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Agenda 2013


- Plenary 1 - Atlantic Societies — Growth, Change, and Adaptation

- Night-Owl #1 - What Does China Want?

- Night-Owl #2 - Drug Trafficking: A New Atlantic Nexus?

- Night-Owl # - Atlantic Youth: 410 Million Potential Entrepreneurs

- Plenary Session II - Regional Stability in Africa

- Plenary Session III - Planes, Cranes, and Lanes: Infrastructure Challenges in Atlantic Cities

- Plenary Session IV - Geographic and Technical Energy Innovations

- Plenary Session V - Shifting Trade Winds: Outlook and Atlantic Consequences

- Night-Owl #1 - Financing International Development: New Players, New Solutions, and a New Landscape

- Night-Owl #2 - Looking Beyond Conflicts — Non-Traditional Risks for National Stability

- Night-Owl #3 - Atlantic Springs?

- Plenary Session VI - Red Lines and their Consequences

- Conversation - Health Challenges in Africa and the Way Forward

- Plenary Session VII - Managing Disruptions in the Atlantic Space

Session Descriptions

Friday, October 25

Plenary 1

Atlantic Societies — Growth, Change, and Adaptation

While the North Atlantic partnership still represents the biggest economic bloc in the world, it remains stuck between a fragile U.S. recovery and an ongoing crisis in Europe. Meanwhile, the countries of the Southern Atlantic — from Africa, to South America and the Caribbean — provide new opportunities and economic potential, but many transitional difficulties remain. The economic dynamic of the Atlantic Basin is shifting, as trade and consumption patterns are developing and new energy sources are being unlocked throughout the region. Demographic challenges, aging societies in the North, and growing middle classes in the South, further contribute to the image of a region that will undergo significant transformations over the following decades. This session will focus on these challenges and explore how Atlantic societies and policymakers are adapting to these changes.

Guiding Questions:

  • What are the major economic and societal trends shaping the Wider Atlantic region? How do they impact each other?
  • How will differing growth numbers between countries in the Atlantic Basin influence future North-South relations in the Wider Atlantic?
  • Latin America’s middle class has grown to 30 percent of the population, according to the World Bank. The African Development Bank is reporting similar numbers for Africa. How are countries on these continents adapting to these changes?

Night-Owl #1

What Does China Want?

As we move toward a more multipolar world, emerging countries are starting to think about how they would like to see the global order evolve and adapt. China, because of the transformative effect its own rise has had on the structure of the global economy and the alternative model it poses to Western liberal democracy, has so far been at the forefront of that debate. In multilateral fora, it has been at the center of calls for reform to economic institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization. Through groupings such as the BRICS or the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, it works with other emerging powers to find agendas for cooperation at a global level. But it is China’s economic might that has had the most transformative effect on the way the world works. Its approach to international investment and the heavy state presence in most of its major international companies mean that Chinese trade and foreign direct investment has a higher level of political influence in the countries in which it operates than the world is accustomed to. Its influence, as a result, is redefining the way the world works.

However, the speed with which China and the rest of the global south have amassed influence has far outpaced the discourse about the structures and principles that should underpin the global order. While there is consensus among most that the world should become fairer and more representative, there is no consensus over what that looks like in concrete terms. Even within nations, including China, there is a debate about how the world could or should evolve.

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the debate within China about the future of the global order?
  • Where have China and other emerging countries agreed or disagreed?
  • What scope is there for still emerging countries to take a long term perspective on global welfare?
  • What responsibility should states have toward each other? What responsibility should states have to each other’s citizens?

Night-Owl #2

Drug Trafficking: A New Atlantic Nexus?

In the first ten years of the 21st century, drug-trafficking through Western Africa has increased at an alarming rate. For example, many have labeled Guinea-Bissau the world’s first narco-state. Africa’s geographic location makes the continent an important strategic transition point for drug traffickers. West Africa in particular has become a major hub for drug flows coming from producing countries in Latin America on their way to European and North American markets. Weak law enforcement infrastructure and porous borders, including unguarded coasts in some African states, contribute to the continent’s attractiveness to smugglers. But this is not just a challenge for the African continent. Policies aimed at tackling this growing drug crisis have to focus on reduction, interdiction, and elimination of drug supplies. In addition, policies have to consider other types of trafficking as well in order to be effective.

