Paris Peace Forum
11-13 November 2018
More than 10,000 visitors, 65 Heads of State and Government as well as 10 international organizations leaders were reunited during three days at La Grande Halle de La Villette for the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum to exchange…
Paris Peace Forum – Introductory speech by Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic
Paris – 11 November 2018
[As prepared; Editor’s text bolding]
…Of these ceremonies for the centenary of the 1918 Armistice, history will no doubt remember an image: 84 heads of state and government from once warring nations, peacefully reunited in Paris under the Arc de Triomphe. But what remains uncertain for the future is the way that image will be interpreted; will it be the vivid symbol of a lasting peace between nations or, on the contrary, a photograph showing a final moment of unity before the world descends into fresh chaos? And this depends on us alone.
The world in which we live is being weakened by crises which are destabilizing our societies: the economic, environmental and climate crises and the migration challenge.
Weakened by the resurgence of threats which could strike at any moment: terrorism, chemical and nuclear proliferation and cyber crime.
Weakened by the return of grim passions – nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, extremism – which call into question the future our peoples expect.
That’s why we wanted to organize this Paris Peace Forum, which is destined to take place every year and draw together heads of state and government, of course – and I want to thank everyone who’s here and has mobilized –, but also representatives of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, voluntary organizations, businesses, foundations, intellectuals, journalists, activists; as you said, chère Trisha, everyone who makes up the world today and can change it.
The aim of the Paris Peace Forum is to bring people together every year to promote practical action so that peace efforts make a little more progress every year. It’s also because of this that I want to welcome the presence of Nadia Murad, the 2018 joint Nobel Peace Prize winner, who in a few moments’ time will be launching a very concrete project to consolidate peace through her foundation for the Sinjar district in northern Iraq. Thank you.
So my dear friends, we’re here today because all those who fell 100 years ago, as Clemenceau said, have rights over us. And this is where our duty lies. A hundred years ago we didn’t succeed in winning the peace, because France and Germany continued to be divided. And from humiliations to crises and the rise of totalitarianism, war broke out again 20 years later. It’s why I was really keen for this Paris Peace Forum to be inaugurated by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Thank you, chère Angela.
And 100 years ago, our predecessors tried building this peace to last; they invented the League of Nations, the first form of international cooperation. But it was shattered by unilateralism in some quarters, by economic and moral crises and by nationalism. That’s why I wanted António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, to be the second speaker to open this Paris Peace Forum. Thank you, cher Antonio, for being here.
Address to the Paris Peace Forum
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
11 November 2018
[Excerpt; Editor’s text bolding]
…. Ladies and gentlemen,
As I see it, several elements today have many parallels with both the start of the twentieth century and the 1930s, giving us grounds to fear that an unpredictable chain of events could ensue.
The first element is the 2008 financial crisis.
Let us not forget, the Second World War began 10 years after the 1929 stock market crash.
It’s true that the lesson was learned in 2008.
A great depression was avoided by deploying an unprecedented arsenal of budgetary and monetary instruments to shore up demand and rescue the financial system.
However, although the global economy returned to growth, scores were settled by voters on both sides of the Atlantic in 2016, and more broadly in Europe and elsewhere.
Political revenge against macroeconomic rationale, reflecting the destabilization of the middle classes, the impact of wage stagnation in curtailing social mobility, growing inequalities and people’s indignation at the “treason of the elites”.
The second element is that, in the 1930s, democracies were swept along by a wave of totalitarianism.
We are not in the same situation, but what we are seeing today is the polarization of political life and of society itself, which is leading to a dangerous erosion of fundamental rights and freedoms, democratic principles and the rule of law.
Identity-related prejudice, terrorism and the corruption of information are putting political systems and constitutions to the test.
Previously shored up by multiple strands of community life and culture, they are now being fractured by individualism and the conflation of ethnic, religious and national passions.
Those bitter passions fuelled the nationalist backlashes and anti-Semitism of the 1930s. We must never lose sight of that fact.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A weakening of the democratic spirit of compromise and an indifference to collective rules are twin poisons for multilateralism.
Regrettably, I see several clear signs of their presence today…