THE CONFERENCE OF PARIS: BACKGROUND
Today’s world economies are going through a period of profound change, primarily caused by revolutions in technology, energy and communications. These three major upheavals are forcing us to change long-held mindsets and processes as we simultaneously tackle the challenges of sustainable development and face a fourth industrial revolution that is redefining what it means to be competitive and productive. These fundamental changes are happening at a time when, 22 years after the WTO was founded, three main international trade routes – Trans-Pacific, Trans-Atlantic and Europe–Asia – are slowly being established in a new context of decreased international trade and a possible return to the dangerous protectionism of the previous century.
A FORUM THAT FOCUSES ON 21ST-CENTURY GLOBALIZATION
This is the background to the Conference of Paris, whose primary focus will be to foster knowledge and promote dialogue on major global issues, with a particular emphasis on Europe. As demonstrated by the outstanding success of COP21, the climate conference held there last December, Paris – through its history, culture, and strategic location – is perfectly situated at the nexus of the insights and action being brought to bear on globalization's latest challenges. Indeed the success of COP21 will set the tone for an annual general meeting whose discussions will centre first and foremost on sustainability and international solidarity. The Conference of Paris will bring representatives of governments, international organizations, the business community, trade unions and universities as well as members of civil society to the same table to identify a 21stcentury approach to globalization, thereby paving the way for a new global prosperity.
A FORUM THAT PROMOTES DISCUSSIONS AND MEETINGS
The Conference of Paris format will be similar to that of other IEFA forums in that, each day there will be: working breakfasts, plenary sessions, forums, round tables, luncheon seminars and dinners, all of which are designed to promote interaction between the speakers and participants, and between the participants themselves.