Guiding Questions:

  • How can the four continents of the Wider Atlantic area work together to combat drug trafficking in the Atlantic Basin?
  • What lessons are to be drawn from the experience of the counternarcotics efforts in South America in since the late 1980s?
  • How should nations cope with the rise of “narco-states?”
  • What are the “vulnerabilities” created as a result of the maritime spaces that transcend national control?
  • Are their opportunities for a comprehensive strategy against the illicit movement of drugs, people, and weapons?

Night-Owl #3

Atlantic Youth: 410 Million Potential Entrepreneurs

Across the Atlantic Basin, young and creative entrepreneurs are changing the game of economic and social development. Whether it be in crisis-hit countries in search of new drivers of growth or in rapidly developing economies, technological leaps, demographic trends, and social transformations are providing new opportunities for better jobs. Both in developed and emerging economies, dynamics of youth employment and empowerment are changing the game. In the Atlantic, half of the population aged between 15-24 years old lives in Africa, where an increasingly educated and innovative generation is seeking to change traditional patterns of economic and social development. In Europe, where record levels of youth unemployment will have deep impacts on future social structures, efforts to support entrepreneurship and innovation are multiplying.

Beyond past models of doing business, this new generation of entrepreneurs could potentially succeed where traditional instruments have yet failed; moreover, correctly supported, they could bridge public and private initiatives. At the same time, diaspora-driven development and job creation may be a game changer in connecting Atlantic ideas and initiatives.

Guiding Questions:

  • How do new social and technological innovators, by empowering and connecting communities, have the potential to create jobs and wealth?
  • How can public and private stakeholders together enable “Atlantic entrepreneurship” by supporting initiatives in education, finance, energy and environment, social development, and poverty reduction?
  • What are possible consequences of prolonged high youth unemployment in both developed and emerging countries?
  • Which instruments can be put into place for further cooperation between countries of the Atlantic to support exchanges and cooperation between Atlantic youths?
  • How does the changing role of women impact these developments?

Saturday, October 26

Plenary Session II

Regional Stability in Africa

Stability and progress in part of the Atlantic Basin, particularly in Africa, are threatened by extremist ideology, weak institutions, economic uncertainty, and insufficient rule of law. The tensions as countries in the Maghreb struggle toward democratic reform, the growing violent extremism in the Sahel, and economic challenges in the south pose questions for not just the African continent, but for nations — north and south — along the whole of the Atlantic Basin. For African and European as well as North and South American governments and international institutions, the challenge is how to support host nations efforts to establish better security and stronger institutions without usurping national authority. What are the key issues?

Guiding Questions:

  • Are there regional approaches to the solutions — or are the differences in national challenges too great?
  • What efforts in the Maghreb can provide lessons for sub-Saharan Africa (and vice versa)?
  • How will continued access to basic resources — water, food, and fuel — have an impact on the security environment? Is there a military role for the NATO alliance or EU in stabilization efforts?

Plenary Session III

Planes, Cranes, and Lanes: Infrastructure Challenges in Atlantic Cities

According to a 2013 McKinsey and Company report, in order to keep pace with projected global GDP growth, there is a worldwide need for an estimated $57 trillion dollar investment in infrastructure between now and 2030. This crisis is especially acute in cities because of the wide range of challenges and needs of North and South Atlantic cities — from fixing aging infrastructure in the era of austerity to developing basic systems that provide for growing populations. A common theme across Atlantic cities is the recognition that infrastructure is a cornerstone of a competitive economy; smart investments can enhance quality of life, improve the environment, expand mobility choices, and unlock economic opportunities. Moreover, these investments make a permanent mark on the city space and have an impact on its overall efficiency, connectivity, and resiliency.

