The UN at 75: Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism

 

The International Political Science Association (IPSA), with the support of the Government of Québec, in partnership with Concordia University and in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and the Greater-Montreal and Quebec branches of the United Nations Association in Canada, is holding a virtual conference on the Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

The event is taking place 19-21 October 2020 to coincide with the month-long celebrations of UN75, which is to culminate in New York on UN International Day, 24 October.

The United Nations system is facing provocations and defiance from some States, and its functioning sometimes (or often) reveals a lack of efficiency. Emerging powers are rising in different regions of the world, seemingly aiming at counterbalancing the existing global order. Moreover, new issues are increasingly gaining attention in the multilateralism system, such as digital technologies, environmental challenges, a melting arctic region and geopolitical shifts, for which the global community must find answers at a multilateral level.

During the three-day conference, you will hear leading experts and academics on the following themes: Environmental Governance and Climate Change; International Development and Humanitarian Crises; Fighting Inequality and Gender-based Violence; the International Multilateral Trade System; Demographic Growth and International Migration; and the Impact of Digital Technologies on Global Governance.

 

Special Guest Speakers

H.E. Bob Rae, P.C. C.C.

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations

 

Dr. Marianne Kneuer

Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Hildesheim, Germany, and President of IPSA

 

Dr. Graham Carr

President and Vice-Chancellor, Concordia University

 

Mr. Lutz Feldt

Vice Admiral (ret.) of the German Navy, expert on Maritime Security and Defence issues and President of EuroDefense Germany, an NGO supporting the Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union

 

Dr. Rohinton P. Medhora

President, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

 

Dr. Cecilia Cannon

Academic Adviser to the United Nations for the 75th anniversary dialogues on global cooperation

 

Mr. Michel Bonsaint

Representative of the Government of Quebec in the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO

 

Distinguished Speakers

H.E. Louise Blais

Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations

 

Dr. Bertrand Badie

Professor of International Relations, SciencesPo Paris, and Program Co-Chair, IPSA World Congress of Political Science 2021

 

Dr. Maria Teresa Gutiérrez-Haces

Professor, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

 

Mr. Guy Saint-Jacques

Former Chief negotiator and Ambassador for Climate Change for the Government of Canada.

 

Dr. Elizabeth Bloodgood

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Concordia University

 

Dr. Juan Tokatlian

Full Professor, Department of Political Science and International Studies and Provost, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires

 

Ms. Rasha Jarhum

Co-founder and Director of the Peace Track Initiative and Scholar at the Human Rights Research and Education Center, University of Ottawa

 

Dr. Christopher Isike

Professor of African Politics and Development, Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa, Vice-president and Special Representative for Ethics at IPSA

 

Dr. Michèle Rioux

Professor, Department of Political Science, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and Director, Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM)

 

Dr. Cameron G. Thies

Professor, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University

 

Dr. Virginie Guiraudon

Senior Researcher, Conseil national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)

 

Mr. Henri-Paul Normandin

Director, International Relations Bureau, Ville de Montréal and former Canadian Ambassador

 

Dr. Emnet Gebre

Researcher and International Consultant on the protection of migrants, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

Dr. Mehdi Abbas

Grenoble-Alpes University, Pacte, CNRS

 

Dr. Patricia Iglecias

Professor, University of Sao Paulo

 

Dr. François Audet

Director, Montreal Institute of International Studies (IEIM) and Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)

 

Dr. Walter Arévalo-Ramirez

Principal Professor of Public International Law, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia

 

Chairs and Presidents

Dr. Kim Fontaine-Skronski

Executive Director, IPSA

 

Mr. Marcello Scarone

President, United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC) of Greater Montreal

 

Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban

Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta, Vice-president, IPSA and Chair of IPSA’s Research Committee on Migration and Citizenship

 

Dr. Norbert Eschborn

Director, Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), Canada office

 

Dr. Céline Castets-Renard

Full Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and Chair holder Accountable Artificial Intelligence in a Global Context, uOttawa

