Looking out to 2030, we can be quite certain that the disruptions being experienced by the global system – to established relationships, approaches and institutions – will persist. And while there is no doubt this poses important challenges for countries like Canada, there are also opportunities, especially to innovate on global policy, including in establishing new partnerships. Successfully navigating this new normal of ambiguity and uncertainty will require Canada to be at once a convenor, connector and catalyst, and both citizens and government have roles to play.
Positioning Canada for 2030 in a World of Dynamic Change
Elissa Golberg, Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy at Global Affairs Canada
School of International Studies and the School of Public Policy
January 30th, 2019
Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University
Shaping the Future in a Fast Changing World
Looking to 2030, we can be quite certain that the current global policy context of ‘dynamic evolution’ will persist – posing challenges for established relationships, approaches and institutions, but also opportunities for innovation and new, cross-regional and multi-stakeholder, collaborations. But to seize on the latter, and build resilience to the ambiguity and uncertainty that is expected to prevail, governments and citizens will need to come together around re-defined common purposes.
Greater than the sum of international laws, norms and institutions that frame contemporary international affairs, the current ‘rules-based international order’ has entered the lexicon as a marker of the shared values that have largely united the global community since the immediate post-WWII period. Far from being static, however, this system has and must continue to evolve to remain relevant to citizens and states.
There is growing recognition of the urgency of this task. There is a need to account for the rebalancing of global power relations, the new technologies that connect and amplify voices in all regions and levels of society, and the effects of evolving societal, economic and environmental trends and hazards. Certainly, over the next decade, rapid urbanization, climate change, social inequity, networked terrorism, protracted forced displacement, irregular migration, shifting demographics will remain mainstays. Phenomena such as these are already testing our communities, governments and international institutions’ ability to mitigate and respond effectively to their impacts. Other dominant drivers such as a growing mistrust of expert and technological solutions to significant global challenges, and the effects of protectionism, populism and xenophobia have further eroded confidence in the current rules-based order.
No one country, alone, is able to respond to the totality of challenges that will come over the next decade. The onus is on us to focus today’s collective attention and actions on ensuring that the necessary trust in our collective systems does not falter further, just when joint efforts and positive citizen engagement are needed the most, to face uncertainty in an evolving global ecosystem.
To respond to the challenges ahead, Canada is determined to help defend the best of the rules-based international order and assist with updating it for the 21st century. We do this by embracing innovative global solutions, pioneering issue-based alliances, promoting gender equality and respect for diversity, acting as advocates for results-based multilateralism and the rule of law, and by revitalizing our partnerships in Canada and abroad – including on issues such as labour, the environment, gender and indigenous rights. Acting as a convener, connector and catalyst of necessary change is at the heart of Canada’s efforts to modernize the World Trade Organization and pursue an inclusive trade agenda; in our work to advance the UN reform agenda including gender-responsive peacekeeping; and in our pursuit of new ways to invest our international aid so it will leverage more funds for sustainable development, including from the private sector, and to advance women’s empowerment.
Ultimately, a broad coalition, recommitted to what we share in common, must be forged at national, regional and international levels. Focusing on what unites us – not what sets us apart – is the best path towards a future of shared prosperity, peace and stability that we all want.
Canada is determined to do its part. No one country, alone, is able to respond to the totality of challenges that will come over the next decade.
Elissa Golberg Assistant Deputy Minister for Strategic Policy
Department of Global Affairs, Canada
2018 Annual Economic Strategy and Policy Analysis Conference