Global governance by corporations to be enshrined at the UN Future Summit

3 December 2023 | The complete subjugation of the UN to corporate interests, which the World Economic Forum outlined with its Global Redesign Initiative in 2010 and has successfully pursued since then, is to be enshrined in the rules and regulations of the world organisation at the UN Future Summit in 2024. This is important not least because of the planned pandemic agreement, which is to give WHO excessive powers.

In his 2021 report “Our Common Agenda”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlined his ideas for reforming the way international organisations work (global governance) and set up a High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism to draw up reform proposals. These were then supposed to be discussed at the UN General Assembly in September 2023 and translated into concrete resolutions.

However, there was resistance from from the G77 group, which represents countries of the Global South. The discussion of the High-Level Advisory Borad’s proposals was therefore postponed until next year. This “multi-stakeholder future summit” is now to take place in September 2024 and decide on the main features of the UN reform.

A Seat at the Table for Corporations

Guterres wrote in his 2021 agenda:

“When the Charter of the United Nations was developed, multilateralism meant cooperation among a small number of States. Today, a broader range of State and non-State actors are participating in global affairs as part of open, participatory, peer-driven and transparent systems, geared at solving problems by drawing on the capacities and hearing the voices of all relevant actors rather than being driven by mandates or institutions alone. This is a form of multilateralism that is more networked, more inclusive and more effective in addressing twenty-first century challenges. Any effort to improve our governance of the global commons and public goods and to manage risks must navigate this complexity and seek explicitly to incorporate these new approaches where they are likely to deliver better outcomes.”

It just so happens, that what Guterres describes is exact ly the kind of situation that the World Economic Forum outlined as its goal with the Global Redesign Initiative in 2009. It focussed on the (greater) role of the private sector, i.e. large corporations, in future global governance. The meeting-report from the Global Redesign Summit by host Qatar in May 2010 stated:

“The report concludes that the time has come for governments, companies and other civil society institutions to “rise above their immediate, parochial interests and consider more seriously their long-term stake in a properly structured and resourced global cooperation system for the 21st Century. (…) The report calls for the “state-based core of the international system to be
adapted to our more complex, bottomup world in which non-governmental actors have become a more significant
force”. To this end, it urges governments and international organizations to conceive of themselves more explicitly as constituting part of “a much wider global cooperation system, (…) anchoring the preparation and implementation of their decisions more deeply in processes of interaction with interdisciplinary and multistakeholder networks of relevant
experts and actors”

The similarity of Guterres’ analysis and the direction of the reform that he favours to the demands of the World Economic Forum is no coincidence, as we shall see. But first to the recommendation of the UN High Advisory Council on the reform of multilateralism. Among other things, it recommends:

“Our global governance system has a glaring hole: the private sector. Companies of all sizes drive advancements in new technologies; energy, industrial, and agricultural companies are responsible for a huge portion of our global carbon emissions and pollution; banks and finance companies handle our global financial flows; and private companies deliver most of our goods. But our multilateral treaties largely ignore these actors, wrongly assuming that State action is sufficient to regulate this global network of private actors.  (…) A first step is to identify multilateral processes where the private sector should be directly involved. Good examples of this include the tripartite governance structure of the International Labour Organization (ILO) (involving States, employers, and employee organizations) and the current negotiations on a plastics treaty, where major polluting industries have a seat at the table.”

The aim thus is to create new regulatory structures for the global economy in which corporations have a say as equal partners on an equal footing with governments.

Guard rails from the World Economic Forum

I first reported in 2019 on the outrageously audacious but largely unknown ideas of global corporate governance that the World Economic Forum has developed as part of its Global Redesign Initiative (GRI) and has been successfully trying to implement step by step ever since. At that time, the World Economic Forum and the UN signed a joint declaration of intent on future cooperation.

The World Economic Forum is slowly taking over the UN
7 July 2019 | The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the United Nations (UN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to intensify their cooperation. The UN seems embarrassed – for good reason. It is another step in its self-disempowerment of the UN and another milestone for the club of multinationals on the way to its declared goal – world domination. Sounds exagerated? Read for yourself what the World Economic Forum is writing on the subject.

The GRI final report was called “Everybody’s Business: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World” and was 600 pages long. It is so important and telling that it was removed from the World Economic Forum website and gradually disappeared from the websites of participating organisations. The abridged version in the form of a Readers’ Guide on the website of the University of Massachusetts Boston, on which I had based my report, has also disappeared in the meantime. However, both the detailed report and the Readers’ Guide can still be found via the Wayback Machine Internet archive.