 

Mr. Kyle Matthews

Executive Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia University

 

Ms. Valériane Thool

Doctoral candidate, International Law, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Lecturer, Université de Sherbrooke

 

Dr. Stéphane Paquin

Full Professor, École nationale d’administration publique (ÉNAP), Montréal, and Director, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur les relations internationales du Canada et du Québec (CIRRICQ)

 

Dr. Brigitte Weiffen

Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics, School of Social Sciences and Global Studies, The Open University, UK

 

Mr. Pierre Guimond

Senior Fellow at École supérieure d’études internationales (ESEI), Université Laval and former Canadian Ambassador

 

Ms. Caroline Richard

President, United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC)-Québec

 

For more information please contact: events@ipsa.org



This conference is recognized by the United Nations as part of the Commemoration of the UN's 75th Anniversary events.

 

We would like to thank our partners:

 

 

and our collaborators:

Global Affairs Canada, Ministry of International Relations and Francophonie of Quebec (MRIF), Ville de Montréal, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) at Concordia University, Montreal Institute of International Studies (IEIM) at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Université de Sherbrooke, le Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche sur les relations internationales du Canada et du Québec (CIRRICQ).

 

We would like to thank our promotional partners:

 

 

The Founding of the United Nations

Representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. The delegates deliberated based on proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States in August-October 1944.

The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries (Poland signed it later). The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories.

For more information, visit the UN75 official website.

Voice your opinion by taking part in the UN75 Survey. All it takes is one minute!

Download the UN75 Report.

 

The UN Charter being signed by a delegation at a ceremony held at the Veterans’ War Memorial Building on 26 June 1945.


Registration Fees

Please note that IPSA members* will benefit from a reduced registration fee to attend the conference. IPSA student members* can register for FREE!
*Only 2020 IPSA members will receive this benefit. To become an IPSA member or renew your membership, please visit our membership page.

IPSA Member Registration Fees
Full Conference Fee $45 USD
One Day Fee $25 USD
Student Free
Non-Member Registration Fees
Full Conference Fee $60 USD
One Day Fee $35 USD
Full Conference Fee - Student $25 USD
One Day Fee - Student $15 USD

For more information please contact: events@ipsa.org

Monday, 19 October | 09:00 – 13:15 EDT (Time zones)

 

09:00-09:15

Welcoming Address

Introduction:
Dr. Kim Fontaine-Skronski, Executive Director, IPSA

Welcoming Keynote:

  • Dr. Marianne Kneuer, President, IPSA

09:15-10:45

Roundtable Discussion 1
The UN at 75: Global Governance, New Actors and Challenges to Multilateralism

Opening statement (by recorded video):
Dr. Bertrand Badie, Professor of International Relations, SciencesPo Paris, and Program Co-Chair, IPSA World Congress of Political Science 2021

Discussants:

  • H.E. Louise Blais, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York
  • Mr. Henri-Paul Normandin, Director, International Relations Bureau, Ville de Montréal and former Canadian Ambassador
  • Dr. Elizabeth Bloodgood, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Concordia University

Chair:
Mr. Marcello Scarone, President, United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC) of Greater Montreal

10:45-11:00

Break
11:00-12:15

Panel 1
Threats to Democracy Undermining the Multilateral System

Panelists:

  • Dr. Marianne Kneuer, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Hildesheim, Germany, and President of IPSA
  • Dr. Cameron G. Thies, Professor, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University
  • Dr. Juan Tokatlian, Full Professor, Department of Political Science and International Studies and Provost, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires

Chair:
Dr. Brigitte Weiffen, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics, School of Social Sciences and Global Studies, The Open University, UK

12:15-13:15

Luncheon Special Keynote
Geopolitical Shifts: Issues and Challenges for the Arctic Region

Special Guest Speaker:
Mr. Lutz Feldt, Vice Admiral (ret.) of the German Navy, expert on Maritime Security and Defence issues and President of EuroDefense Germany, an NGO supporting the Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union

Presided by:
Dr. Norbert Eschborn, Director, Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), Canada office

Tuesday, 20 October | 09:00 – 13:15 EDT (Time zones)

 

09:00-09:15

Welcoming Address

Introduction:
Dr. Elizabeth Bloodgood, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Concordia University

Welcoming Keynote:

  • Dr. Graham Carr, President and Vice-Chancellor, Concordia University

09:15-10:45

Roundtable Discussion 2
The International Multilateral Trade System: Paradigm Shift or Demise?

