Paris Finance Summit: Heads of State want to talk about the Global South

Status: 06/02/2023 04:39 AM

The “New Global Fiscal Compact Summit” kicks off in Paris. Heads of state and government discuss climate protection and debt relief for poor countries with organizations. Decisions cannot be predicted.

Environmental activists unfurled a large banner in the Trocadero square in Paris with a clear message: “Whoever pollutes the world must pay for it.” Mitzi Jonelle Tan will be there. She’s 25, lives in the Philippines – and knows what it means when the water actually gets to your neck.

In the past 20 years, we have witnessed the most extreme weather events in global comparison. I grew up with climate change — with a fear of drowning in my room. I’ve seen entire villages swept away.

Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Social Welfare Activist

Rich countries must support the global south

On the other hand, the countries of the Global South should be able to better protect themselves in the future. It is fair for rich countries to think about how to provide aid, says economist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Esther Duflo. After all, it is the economy and lifestyle in the countries of the northern hemisphere that contributes the most to climate change.

“So when we talk about remittances between countries of the Global North and the Global South,” says Duflo, “it’s not about solidarity anymore. It’s just about justice.”

debt of poor countries natural disasters expose

For two days in Paris, for example, the focus should be on restructuring the international financial system in this way. Environmental activist Mitzi Jonelle Tan has specific ideas: “If it’s a question of taxing those who cause climate change, that money should end up with local communities and initiatives,” says Tan. When it comes to debt, it should be clear that the money needed to protect against the consequences of climate change is not aid money, but compensation.

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In fact, this is one of the ideas on the table: restructuring poor countries’ debt – and suspending repayment obligations as they grapple with climate-related natural disasters. In addition, carbon dioxide tax on international shipping will be discussed.

Macron: “credibility from rich countries Repeat”

He invited French President Emmanuel Macron to attend the summit. As is often the case, Macron wants to turn the big wheel and “rethink international solidarity,” as he put it. It is also about raising money – for massive investments in countries that need it most: “for systems of health, education and food security – and restoring the credibility of rich countries,” the French president said.

According to Marcon, rich countries must make it clear to the Global South that they want a fairer world. “We want to be able to fight the consequences of climate change not only for us, but for them as well.”

Prevent breakage in relationships

This is what Emmanuel Macron said in February at the security conference in Munich when he spoke about the planned summit. For him, this also has a security policy dimension: it aims to prevent a possible and final break with the countries of the Global South. Because they are in the process of looking for other partners, says economist Esther Duflo.

Some countries are getting richer – for example India or China. They can now not only support themselves, but also lend money and finance activities in other countries themselves. This creates a kind of competitive situation: the traditional role of Europe or the United States as “big brother” is less relevant today.

environmental activists Fear: many promises, few decisions

However, concrete decisions are not expected – the Elysee Palace made this clear in advance. Rather, the summit should be a platform for international exchange.

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This is what impatient Nabucallo feared. The environmental activist came from Uganda – not expecting much from the conference. “If you look at the agenda and the guest list, everyone is smiling now and saying how good it is to have this summit. But in the end it will be a conference like everyone else’s, where everyone comes and makes promises – and in the end you don’t do anything.”

According to the Elysee Palace, ideas should also be collected at the summit – which will then be discussed in the future. For example at the UN climate conference in Dubai at the end of the year.


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