A quote from the Readers’ Guide makes the self-confidence and ambition of the companies very clear:

„In the case of the multinational corporations, their effective reach as de facto global governance institutions has long surpassed the functioning of the UN system. (…) Multinational corporations and international civil society organizations need to be recognized in their own right as full Actors in the global governance system, not just as lobbyists to nation-states or international proponents of specific positions or solutions.”

This is exactly what the UN Summit for the Future next year will be about, according to the ideas of the UN Secretary-General and his High-Level Advisory Board: corporations should be recognised as fully-fledged co-decision-makers instead of merely having to act as (powerful) lobbyists in the background.

According to the Readers’ Guide, this should look like this:

“WEF’s approach, described more fully below, is to elevate the Davos model and these practical experiments into a new explicit form of global governance. These multi-stakeholder groups, public-private partnerships, or coalitions of the willing and able, as they are variously termed in the Everyone’s Business, should take the lead in addressing unsolved global issues. There is no need to wait for the intergovernmental system to gain universal consensus to act; those countries, those multinational enterprises, and those civil society bodies that share a common approach should take it upon themselves to act. The official intergovernmental system can provide de facto recognition to a multi-stakeholder process and it can, after the fact, provide de jura legality to the outcomes of a given public-private partnership.. Und sie können ihre Türen für nichtstaatliche Akteure öffnen, insbesondere besorgte multinationale Konzerne, damit diese der UN helfen, ihre eigenen Politiken zu entwickeln und um zu helfen, UN-Programme in Entwicklungsländern auszuführen. (…) Volunteerism in governance also means preservation of the informality of public-private partnerships, a continuation of the quiet recruitment for multi-stakeholder groups and the maintenance of self-selection for coalitions of the willing and able. Key Actors can join or abstain, as and when it best suits them. Find the right combination of government offices, the most interested global corporations, and the best informed civil society experts and let them find the right solution.”

What an eloquent reformulation of “We want to meet with governments in secret and make a deal that suits us.”

The same combination of formal authorisation of corporations and impatience with the consensus requirement of the official intergovernmental system can also be found in the proposals of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board. Following proposal three, which provides for equal co-decision-making by the corporations, proposal four recommends developing alternatives to the consensus-oriented intergovernmental system of decision-making, in line with the World Economic Forum:

“A frequent obstacle to more effective multilateralism is the overreliance on decisions by consensus, which has been interpreted in many settings to mean unanimity without objection.26 While ostensibly a reflection of collective decision-making, in practice this highly inefficient and unfair approach allows a small number of States to block action that is clearly needed to address issues of global concern.”

The multi-stakeholder coalitions of the willing and able, whose decisions are subsequently given legitimacy by the UN, are one such alternative. This is apparently what the Secretary-General’s High-Level Board is aiming for when it calls on governments and international organisations to “anchor the preparation and implementation of its decisions more firmly in processes of interaction with interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder networks of relevant experts and actors”.

As a deterrent example, Harris Gelckman from the Transnational Institute, who himself used to work for the UN in a senior position, cites last year’s multi-stakeholder summit on the food system, which was organised by the UN General Secretariat. The stakeholders involved by the UN were large agricultural companies, data management companies and commodity traders.

It is obvious that the interests of these “stakeholders” are not always aligned with those of the billions of people who depend on good and affordable food. But according to the ideas of the UN Secretary-General and his Whisperers at the World Economic Forum, these kinds of collusion rounds with the corporations should in future make the real decisions, which the UN General Assembly should then only nod off.

How the corporations took over

What the UN Secretary-General has in mind, and what the World Economic Forum already called for in 2010, would be the formalisation of the de facto power over the institutions of global governance that the corporations have already gained thanks to their wealth and the poverty of the UN institutions wilfully brought about by the US government. It would go too far to retrace the entire path to this point here. Barbara Adams and Jens Martens have done so in „The UN Foundation – A foundation for the UN?“ von

The World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Initiative came at a time when corporations had already secured a great deal of influence over the activities of UN organisations who depended on their money. They wanted to continue along this path. Klaus Schwab, head of the Forum, expresses this foreword to the GRI report:

“It would be presumptuous to assume that all of these ideas will be immediately integrated into the global
decision-making process. Therefore the Global Redesign Initiative should not be seen as an end in itself but as the
beginning of a sustained process to adapt and better prepare the global system for the challenges of the 21st century.”