While the need for infrastructure is clear, there is an increasing need for local leaders to consider their approach to planning, financing, and implementation. For example, the level of transparency and civic engagement in major critical infrastructure projects is an increasingly hot topic, as demonstrated by recent unrest in Brazilian and Turkish cities. In Africa, foreign direct investment is playing a major role in national level infrastructure projects, but how are local governments and stakeholders engaging in these projects? Also adopting a “build it at any cost” mentality may not consider how infrastructure investments can play a role in urban socio-economic transformation. In this context, the panel will discuss these and other challenges facing leaders and stakeholders in Atlantic cities.

Guiding Questions:

  • How can critical infrastructure improvements lay the foundation for the economic competitiveness of Atlantic cities or in some cases socio-economic transformation of urban neighborhoods?
  • Can the push for “smarter” city infrastructure systems improve economic resiliency, social justice, and sustainability?
  • Is it a political myth that infrastructure projects create jobs and opportunity for businesses? What are the real opportunities at the local level and how can leaders prepare their constituents for these opportunities?
  • Infrastructure is often talked about at a national level, but what we are seeing today is that the burden of maintaining and modernizing is increasingly being placed on cities and regions. In today’s times of austerity, how can cities leverage partnerships and/or innovative funding models to facilitate the investment in infrastructure that makes a city economically resilient?
  • How are cities balancing bold vision and leadership of urban infrastructure projects with civic engagement and transparency input?

Plenary Session IV

Geographic and Technical Energy Innovations

The global energy system is changing at a dizzying pace, and the Atlantic Basin is at the center of it all. Recent years have seen the discovery of an abundance of new energy sources in the region. Thanks to a revolution in unconventional oil and gas, the United States is close to overtaking Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil exporter — foreseen in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency — and is on the way to becoming energy independent, reversing decades of anxiety about its dependence on imported fossil fuels. Brazil and Nigeria are firmly established as producers of oil and gas of worldwide significance, with other countries from both South America and Africa quickly joining their ranks. Some countries are making dramatic changes of course, notably Nicaragua, which has set itself the target of acquiring 95 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2017. Renewable energy, indeed, is seeing its most rapid growth in developing countries, much of it in Africa, but in fact, all four continents around the Atlantic are deploying renewable energy on a scale unthinkable a few years ago. All these developments are transforming the dynamics of the energy system globally, as there is less demand for energy imports and as exported energy from the Atlantic Basin is entering global markets. With this new potential wealth come the challenges of using the resources responsibly, in particular the need to ensure that the new energy resources are developed in a way that brings prosperity to all while keeping the world on track to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Guiding Questions:

  • What will the recent developments in energy technology and new discoveries of energy resources in the Atlantic Basin mean for the region’s economic development, regional cooperation, and the global energy system?
  • What role can specific technologies like renewable energy play in changing countries’ dependence on imported energy? What other new discoveries of energy resources can we expect in the coming decades?
  • How can countries meet the energy needs of the global poor without losing sight of the need to address climate change?

Plenary Session V

Shifting Trade Winds: Outlook and Atlantic Consequences

With multilateral trade negotiations at a virtual standstill, a greater focus has fallen on regional and bilateral agreements in recent years. Some of the current bilateral and regional negotiations like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), have the potential to cover a significant part of the global economy. At the same time trade patterns are shifting as emerging economies are increasing their share of trade flows and global supply chains are playing an increasingly important role. Such developments are further affected by growing South-South flows, regional initiatives especially in Africa, and the prospect of Africa becoming the growth continent of the 21st century as recently stated by Pascal Lamy. This session will focus on these new dynamics of global trade relations and the contribution of Atlantic exchanges.

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the role for the Atlantic Basin in future global supply chains? What kind of access will new emerging markets have to the North?
  • How are Europeans and Americans dealing with new trade and investment partners in the region?
  • What do growing South-South trade flows mean for the future of the Atlantic and global trade order?
  • What impact will the negotiations for the new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have on the Wider Atlantic region?

