2011 Themes

After a general introduction, the opening session of the fourth edition of the WPC will focus on the viewpoints, at the highest level, of two key players in the Muslim world: Turkey and Qatar. This will be followed by ten plenary sessions and four workshops.

1. The first session will be organised around the new president of the European Central Bank. The ECB, whose statutes leave little room for interpretation, is subject to pressure from those who would like to see it deployed, at least partially, as a crisis backstop in the euro zone. Germany is resisting such a proposal, while the peoples of Europe become increasingly angry.

2. The second session will be devoted to the “Arab Spring” and its consequences in terms of world governance. Important political figures from the region will take the floor. Economic aspects, notably energy, will also be discussed, as will the comparison, often made in Europe, between the current crisis and previous historic events such as the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991.

3. One aspect of the growing interdependency characteristic of globalisation is the increased risk of truly global catastrophes. Nuclear proliferation is an example that is often mentioned, particularly in relation to North Korea and Iran. Another possibility is digital terrorism, which has perhaps been less systematically explored until now. This could be practised by states or small non-state political units. The third session will address these two topics.

4. Contrary to still widely held preconceived ideas, Africa is undergoing thriving development and has abundant resources. On the whole, however, this continent suffers from poor governance, which has significant global consequences. The fourth session will look at this issue.

5. The G8 and especially the G20 have become the two pillars of global political and economic governance. Their efficiency and legitimacy, however, remain controversial. It is therefore natural that each year this subject is taken up by the WPC. This year, it is centred on the main players under the Korean (2010), French (2011) and Mexican (2012) Presidencies.

6. The European Union is a true governance laboratory, on the scale of a continent. Perhaps it could foreshadow the very long-term evolution of global governance. Beyond the current crisis, what lessons can be learned from its experiences? In the sixth session, this issue will be discussed, from various angles, by some major players, both from inside and outside the EU.

7. Globalisation benefits active units all over the world, including terrorists and criminals, adding another dimension to the issue of governance. This will be the topic of the seventh session, based on the experience of India and of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

8. Even though states are still the principal actors of the international system, they are no longer the only ones. Global companies have responsibilities both at the level of the countries in which they operate, as well as in terms of global governance. This important issue will be explored by two prominent figures, one from the world of politics and the other from the world of business.

9. For unique historical reasons, Israel has a specific role to play on the world stage, the scope and influence of which extends far beyond the Near and Middle East. The Jewish State is therefore a world player, whose vision in terms of global governance is rarely discussed. The ninth session will examine this issue with a very important figure from the Israeli government.

10. The last session will be devoted to an overall debate led by several figures, each of whom has played an important role in recent events. They will try to draw some lessons from the conference and open up new perspectives and possibilities.

The four workshops will look at some of the fundamental, and thus recurring, elements of global governance.


Energy and environment

From a governance perspective, the link between these two issues is increasingly strong, due to climate change and the impact of events such as the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. The workshop will look at these issues from the varying perspectives of a large company, an NGO and a specialised rating agency.

Food security

This topic is connected to world population growth, climate change and hazards, changing food habits and market volatility. The debate on the role of states and international organisations in regulating – in the broadest sense – markets has given rise to strong opposition. The topic will be addressed in this workshop by prominent specialists from the private and public sectors.


Public health issues have become an integral part of the problem of global governance, due to the increased mobility of people and goods. The subject will be addressed this year by two major pharmaceutical firms and a public policy generalist.

Global governance and its current state

The aim of this workshop is to exchange overall views on governance, using the data collected by the observatory set up by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and Washington, as well as the results of the work on this subject by a prominent Singaporean intellectual and two industry leaders operating globally.