Visible milestones on this path were the aforementioned 2019 Memorandum of Understanding between the Forum and the UN to intensify cooperation and a “strategic partnership” concluded in 2021 to jointly achieve the UN’s social development goals. To my knowledge, neither agreement was made public by the UN or presented to the General Assembly, while the World Economic Forum proudly announced them.

The UN Future Summit and the WHO Pandemic Agreement

As widely reported on this blog (in German) – in stark contrast to the established media – the World Health Organisation (WHO) wants to adopt a global pandemic agreement in 2024 at the instigation of the USA and the EU in particular and tighten the International Health Regulations (IHR). Both would give the WHO a considerable increase in power in the event of a pandemic, which the Director-General is authorised to declare at his own discretion. Even before this, the role of the WHO vis-à-vis governments would be strengthened for the prevention of impending pandemics, which are supposedly always a threat.

If the UN Secretary-General and his High-Level Advisory Board get their way with their ideas for the reform of global governance, this will mean that the existing committees, in which government representatives and the WHO colude with representatives of  global corporations in the healthcare and IT sectors, will take on an even more important role. This is because it will then become standard practice for the World Health Assembly to nod off what is agreed there.

Just recently, the most important of these round tables, the World Health Summit, took place in Berlin. In contrast to the major media, I reported on it (in German).

At the conference, which was largely financed by the IT and pharmaceutical industries and their foundations, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach advocated censoring social and other media worldwide, while the German equivalent to Antonio Fauci, Christian Drosten, campaigned for restricting – in the event of a pandemic – the right to speak on the relevant science in public to a a vetted list of reliable scientists. Work was done on interlinking climate change and health policy, which would extend the WHO’s competences to everything to do with climate, and advocated pushing back data protection in favour of the unhindered digitalisation of the healthcare system.

These are the kinds of solutions to problems that can be expected when corporations are allowed to have a say in global governance.

The network: World Economic Forum, Gates Foundation, Charité

It is interesting to take a look at the history of the World Health Summit, which is organised annually mainly by Charité and the German government.

It seems to have first been mentioned in the World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Initiative report, which was compiled in 2009 and published in 2010. It states on page 354 that private foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust have risen to become the most important players in global health policy, on the same level as governments and international organisations. At the same time, the pharmaceutical companies are doing God’s work in the research and development of new medicines. In the interests of poorer countries in particular, it is important to better coordinate the activities of these players, according to the WEF. And in addition:

“An annual World Health Summit bringing together a broad range of key political, economic, technical and implementing players should address solutions for discrete issues in the most pragmatic way.”

Such a World Health Summit has been held in Berlin every year since 2009. In the first two years, 2009 and 2010, the World Economic Forum was co-organiser and sponsor. It later withdrew and left the field to those for whom it had primarily conceived the event: foundations such as Gates and the Wellcome Trust, both “strategic partners” of the summit, together with the largest pharmaceutical companies, the Charité hospital and the WHO and German Ministry of Health.

If anyone should be inclined to believe the unctuous words about the beneficial work of corporations and their foundations, please note that the GRI report also states:

“The private sector must be involved as a self-interested partner and not as a philanthropist.”

This is because a tenet of the World Economic Forum, which has since been adopted by the UN and repeated many times, is that “sustainability” requires the generation of profits for corporations. Otherwise, they won’t stay involved in the long term.

Incidentally, the rapporteur for the World Economic Forum’s GRI report was microbiologist Peter Piot. He had been Under-Secretary-General of the UN for many years until joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Programme as a Senior Fellow in 2009 and becoming Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, which is generously funded by the Gates Foundation, in 2010.

This protégé of the World Economic Forum and Gates was then an advisor to EU Commission President von der Leyen on Covid issues and head of the Commission’s advisory board of national science advisors. In 2022, Piot’s wife, Heidi Larson, founded the Global Listening Project, a population surveillance project funded by pharmaceutical companies and relevant foundations.

In 2018, Piot sent his deputy at the London School of Hygiene, Johanna Hanefeld, to the Charité Global Health Centre in Berlin, headed by Christian Drosten, with money from the Gates Foundation. She later became responsible at the Robert-Koch-Institute for Disease Control for the integration of Germany into international pandemic policy (my report on her in German).

The conclusion is that the pandemic treaty and the planned UN reform, which are intended to formalise the power of money that has become apparent here, are extremely dangerous for the interests of the world’s population and must be prevented. Fortunately, there is resistance to both, above all because the poorer countries are aware of the fact that the rich countries are acting as agents for the interests of their large corporations.

German version

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