Night-Owl #1

Financing International Development: New Players, New Solutions, and a New Landscape

Official donors have made over a decade of pledges for increased official assistance. At the same time, old-style assistance is a steadily shrinking part of what is financing most development today — local “resource mobilization” in the form or tax collection or local investors, massive foreign direct investment from the Global North and the Global South, remittances, increasing access to the global capital markets for many developing countries, and a growing global philanthropic movement have all taken on radically larger roles than 40 years ago. In fact, official foreign aid could be seen as a minority shareholder in the business of development. A large number of countries are entering middle income status or even ”graduating” from development and becoming donors themselves. Investors from the Global South including China but also from many other middle income countries have taken on new (or renewed) roles as strategic partners for countries in Africa. In the last decade in particular, new mechanisms, multi-sector approaches, and initiatives have been emerged that have supplemented and many cases supplanted “traditional” official development assistance. With the recognition of this new reality, official donors are having to rethink their roles to maintain relevance. In this new world, official development assistance has unique contributions to make as a catalyst, convener, risk taker, and funder of certain public goods such as democracy promotion or standing up the government of a failed state. At the same time, the role of host country governments remains essential to ensure rule of law and good governance, define the regulatory and policy framework to foster a dynamic and well-functioning private sector, and regulate/provide public goods.

Guiding Questions:

  • How has the role of each sector (private sector, official donor, host country government, and philanthropy) changed in the last 10 or 15 years?
  • Given the changed landscape (e.g. the competition for foreign direct investment, the role of global capital markets, the successful progressive development of dozens of countries in Latin America, Asia and even Africa) what does this mean for governments of developing countries?
  • What are their strategies to mobilize internal and external resources for development?

Night-Owl #2

Looking Beyond Conflicts — Non-Traditional Risks for National Stability

Friction that directly leads to violence and conflict is not the only phenomenon that threatens national and regional stability. Rapid urbanization can aggravate existing social and economic friction points and stress the ability of nations to provide services to its population. Educational disparities are even more important in a knowledge-based world and have far-reaching implications for societal stability. The lack of adequate public health infrastructure or the deterioration of existing structures has meant that even in developing countries, both non-communicable and communicable diseases pose threats to society. The lack of economic progress or the inability to access jobs or acquire new skills may lead to a greater sense of disillusionment or perceived disenfranchisement while macro-challenges such as migration and climate change and the associated impact on resources could lead to greater instability throughout entire regions or across continents.

Guiding Questions:

  • How will rapid urbanization change the ability of nations to govern their populations and provide adequate rule of law
  • How can education or a lack thereof impact national stability? What can be done to make this an opportunity rather than a challenge?
  • How could climate change impact demographic and economic trends in the Atlantic Basin?
  • Does the advent of technologies such as additive manufacturing (3-D printing) offer the potential for economic growth or could it shift power away from state-centered authorities?

Night-Owl #3

Atlantic Springs?

From Brazil to Turkey, political discontent has erupted onto the streets. This is not just a phenomenon of the Arab world and the global south, as the “Occupy” movements on both sides of the Atlantic and European protests against austerity demonstrate. Some observers have likened these events to the revolutions of 1848 — or the upheavals of 1968. Others prefer to see the recent political and social turmoil as the product of specific national grievances in a globalized setting. In some cases, protests confront well established democracies over questions of policy. In other cases, the aim of the opposition has been outright revolution and regime change. Public opinion around the Atlantic Basin and beyond is increasingly focused on perceived disparities in wealth and political participation. Few in Atlantic societies, north and south, would disagree that governments of various stripes now confront pressing challenges to governance, and business as usual. What next for these Atlantic and near-Atlantic Springs?

Guiding Questions:

  • To what extent is this widespread unrest a global, connected phenomenon?
  • What are the economic, social and political drivers of protest, north and south?
  • What are the prospects for sweeping political change in other Atlantic settings, such as Venezuela? How consequential would these changes be for Atlantic geopolitics?
  • Is an international strategy toward revolutionary changes possible? Is it advisable? What are the policy implications?
  • What are the lessons for developed and less developed societies in a time of heightened economic and political stress?