Discussants:

  • Dr. Michèle Rioux, Professor, Department of Political Science, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and Director, Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM)
  • Dr. Maria Teresa Gutiérrez-Haces, Professor, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
  • Dr. Mehdi Abbas, Grenoble-Alpes University, Pacte, CNRS

Chair:
Dr. Kim Fontaine-Skronski, Executive Director, IPSA, Associate Professor, Concordia University

10:45-11:00

Break

11:00-12:15

Panel 2
Environmental Governance and the Climate Challenge

Panelists:

  • Mr. Guy Saint-Jacques, Former Chief negotiator and Ambassador for Climate Change for the Government of Canada
  • Dr. Patricia Iglecias, Professor, University of Sao Paulo
  • Dr. Walter Arévalo-Ramirez, Principal Professor of Public International Law, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia

Chair:
Ms. Valériane Thool, Doctoral candidate, International Law, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Lecturer, Université de Sherbrooke

12:15-13:15

Luncheon Special Keynote
Digital Technologies and Global Governance

Special Guest Speaker:
Dr. Rohinton P. Medhora, President, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

Presided by:
Dr. Céline Castets-Renard, Full Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and Chair holder Accountable Artificial Intelligence in a Global Context, uOttawa

Wednesday, 21 October | 09:00 – 13:30 EDT (Time zones)

 

09:00-09:15

Welcoming Address*

Introduction:
Mr. Pierre Guimond, Senior Fellow at École supérieure d’études internationales (ESEI), Université Laval and former Canadian Ambassador

Welcoming Keynote:

  • Mr. Michel Bonsaint, Representative of the Government of Quebec in the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO

*Le mot d'ouverture sera prononcé en français avec traduction simultanée en anglais grâce au soutien du Gouvernement du Québec.
*The welcoming address will be delivered in French with simultaneous translation in English thanks to the support of the Quebec Government.

09:15-09:30

UN75 Special Keynote Session
The UN Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations

  • Dr. Cecilia Cannon, Academic Adviser to the United Nations for the 75th anniversary dialogues on global cooperation

09:30-11:00

Roundtable discussion 3
Migration Governance: Demographic Growth and Humanitarian Crises

Discussants:

  • Dr. Virginie Guiraudon, Senior Researcher, Conseil national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
  • Dr. Emnet Gebre, Researcher and International Consultant on the protection of migrants, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Dr. François Audet, Director, Montreal Institute of International Studies (IEIM) and Scientific Director, Canadian Observatory of Humanitarian Aid and Crises (OCCAH)

Chair:
Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta, Vice-president, IPSA and Chair of IPSA’s Research Committee on Migration and Citizenship

11:00-11:15

Break

11:15-12:15

Panel 3
Human Rights Governance: Fighting Inequality and Gender-based Violence

Panelists:

  • Dr. Christopher Isike, Professor of African Politics and Development, Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa, Vice-president and Special Representative for Ethics at IPSA
  • Ms. Rasha Jarhum, Co-founder and Director of the Peace Track Initiative and Scholar at the Human Rights Research and Education Center, University of Ottawa

Chair:
Mr. Kyle Matthews, Executive Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia University

12:15-13:15

Closing Luncheon Keynote*
What Role for Canada in Shaping a New Multilateral System?

