18 February 2016

Institute hosts ICM multilateralism retreats

On 4-9 February, the Graduate Institute hosted two retreats convened by the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM), a body chaired by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, which was launched in 2014 to carry out an independent review of the multilateral system anchored in the UN and focusing on 16 global challenges.

Two of these retreats were held in Geneva due to their close topical alignment with the agenda in International Geneva. The Graduate Institute was a logical partner in view of its 12 research expertise clusters, which include Global Health, Conflict, Dispute Settlement and Peacebuilding, and Development Policies and Practices.

The first retreat, “WMDs, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”, was attended by Grégoire Mallard, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology of Development at the Graduate Institute. The meeting discussed opportunities to democratise the disarmament and non-proliferation process and to make the multilateral system more effective in countering threats from weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

The second retreat, “Global Pandemics and Global Public Health”, featured a presentation from Professor Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the Graduate Institute’s Global Health Programme. Professor Kickbusch said “We must stop looking at the term global health security through a national security lens only. It is about safeguarding the health of the most vulnerable and making this a key dimension of human security and social security. The challenge is deeply political. It demands solidarity and reciprocity. Heads of state and government, foreign and finance ministers need to take the agenda forward in the Sustainable Development Goals context. We must overcome the separation in global health, development and humanitarian action and financing.”

The ICM, which is supported by the International Peace Institute (IPI) and whose Secretary-General is the former Indian ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri, will publish issues papers resulting from the retreats on their website, before producing a final report by the end of 2016.