Dialogue with China essential in tackling urgent global challenges

From 3-5 December, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Australia-China Friendship and Exchange Association, the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and Club de Madrid, the world’s largest forum of democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers, jointly organised the 2023 Imperial Springs International Forum (ISIF), in Guangzhou, China, under the theme of Multilateralism: More Exchanges, Greater Inclusiveness and Cooperation.

More than 130 guests from political, academic, business and civil society circles, from over 40 countries, including more than 30 former heads of state or government, representatives of international organizations and over 60 internationally renowned experts and scholars joined this year’s ISIF edition.

Participants discussed prospects for the global economy, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and climate action and the future of multilateralism and global governance reform, underscoring the importance of next year’s Summit of the Future.

The Forum, held in Guangzhou since 2014, has established itself as an important platform to engage in in-depth exchanges with China and from China on issues of global concern. It strives to foster deeper understanding and consensus, encouraging regional and global cooperation.

At a time when humankind is facing unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, this year’s edition released the 2023 ISIF statement (SEE BELOW), highlighting the need to transcend fragmentation through exchanges, resolve antagonism through inclusiveness, and achieve a common future through cooperation. Conclusions also focused on the importance of addressing existing challenges through multilateralism, embracing the UN Charter as the basis for international relations, and adhering to the concept of global governance based on dialogue, consultation, joint development and shared interests.

Countries need to take collective responsibility and vital measures to safeguard financial stability, promote world economic recovery and avoid bloc confrontation. The Forum welcomed a stronger role for the United Nations and urged the international community to restore its shared commitment to its fundamental values, solidarity, multilateralism and the reform of the global governance system, to promote cooperation, lasting peace, sustainable development and well-being for all of humankind. The 2024 Summit of the Future was underscored as a unique opportunity to reimagine multilateralism and shape the future of global governance with a strong voice from the Global South.

“We know what we need to do about climate change and we know how the ice could be broken between different parts of the world”

Watch our Member Gordon Brow addressing ISIF 2023: ‘More Exchanges, Greater Inclusiveness and Cooperation’