Introduction:
Ms. Caroline Richard, President, United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC)-Québec

Special Guest Speaker:
The Hon. Bob Rae, P.C. C.C.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations

Discussant:
Dr. Stéphane Paquin, Full Professor, École nationale d’administration publique (ÉNAP), Montréal, and Director, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur les relations internationales du Canada et du Québec (CIRRICQ)

Acknowledgement:
Mr. Marcello Scarone, President, United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC)-Greater Montréal

*La conférence de clôture sera prononcée en français et en anglais avec traduction simultanée grâce au soutien de l'Association canadienne pour les Nations Unies du Grand Montréal et de Québec.

*The closing conference will be delivered in French and English with simultaneous translation thanks to the support of the Greater Montreal and Quebec branches of the United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC).

13:15-13:30

Concluding remarks

Dr. Marianne Kneuer, President, IPSA

DAY 1 – Monday, 19 October 2020

Welcoming Address- 09:00-09:15

Watch the Welcoming Address Video

The Conference started with the introduction of Dr. Kim Fontaine-Skronski, Executive Director of IPSA. Dr. Fontaine-Skronski graciously welcomed the participants and thanked the speakers, chairs and presidents, as well as the partners and collaborators.

In her Welcoming address, IPSA President Dr. Marianne Kneuer talked about the foundation of IPSA and the strong ties between IPSA and the United Nations. Dr. Kneuer also highlighted IPSA’s mission and commitment to being a global organization that has been offering a platform for academic discussion and creating bridges between scholars for over 70 years.

 

Roundtable Discussion 1 (09:15-10:45)
The UN at 75: Global Governance, New Actors and Challenges to Multilateralism

Before the start of the first roundtable discussion, a recorded video message by Dr. Bertrand Badie, Professor of International Relations at Sciences Po Paris and Program Co-Chair of the 2021 IPSA World Congress, was presented. In his speech, Dr. Badie focused on the creation of multilateralism from a historical perspective and pointed out that, at the time, multilateralism ignored the sustainable development and environmentalist issues we face today. According to him, in a globalized and decolonized world, it’s time to reconsider multilateralism.

Then, Mr. Marcello Scarone, President of the United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC) of Greater Montreal and Chair of the first Roundtable discussion, introduced the first theme of the day and the distinguished speakers that set the table for the three-day conference.

H.E. Louise Blais, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York, talked about Canada’s efforts to have a more inclusive United Nations and her country’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She detailed Canada’s efforts to break the silos between the diplomatic and financial worlds in order to develop private sector-led sustainable economic growth and investment. This was and remains an important approach to inclusive multilateralism because peace remains fragile on the ground without economic development and financial investment.

Mr. Henri-Paul Normandin, Director of the International Relations Bureau at Ville de Montréal and former Canadian Ambassador, also talked about the lack of inclusivity at the UN and criticized UN Security Council’s slow response to the various international crisis across the world. For him, the challenges to multilateralism are real and the COVID pandemic has uncovered many of the obstacles to effective multilateral cooperation. While there is no substitute for the willingness of states to act on a multilateral level, there are prospects in making multilateralism more inclusive by allowing non-state actors to actively participate and play on important role on the international scene. These non-state actors include cities, which have an important role to play. He gave several examples of why today cities are being taken much more seriously in multilateral settings, one of which being in regards to the environmental governance regime.

Finally, Dr. Elizabeth Bloodgood, Chair of the Department of Political Science at Concordia University, brought an academic perspective to multilateralism and its challenges since the Second World War by focusing on another important non-state actor on the international scene, the International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs). She used the “ant” analogy to describe the actions and influence of INGOs on global governance. Large quantities of NGOs are active at all levels, from the ground up all the way to the top, and in many cases, individually, these organizations are small and easy to miss but when they all come together, it is very difficult to miss their general impact. INGOs are very good at filling in the gaps in today’s multilateral system, contributing to the creation of a new form of multilateralism that is more inclusive, providing new opportunities for the UN but also, at times, taking some of the spotlight away from the traditional multilateralism setting of the United Nations.

