In direct contrast to the inaugural speech given by President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, where the issue of sovereignty was front and center, for the world leaders who gathered at the concurrent Bloomberg Global Business Forum, multilateralism was the message.
Offering an alternative vision to the isolationist policies put forward by President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former US President Bill Clinton were among the high-profile speakers who called for the need for collaboration to solve the world’s problems, such as climate change and extreme poverty.
During his UN address, President Trump spoke of the “great peril” facing the world, the unfair burden being carried by the US and the importance of each nation putting its own citizens first in solving world problems. In contrast, French President Macron spoke about the “very specific challenges” facing the world and the need for “strong commitments from different nations and the private sector” to deal with them.
The issues surrounding trade and economic growth were also tackled, with speakers including Prime Minister Trudeau acknowledging that while some nations and certain peoples have prospered, those benefits have not extended to everyone. “We need to pursue progressive growth and a progressive trade agenda,” he said. And this was a sentiment echoed by former US President Clinton, who urged the corporate leaders and business leaders in attendance to keep in mind that globalism has to uplift the middle and lower classes if it is going to remain viable, referring to the “separatist tribalism” in evidence around the world.
The Bloomberg Global Business Forum succeeds the Clinton Global Initiative, which for more than a decade was the most high-profile event to be held during the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York. “You're all here because you know intuitively that multiplication is a superior strategy to division and addition is a superior strategy to subtraction in politics, economics, and social inclusion,“ Clinton told the invited audience. “I want you to find ways to say that and act on it every single day.”