The Slovenia Times

Bled Strategic Forum opens with call for strong multilateral cooperation

Bled Strategic ForumPolitics
Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon addresses the opening of the 2023 Bled Strategic Forum. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon made the case for global solidarity and strong multilateralism as she addressed the Bled Strategic Forum on 28 August, arguing that cooperation and solidarity are crucial for the future.

"No global challenge can be properly addressed without global action, and no global action can be prepared and carried out without solidarity and compromise," she said in her opening address.

According to her, joint action is needed to tackle issues such as the war in Ukraine and other armed conflicts around the world, global food and energy supply disruptions, poverty and the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Rather than making us fall into defeatism about the problems looming on the horizon, we must act now. If we do not start solving problems urgently, our generation and generations to come will collectively pay a huge price," she said.

She said that both as foreign minister and a social democrat she was fully committed to "enlightened solidarity," based on the understanding that solidarity is an investment for the common benefit.

"I envision a just global system where poverty is eradicated, income balance and gender balance are the norm, the world successfully combats climate change and implements transition to green energy sources, and we promote human rights."

Equally important are the rule of law, media freedom, and honouring international commitments and principles, such as the respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.

According to Fajon, the biggest potential obstacle to global solidarity and security is populism, a political method that includes distorting and faking facts and deliberately creates tensions within societies and internationally.

"The least we can do to ensure stability and solidarity is to forge a strong international coalition supporting international organisations and institutions. It is equally important to regulate the fight against disinformation and fake news... We must also properly regulate artificial intelligence," she said.

Without addressing those phenomena, solidarity-based actions and the entire concept of solidarity are seriously hampered.

"In its essence, international solidarity is as strong as multilateralism - and vice versa. In fact, the strengthening of international solidarity and security also, if not mostly, depends on an effective multilateral system."

For Slovenia, there are two main priorities in this context, to stop the war in Ukraine and to use the momentum and enlarge the EU to the Western Balkans.

Fajon also called for "well-managed reform of international institutions." She mentioned Africa not having a permanent seat on the UN Security Council as an issue, noting that Africa's absence, "seems illogical, and this should be amended".

It is also necessary to rebalance the international financial system to enable the developing countries to finance development reforms with sustainable costs.

Despite the evident deficiencies of the existing multilateral system and existing tensions in the international community, Fajon remains optimistic saying there is simply no alternative to multilateral global cooperation.


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