 

Panel 1 - 11:00-12:15
Threats to Democracy Undermining the Multilateral System

Watch the Panel 1 Video

This session was chaired by Dr. Brigitte Weiffen, School of Social Sciences and Global Studies at The Open University, UK.

In her presentation, titled “Democratic Erosion and its Implication for International Level”, IPSA President Dr. Marianne Kneuer talked about the threats to the liberal democratic system across the world and focused on specific erosion agents from a regional and international perspective. Her research finds that these erosion agents negatively affect multilateral cooperation and influence the democratic regimes. She also talked about the cases including Russia, China and Venezuela.

The next speaker was Dr. Cameron G. Thies, Professor at the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. In his presentation, “Populism and the Possibilities for Multilateralism”, Dr. Thies pointed out that the end of the Cold War increased populism in democracies. According to him, President Trump’s agenda ripped holes in the fabric of multilateralism (e.g. the Paris Agreement, WHO, NATO) and may have caused more permanent damage to the traditional impact and influence of the United States at a multilateral level.

Finally, Dr. Juan Tokatlian, Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Studies and Provost, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, focused on the Latin American perspective in this discussion and criticized multilateralism, which failed to include other parts of the world. In his speech, Dr. Tokatlian highlighted two main discussion points: The Great-Power Competition and South-South Experience, which is a key to a new multilateralism. He calls for a nuanced approach when speaking of the crisis facing the multilateral system put in place by the Western powers after World War II, as many other forms of multilateralism are taking shape and proving to be successful.

 

Luncheon Special Keynote (12:15-13:15)
Geopolitical Shifts: Issues and Challenges for the Arctic Region

Watch the Luncheon Special Keynote Video

The last session of the day was the keynote address by Special Guest Speaker, Mr. Lutz Feldt, Vice-Admiral (ret.) of the German Navy, an expert on Maritime Security and Defence issues and President of EuroDefense Germany. This session was chaired by Dr. Norbert Eschborn, Director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), Canada office.

Vice-Admiral Feldt highlighted the main issues regarding the Arctic region including new Arctic shipping routes, mineral and energy resources, global warming, unregulated high sea fishing, pollution and the growing interests and military investments of Russia and China. Mr. Feldt also talked about the Arctic Council, which is the leading intergovernmental forum (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States) promoting cooperation in the Arctic since 1996.

DAY 2 – Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Welcoming Address (09:00-09:15)

Watch the Welcoming Address Video

The second day of the conference started with the introduction of Dr. Elizabeth Bloodgood, Chair of the Department of Political Science at Concordia University. Dr. Bloodgood talked about the strong ties between IPSA and Concordia University.

Since the establishment of the IPSA Secretariat in Montreal in 2006, the partnership between the two institutions has been growing. As a main partner of the IPSA UN75 Conference, Concordia University was also among IPSA’s main sponsors at the 2014 IPSA World Congress of Political Science in Montreal. In addition to various joint projects in the past, the IPSA-Concordia Summer School in Applied Diplomacy was created in 2020, its first edition is set to take place at Concordia University in 2021.

In his Welcoming address, Dr. Graham Carr, President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia University, highlighted the importance of collaborating with an institution like IPSA to achieve its mission in becoming a next-generation university. Dr. Carr also announced that Concordia joined the Decade of Action initiative with its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, the university will create learning opportunities and forge new partnerships and research collaborations to advance the global objectives.

 

Roundtable Discussion 2 (09:15-10:45)
The International Multilateral Trade System: Paradigm Shift or Demise?

The Roundtable discussion was chaired by Dr. Kim Fontaine-Skronski, Executive Director of IPSA. In her introduction, Dr. Fontaine-Skronski spoke about the crisis in the current multilateralism trade system embodied by the World Trade Organization, a crisis caused by a confrontation between past hegemons and rising economic powers. She mentioned that the increased participation of the emerging countries on the international institutional stage accentuates the conflicts of interests within international organizations. On the one hand, the emerging economies, who became members of the WTO after its creation, wish to modify the terms of cooperation that were decided without them. On the other, for the traditional powers, who want to save the gains registered in post-World War II binding agreements and institutions, renegotiation becomes a site of potential conflict, where balance of power and power struggles are being played out.

