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The guiding light of global policy

By Ioan Voicu - posted Friday, 3 February 2017

Solidarity has been a mobilizing concept since entering the general political vocabulary in the mid-19th Century. It conveys persuasive images and expectations of united action in pursuit of social justice.

But is solidarity today a really meaningful aspiration in our globalizing age?

The Global Risks Report 2017 issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which concluded its proceedings in Davos, Switzerland, on January 20 this year, formulated a recent answer to this question by proclaiming increased international solidarity as a priority for action. Moreover, the WEF specifically identified fostering greater solidarity and long-term thinking as the first key challenge that will require greater global attention and action.


By coincidence, on the same date, January 20, in his inaugural address US President Donald J. Trump asserted in very clear terms: “We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.”

The significant reasons for which solidarity must be given cardinal importance had been summarized at the beginning of the current century in a crystal-clear way in the Bangkok Declaration entitled Global Dialogue and Dynamic Engagement, adopted by consensus on February 19, 2000 at the end of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

In accordance with this programmatic document, solidarity and a strong sense of moral responsibility must be the guiding light of national and international policy. They are not only ethical imperatives, but also prerequisites for a prosperous, peaceful and secure world based on true partnership.

A fundamental value

Solidarity is identified in the 2000 Millennium Declaration as one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st century, wherein those who either suffer or benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most.

Strengthening international solidarity is not only an indispensable condition for combating poverty, but also a crucial task for promoting universal peace.


In conformity with a draft declaration on the matter, still under consideration in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, international solidarity is the union of interests, purposes and actions between and among peoples, individuals, states and their international organizations, to preserve the order and the very survival of international society and to achieve common goals that require international cooperation and collective action.

The adoption in 2015 by the UN Summit of the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reflected a universal resolve to seek shared progress and prosperity based on a spirit of global solidarity.

On January 24, 2017, at the United Nations high-level dialogue onBuilding Sustainable Peace for All: Synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace, it was reminded that achieving sustainable peace required a democratic, transparent order and a new type of international relations based on solidarity.

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This article was first published on Inside Asean.

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About the Author

Dr Ioan Voicu is a Visiting Professor at Assumption University in Bangkok

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