Commentary: New UN-World Economic Forum agreement gives multinationals influence over matters of global governance
Author: Harris Gleckman, Center for Governance and Sustainability, UMass-Boston, on Open Democracy, Published on: 7 August 2019
"How the United Nations is quietly being turned into a public-private partnership", 2 July 2019
...[T]he leadership of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the United Nations (UN) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to partner with each other... the new WEF-UN agreement creates a second special place for multinational corporations inside the UN... The rather detailed MOU includes forms of cross organizational engagement... [including] commitments that the Secretary-General himself will be invited to deliver a keynote address at the WEF annual Davos gatherings... The scope of each of the five fields for joint attention is narrowed down from the intergovernmentally negotiated and agreed set of goals to one with more in line with the business interests of WEF members. [For example] under financing, the MOU calls only for ‘build[ing] a shared understanding of sustainable investing’ but not for reducing banking induced instabilities and tax avoidance... All this joint work might have some practical good if it were not for three crucial elements: firstly, the agreement circumvents the intergovernmental review process; secondly, the agreement elevates multistakeholderism as the solution to the problems with the current multilateral system; and thirdly the proposed multistakeholder partnerships are not governed by any formal democratic system...What is surprising is that by accepting this marriage arrangement with the WEF, the Secretary-General of the UN is marginalizing the intergovernmental system in order to ‘save’ it.