Opening the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday, Alain Berset said that 2018 must be the year when the importance of international cooperation and multilateralism is reaffirmed.
“We face multiple challenges," said Berset, referring to the emergence of instability in many parts of the world, long-lasting armed conflicts, climate change, and global inequalities. According to him, reducing these uncertainties and ensuring the security and well-being of the population requires a strong commitment by international institutions to security, peace, and human rights.
But Berset expressed concern that the trend in different parts of the world is going in the opposite direction: towards turning inwards, a revival of nationalism, and a certain mistrust of multilateralism and free trade. He warned against brushing this off as a transition phase, based on the strong growth of the global economy.
“Those who are afraid do not collaborate but turn inwards. The trust that people ought to have in a protective state is therefore essential to ensure openness, exchange, and collaboration," he said.
According to Berset, one of the ways to tackle the causes of discomfort, resentment, and anger among parts of the population is to focus on social inclusion and provide training opportunities for all. He concluded by calling for a balance between economics and politics, as well as competitiveness and social solidarity.