Sunday, October 26

Plenary Session VI

Red Lines and their Consequences

Since the end of the Cold War, major security challenges often do not involve the clear use of force by one state against another sovereign power. Frequently, conflicts are characterized by intra-state violence including multi-party civil wars (Bosnia, Syria) and state collapse (Somalia). These types of threats can, if left unchecked, lead to greater destabilization across entire regions. Additionally, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction among actors who have shown a propensity to promote such violence or support terrorist organizations poses a unique problem for the rest of the world. The current crisis in Syria has resulted — perhaps famously or infamously — in the challenge to an international “red line” on the use of chemical weapons. The Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons could cross a similar red line. The question that remains for the world is: do we just standby until tanks cross borders, or are there humanitarian and military circumstances under which intervention is justified?

Guiding Questions:

  • What are the 21st century red-lines? When should pre-emptive or preventive military force be used?
  • Under what circumstances should nations intervene to prevent genocide or the use of weapons of mass destruction without a UN Security Council resolution?
  • The 1990s saw successful interventions to promote regional stability in Southeastern Europe by NATO, both with and without UNSC resolutions. Should NATO seek to reassert its ability to act in such circumstances?
  • Is the responsibility to protect simply a “right” of intervention or an “obligation” to intervene?


Health Challenges in Africa and the Way Forward

Africa confronts the world’s most dramatic public health crises. HIV/AIDS continues to devastate the continent, which is home to 11 percent of the world’s population but 60 percent of the people with HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, Africans make up the more than 90 percent of the estimated 300-500 million malaria cases that occur worldwide every year. The rate of maternal and newborn mortality in the region also remains very high. Of the 20 countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios worldwide, 19 are in Africa; and the region has the highest neonatal death rate in the world. Basic sanitation needs also remain unmet for many: only 58 percent of people living in sub-Saharan Africa have access to safe water supplies. Besides the personal dimension, societal and economic impacts of these crises are significant and often self-reinforcing.

But there are hopeful signs as well. Although HIV/AIDS remains the leading cause of death for adults, more and more people are receiving life-saving treatment. Most countries are making good progress on preventable childhood illness. Polio is close to eradication, and 37 countries are reaching 60 percent or more of their children with measles immunization.

This panel will explore these crises from the perspective of the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS on Africa, the key role of UNAIDS, the importance of addressing stigma and discrimination as barriers to health access, and potential obstacles to controlling HIV/AIDS. It will discuss public private partnerships in Africa to public health and highlight successful cases like Namibia and its strong response to HIV/AIDS and the increase host country investment.

Guiding Questions:

  • What limitations still remain in tackling cross-border issues like HIV/AIDS and polio?
  • Non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes are on the rise; and injuries remain among the top causes of death in the region. What are the causes for these developments? What are potential solutions?
  • What the societal and economic impacts of the health crisis in Africa?

Plenary Session VII

Managing Disruptions in the Atlantic Space

During the past decade, the world has seen a flurry of technological change and innovation that has transformed the way in which we conduct our daily lives and how we interact with one another. Ten years ago, the world was far less connected than it is today, and it will be even more connected in another ten years. Some argue, though, that the greater interconnectedness and access to information we all have — and the corresponding ability to disseminate information — has increased our vulnerabilities to the consequences of human-made and natural disruptions, thus potentially blinding us and catching us off-guard to factors that are swirling beneath our feet and just out of reach of the technological scope. Developments such as global health pandemics, political revolutions in the Middle East, cyber-attacks against sovereign governments, economic meltdowns, government shutdowns, and increasingly destructive natural disasters are some examples of “disruptions” that have occurred during the past ten years and may just be the tip of the iceberg of what the future holds.

Guiding Questions:

  • How has the Atlantic Community managed the disruptions and downturns of the past 5-10 years, especially as it relates to the global financial crisis? What’s been done, what’s been achieved, what’s failed, what still needs to be done? Who has won, lost, risen, fallen?
  • Have our institutions and governments helped or hurt the recovery and are they prepared for the next disruption?