With globalisation high on the agenda, Swiss NGO Crans Montana  brought together several of the world’s political and business heavyweights for the 29th edition of the Crans Montana Forum in Brussels on June 27-30 to discuss a wide range of topics that included climate change, rising inequality, and poverty.

As one of the media sponsors of the event, New Europe welcomed a range of speakers that took part in panels that discusses globalisation and mobility; the future of South-Eastern Europe at the doorstep of the European Union; economic development and Security challenges in Africa, maritime and port industry in Africa and the Silk Road countries; as well as trust and truth in the digital era.

In addition to the panels held at Belgian capital’s Hotel Le Plaza, an Extraordinary Session of the African Women’s Forum also took place on the premises of the European Parliament, while a High-Level Panel was convened to focus on international affairs in a world of sanctions and extraterritoriality

The gathering comes at a time when concerns over the effects of globalisation are increasingly in focus, the organisers of the Forum used the opportunity to articulate their vision of more humane world that utilises international cooperation and dialogue to solve the most pressing issues of the day.

“Globalisation is perverse in itself. There are no more borders, everything is free, everything is open, the market is supposedly self-controlling … but that’s not true! What we see today is that in most countries that suffer, people turn to the right! And then we have the return of right-wing movements and nationalism,” said the Forum’s Honorary Chairman & Founder, Jean-Paul Carteron.

Dioncounda Traoré, the former President of Mali, and Kiribati’s ex-President Teburoro Tito, both of whom spoke about how climate change and globalisation create wealth disparity in developing nations, as well as the economic security challenges that remain an issue on the African continent.

“Climate change and globalisation go together, hand in hand. I think it’s because of industrialization. Industrialisation means you must accumulate, you must build a big profit, as much as you can, and regardless of the environment,” said Tito.

Speaking about the the impact of social media platforms in electoral and political campaigns, Lucky Ogutu Okudo, a councilor of the governor of Siaya County in Kenya said, “Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all these platforms that are used in this digital age: it›s time for them to review their role and their responsibility on an ever-larger world scene,” while underlining that the problem comes from the difficulty people encounter when trying to access good sources of information to prevent the spread of fake news.

Preserving Europe’s role as a champion of multilateralism, Bulgaria’s minister of regional development, Lilyana Pavlova, reiterated that “Multilateralism is often questioned, and I think Europe is really the last bastion to protect it,” adding, “In a world where the concept of ‘might makes right’ has returned to be heard, many participants hope that the European Union will remain the guarantor of multilateralism in international politics.”

Turning her attention to the challenges facing South-Eastern Europe, Pavlova encouraged the European Union to address the ongoing migration issue as it is paramount to Europe’s stability and unity.

“In order to deal with the migrant crisis, we need to work collectively to support the Balkans. We should see it as an opportunity to encourage political, social, and economic stability in Europe,” said Pavlova.

While discussing the Balkan’s relationship with the EU, FYROM/Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said, “The EU’s consolidation with be complete once it embraces the countries of the Western Balkans that, of course, meet their criteria. We are all aware that the incentive that the EU gives to countries that are part of the negotiating process is essential, focuses, motivating, and encouraging,” said Zaev while adding that his country has a specific goal of joining multilateral institutions such as NATO and the EU.

Since its establishment in 1986, Switzerland-based NGO Crans Montana works with all major governments, international bodies, and Organisations that include the UN, UNESCO, UNIDO, the EU, and the Council of Europe to address major social, economic and security issues. The organisation hold regular worldwide forums in Brussels, Geneva, Rabat, Dakhla, Vienna, Barcelona, Crans-Montana, Bucharest, Baku, Zagreb, Roma, Sarajevo, Tirana, Athens, Malta, and Bahrain.