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There Is No Insurmountable Confrontation Between Davos and Porto Allegr

There Is No Insurmountable Confrontation Between Davos and Porto Allegre

Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja: Global view on foreign and security policy today (summary). Source: Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Helsinki, August 25, 2003.

A summary of an address by Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, on the 85th anniversary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, on 25 August, 2003

The role of the state as a guarantor of security and welfare for its citizens has been traditionally viewed as identical to the promotion of a national interest. This continues to be an acceptable assumption, but it is important to understand that no single state - regardless of its greatness or resources - can be, in an era of globalisation, in possession of a national interest of a type that could be successfully promoted at the expense of other national interests.

From this it follows that global governance is a key challenge for Finnish foreign policy. Globalisation stems from a countless number of decisions made in the private sector and beneath or outside public institutions. But we must be able to influence, through the UN and other international organisations, corporate and public sector decisions which direct globalisation. Our input to this effect goes via the Helsinki Process.

Ultimately, the global governance pursued by the Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy is characterised by the democratisation of international relations, by the way that globalisation and its by-products can be managed democratically. One of the key tasks of the process will be to devise and develop new solutions for international problems. We will also focus on the architecture of international finance, development funding and initiatives on human security.

The international players in globalisation include, in addition to states and multinational companies, the continually growing network of non-governmental organisations. Many of the organisations take a critical or negative stand on globalisation, but do not hesitate to adopt procedures that are characteristic of globalisation or to build networks across national borders. Out of a vast pool of organisations I could name a few that represent a type of counter pools, such as Davos and Porto Alegre, the venues for the World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum. Finns are involved in both of them.

Davos is a key debating arena for an international power élite. The Porto Alegre forum was created to counterbalance it and has become the most significant network for critics of globalisation worldwide. Davos and Porto Alegre do not, however, represent different worlds but rather the different interests of parties who want to influence governance of one and the same world.

There is no insurmountable confrontation between them, and if one wished to name a truly ambitious objective for the Helsinki Process, chaired by the Foreign Ministers of Tanzania and Finland, it would be the promotion of a dialogue engaging the different perspectives emerging from Davos and Porto Alegre.

Global governance of security policy or security policy committed to multilateralism are largely axiomatic principles for us in Finland and for our partners in the European Union. But security problems linked to globalisation, and solutions to them, do threaten to divide the international community.Despite different emphasises and definitions given to freedom of action or joint actions, all the prerequisites exist for strengthening multilateral cooperation. As a member of the European Union, Finland is involved in the dialogue between the Union and the United States on the significance of multilateralism and on the terms for promoting global security.

Another major challenge is the development and strengthening of the United Nations. UN structures - the Security Council included - require reform and the whole organisation requires stronger resourcing. A global communality of shared values should be constructed on the basis of the UN Charter, the Declaration of Human Rights and the Millennium Declaration.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).