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The end of the Cold War in the late 1980s and early 1990s was supposed to usher into an era of prolonged peace and shared prosperity, the end of history as we knew it, written through wars and destruction in the past. The rude awakening that followed included a succession of crises, from intensifying climate change and the world financial crisis of 2008 to the COVID-19 pandemic, food and water insecurity, wars in many parts of the world, including a war in Europe and another one in the Middle East with the potential of escalating into major, even nuclear world war.

In all this, the protagonists remain the big powers, mainly the Northern, industrialized countries, especially those of the West, but also of the East, the latter traditionally including Russia and increasingly China. Having achieved a significant degree of prosperity and stability within themselves, not least because of technological advances, domestic upheavals but also colonial exploitation of others and of the earth’s resources, the countries of the West claim to speak for “the international community” with a rhetoric of human rights, freedom and dignity that is often not followed in their economic activities and military adventures abroad. Rising on the East and based also on technological advances and industrialization, with a more authoritarian style of internal governance, Russia perennially an almost-dominant power in its various incarnations follows similar patterns to those of the West externally. China, on the other hand, has a more  conservative external presence, at least while it is still developing internally and consolidating its partnerships externally, but is clearly the other main economic elephant in the room together with the US and its G7 friends.

As history is unfolding, old superpowers find themselves under pressure by emerging superpowers and by their internal contradictions that start to show, causing turbulence and conflict.  Beyond the human competition, the Earth system shows the ultimate power that it holds, even in the Anthropocene, with the intensifying impacts of the climate crisis, new zoonotic diseases, biodiversity losses. Will history continue to be written with wars and destruction and superpower succession, or is there a more inclusive, fair and sustainable way that can replace all this? Is there an alternative to East – West confrontation that tries to suck in the whole world, calling for countries and people to take sides? How resilient, able to survive and bounce back, is humanity?

Increasingly, actors from the Global South are becoming more vocal, as they want to express themselves beyond siding with one or the other camp, want to be heard clearly by all, and want to claim their rightful place in the management of our world, and in the voice of “the international community”. This web page is meant for those rising voices and the perspectives they bring to the global stage. It is a space for expression and listening, debate and action. Based on a network of think tanks and individual experts mainly from the Global South, this forum aspires to influence upcoming decisions on the future of global governance. This includes decisions on the reform of the United Nations, so that the states, the communities and the citizens of the Global South no longer feel that they are guests at the mercy of Northern hosts in the halls of global governance, but they are equal partners, with their own valid perspectives, equal right- and obligation-holders in decision-making and action.

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