Then, Dr. Michèle Rioux, Professor at the Department of Political Science at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and the Director of the Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM), focused on the need to contextualize multilateralism in today’s world and on the importance to redefine the concepts of market economy, competition and hidden protectionism. She spoke of the new multilateral trade system as being one of complementarity, where the WTO can and should act as an umbrella institution. She also discussed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), protectionism, trade liberalization issues as well as the impact of COVID on global trade.

Dr. Maria Teresa Gutiérrez-Haces, Professor at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), talked about the rule of law by linking it to the multilateral trading system. Dr. Gutiérrez-Haces pointed out that connivance among institutions like the IMF, World Bank and WTO illustrates the collusion between the institutions of the old order, as well as their common reluctance to truly change the status quo. She concluded that as long as multilateral institutions insist that the rule of law be above the people, distrust of multilateralism will continue to grow.

Finally, Dr. Mehdi Abbas, from Grenoble-Alpes University, focused on multilateral trade regulations and discussed how the WTO has become dysfunctional. During thepresentation, the source of the institutional mismatch was explained by unipolar international political economy and hyper globalization, which created the WTO regime in 1995 and its “magic formula”. He also provided various solutions to fix the institutional mismatch including:

  • Framing a WTO regime in accordance with the structural institutional and regulatory heterogeneity;
  • Opening WTO to institutional experimentation;
  • Systematizing flexibilities in any new trade and investment agreement;
  • Taking into account social values for collective actions.

 

Panel 2 (11:00-12:15)
Environmental Governance and the Climate Challenge

The second panel of the conference was chaired by Ms. Valériane Thool, Doctoral candidate in International Law at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Lecturer at Université de Sherbrooke.

The first speaker, Mr. Guy Saint-Jacques, Former Chief Negotiator and Ambassador for Climate Change for the Government of Canada, drew a global picture of the environmental global regime, in which China, in his words, “land of paradox”, is playing an important part. Mr. Saint-Jacques explained that as the world’s largest emitter, China produces 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, the country also invests in renewable energy and became the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy.

Dr. Patricia Iglecias, Professor at the University of Sao Paulo and CEO of CETESB, an Environmental organization of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, discussed the environmental governance and climate change issues in her country. The organization’s main mission is to ensure the improvement of the quality of the environment to meet the expectations of society in the state of São Paulo. She also mentioned the São Paulo Environmental Agreement 2020, which aims to foster public-private partnerships to increase the sustainability targets.

Dr. Walter Arévalo-Ramirez, Principal Professor of Public International Law at the Universidad del Rosario, Colombia, was the last speaker of this panel. Dr. Arévalo-Ramirez highlighted the Indigenous rights issues in Latin America, and particularly in Colombia, and their underrepresentation at the international level including in the UN bodies. He suggested that local communities and indigenous groups should be given more rights and be part of the decision-making process at the multilateral level.

 

Luncheon Special Keynote (12:15-13:15)
Digital Technologies and Global Governance

Watch the Luncheon Special Keynote Video

The last session of the day was presided by Dr. Céline Castets-Renard, Full Professor at the University of Ottawa and Chair holder Accountable Artificial Intelligence in a Global Context, uOttawa.

In his keynote address, Dr. Rohinton P. Medhora, President of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), raised the need for an international agreement or statement for technology to define essential values, ethics and qualitative issues as well as an umbrella organization to regulate problems. He also recommended that local governments should update their taxation regulations to get revenues from multinational digital platforms to support the public’s needs.

DAY 3 – Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Welcoming Address (09:00-09:15)

The last day of the conference started with introductory remarks by Mr. Pierre Guimond, Senior Fellow and Diplomat in residence at École supérieure d’études internationales (ESEI), Université Laval and former Canadian Ambassador, who introduced the Welcoming Keynote speaker, Mr. Michel Bonsaint.

