to small scale producers to grant food security 
  • Gender justice through the empowerment of women in decision-making processes 


Pact for Impact: Mobilizing forces for the social and solidarity economy  

Companies around the world are inventing new models to better balance their economic performance with their social and environmental impact. The main issue now is to connect them and create a global network for the social and solidarity economy

The panel of this discussion was composed of key actors of the social and solidarity economy such as Elise Pierrette Memong Meno, National Coordinator of the National Network for the Social and Solidarity Economy in Cameroon (RESSCAM). Jeroo Billimoria -co-founder of Catalyst 2030 that we had already heard at OECD Global Action’s first international conference– was also a speaker during this event. She introduced her organization which is a “global movement of social entrepreneurs and social innovators from all sectors” and recalled that she roots for a creating, innovative and people-centric approach to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.  

According to Frédéric Bailly, the Paris Peace Forum was an opportunity to “discuss how global alliances like Pact for Impact foster the conditions for a fairer and more sustainable society and how cooperation at a global scale between public and private sectors as well as with the civil society is essential to reform the way we do business”. 


Food for thought: transforming the food system for a better world  

To continue on the theme of the necessary inclusion of small businesses and entrepreneurs, our next point focuses on the need to reform the food system into a more sustainable and inclusive one 

Gilbert Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) highlighted that a majority of the key challenges that our food system is facing lies in the small-scale producers. Also, 80% of the global poorer population lives in rural area, and 60% of the workforce in rural areas are women. We need to target these challenges with a multidisciplinary approach including food, health, environmental, water and gender, economic perspectives. 

The main need for small scale producers is to adapt the global economy to their small-scale and sustainable way of doing business. Only 2% of the global finance goes to adaptation to climate change and we need to correct this. This is a challenge that one of SOS GROUP’s NGO, People Power Inclusion (PPI) is tackling with its AGreenLab project in Senegal and in Burkina Faso. It aims at supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses in the agro-industry and renewable energies sector thanks to an incubation and acceleration program.  

Just as Assia Ben Salah, itinerant ambassador of Morocco, said “we do know that the real answer to climate change, to sustainable development, comes from local work and has to connect with a larger picture”. 


In charge: Empowering women in public decision-making processes 

The health crisis we are experiencing is an unfortunate way to question our ways of functioning and the gender injustices that litter our societies. This global questioning has triggered an awareness on mechanisms that exclude women in particular, such as the decision-making processes.

« As of 1 September 2021, there are 26 women serving as Heads of State and/or Government in 24 countries[1]. At the current rate, gender equality in the highest positions of power will not be reached for another 130 years [2]. « 


Moreover, in 2021 women heads of state were highlighted for having had nations less impacted by Covid-19, such as how Jacinda Ardern managed the crisis in New-Zealand. But the number of women in power represents only a tiny fraction of individual women who have overcome these obstacles with flying colours. This crisis is therefore seen as an opportunity to rebuild a fairer world in its wake.

Furthermore, the playing field needs to be levelled upwards to open up opportunities to all women. As well as this inequality is unacceptable from an ethical point of view, women’s participation has positive effects on their environment from a practical point of view at both local and global level. Diversity in decision-making bodies allows a representation of wider issues. Indeed, giving women a voice and helping them to have a voice does not mean letting them deal with women’s issues only, but with social and economic issues.  

« It’s not only about women talking about women issues but also economics and social issues to be actors of change in their communities.” said Fatme MASRI, Project Director of the organization Arab Reform Initiative, which sums up our position to promote equality in decision-making bodies in order to support a much more comprehensive change towards a more just and equitable vision of society for all. 

The 2021 edition of the Paris Peace Forum reasserts once again the urgent need to cooperate in tackling global issues in order to create a fairer and safer world for future generations. 

“We all face the imperative task of achieving the SDGs if we are to ensure that our children and their children after them live in a better world” – Frédéric Bailly 


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