In his keynote address, Mr. Michel Bonsaint, Representative of the Government of Québec in the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO, spoke of the important role played by federated states on the international scene, focusing on Québec's multilateral relations. Mr. Bonsaint indicated that the COVID pandemic once more demonstrated the importance of effective multilateralism and that actors at all levels of government need to dialogue and unite to face major global issues. Mr. Bonsaint also detailed Québec’s engagement with the international community. Québec’s international actions are based on three principles: “Language and culture”, “Proximity” and “A move from Soft Diplomacy to Economic Diplomacy”. With 33 representative offices around the world, Québec has one of the most developed diplomatic networks as a federated state. As part of the Canadian delegation, Québec also participates in various international UN meetings.

 

UN75 Special Keynote Session (09:15-09:30)
The UN Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations

Watch the UN75 Special Keynote Session Video

In this Special Keynote Session, Dr. Cecilia Cannon, Academic Adviser to the United Nations for the 75th anniversary dialogues on global cooperation, emphasized the challenges that the UN faces in the wake of the COVID pandemic and outlined the UN’s activities as part of the 75th anniversary. Dr. Cannon warned that the UN faces an economical crisis and the situation is expected to worsen due to the pandemic.

She also talked about the UN75 Survey, launched in January 2020 and the UN75 Report that was presented in September at the UN General Assembly. The UN75 Report revealed that the immediate priority of most respondents across the world is improved access to basic services including healthcare, safe water and sanitation, and education.The next main priority is greater international solidarity and increased support to the places hardest hit by the pandemic. This includes tackling poverty, inequalities and boosting employment.

 

Roundtable Discussion 3 (09:30-11:00)
Migration Governance: Demographic Growth and Humanitarian Crises

The last Roundtable discussion of the conference was chaired by Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Professor at the University of Alberta, IPSA Vice-president and Chair of IPSA’s Research Committee on Migration and Citizenship.

After Dr. Abu-Laban’s introduction, Dr. Virginie Guiraudon, Senior Researcher at the Conseil national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) discussed the migration issue and the impact of the pandemic. Dr. Guiraudon described the mass reverse migration resulting from the pandemic and highlighted the concerning situation in the Gulf countries as migrants lose their jobs. She also reflected on the role of the UN during this global challenge. Dr. Guiraudon argued that the UN provides logistical solutions (e.g. support for refugee camps) to manage geopolitical problems that it cannot solve on its own. However, over the years, the UN has established expertise at setting agendas through the creation of committees and conventions.

Next in the line-up was Dr. Emnet Gebre, Researcher and International Consultant on the Protection of Migrants from Ethiopia, who gave a speech titled “Migrants’ Protection & Assistance in the Face of a Changing World”. Dr. Gebre drew a global picture of the state of migration around the world. She explained that migrants are more and more vulnerable during their migration journey since they face greater obstacles in accessing protection as well as hardship, trauma and loss of life. She also highlighted the lack of effective cooperation at the international level due to divergent state interests and a highly heterogeneous world (especially in the North-South context).

Dr. François Audet, Director of the Montreal Institute of International Studies (IEIM) and the Scientific Director of the Canadian Observatory of Humanitarian Aid and Crises (OCCAH) then shared his perspective on how to decolonize the humanitarian aid regime. Dr. Audet pointed out that humanitarian organizations are predominantly run by Western nationals and their HQ’s are in the northern hemisphere. To change this approach, he suggested that new scientific debates, concepts and partners are needed.

 

Panel 3 (11:00-12:15)
Human Rights Governance: Fighting Inequality and Gender-based Violence

 

The panel was chaired by Mr. Kyle Matthews, Executive Director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia University, who previously worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Southern Caucasus, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Switzerland, as well as for CARE Canada where he managed various humanitarian response initiatives and peace-building projects in Afghanistan, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Dr. Christopher Isike, Professor of African Politics and Development at the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria and Vice-president and Special Representative for Ethics at IPSA, gave a speech titled “Multilateralism, International Relations and the Fight against Racism”. Dr. Isike stated that in discussing the place of multilateralism in the fight against racism and global racial inequality, two main points need to be considered: (a) Multilateralism is an approach to international relations (IR) and (b) IR itself is built on racism. Therefore, using multilateralism as a tool for fighting racism will also require challenging the racist origins of IR and the racially unequal system of states. Dr. Isike offered three suggestions to use multilateralism as a tool to fight racism:

  • The democratization of the UN Security Council and giving voice to the representatives of all continents of the world. Moreover, one or two African languages should be adopted as official languages of the UN;
  • The inclusion of analyses of race, racism, colonialism, and paternalism in the study of the international and present-day North-South relations;
  • The contribution of the Global South: The UN can support scholars from the Global South to give practical expression to its commitment toward a more equal world by giving equal consideration to international relations theories and practices from the Global South.

Ms. Rasha Jarhum, Co-founder and Director of the Peace Track Initiative and Scholar at the Human Rights Research and Education Center at the University of Ottawa, talked about the Peace Track Initiative and its activities to promote peacebuilding in Yemen and the MENA region (the Middle East and North Africa) through amplifying the voices of women, youth, and civil society organizations. As a feminist organization working in Yemen, the Peace Track Initiative aims to protect women and promote peace in the region. The organization also helps families provide food and shelter and contributes to the peace process and negotiations locally and internationally, especially at the UN level.

 

Closing Luncheon Keynote (12:15-13:15)
What Role for Canada in Shaping a New Multilateral System?

Watch the Closing Luncheon Keynote Video

The last session of the day started with the introduction from Ms. Caroline Richard, President, United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC)-Québec.

In his address, The Hon. Bob Rae, P.C. C.C., Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, reminded of the necessity of upholding the rule of law in international relations and emphasized the importance of multilateral institutions in facing global problems including climate change and the COVID pandemic. The pandemic served as a reminder that issues with health, economic and humanitarian components demand international cooperation to protect public health.

Ambassador Rae also touched on Canada’s efforts on the international stage. The Government of Canada supports many multilateral development institutions, global initiatives and international humanitarian assistance organizations, including the Commonwealth of Nations, NATO, La Francophonie, WTO, WHO, UNAIDS, the World Food Program. As a major player and significant power on the international scene, Canada has no choice but to join in these multilateral organizations.

The keynote was followed by a Q&A session managed by Dr. Stéphane Paquin, Full Professor at École nationale d’administration publique (ÉNAP) in Montréal, and the Director of Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur les relations internationales du Canada et du Québec (CIRRICQ). Trump’s new foreign policy doctrine and the US withdrawal from international treaties and organizations were among the discussed topics. Ambassador Rae outlined that the US presence is very important and the US doesn’t have any interest in pursuing an isolationist policy.

Finally, Mr. Marcello Scarone, President of the United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC)-Greater Montréal thanked The Hon. Bob Rae and the participants.

 

Concluding remarks (13:15-13:30)

Watch the Concluding Remarks Video

The conference ended with the concluding remarks of the IPSA President Dr. Marianne Kneuer who pointed out that one of the main issue that stood out in the three days of discussions is the need to take into consideration “Values” in rethinking the multilateral system, to bring back “People” into the process of reviewing and renewing international institutions, and to redefine/or better define “Common Objectives”. Whether it be Environmental Governance, Human Rights, Trade, and even the regulation of new technologies, the human value needs to be at the top of the agenda.

Another important point that stood out is that today’s multilateralism goes beyond the inter-state or inter-nation model, and involves multi-stake-holders. New actors on the international stage, cities, corporations, civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, all have a necessary and complementary role to play in global cooperation.

After thanking the speakers, chairs, partners and collaborators as well as the organizers of the conference, Dr. Kneuer finally invited the participants to the 2021 IPSA World Congress of Political Science, which will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, next July.