Towards a new world economic order? How can we contribute to it?

I cannot begin this December "Flash Info" without a word to reiterate the FERDI's tribute to Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who passed away on December 2d and who has been its Honorary President from the outset. I would simply like to refer to our editorial on the FERDI website, which reminds us of what the Foundation owes him.

 As this year in which the world economy has been turned upside down comes to an end, a renewed international thinking seems to be maturing to develop a new world economic order, fairer and more sustainable. FERDI has to contribute to this thinking, which is at the heart of its mandate, according to the means it is given. The work it has carried out in recent weeks reflects this ambition.

FERDI has long had a programme on the least developed countries (LDCs). The Fifth United Nations Conference on LDCs (LDC V), which takes place every ten years, the first having taken place in Paris in 1981, was scheduled to take place in 2021 but will be held in early 2022 in Doha. 2021 was to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the creation of the "LDC category". With this in mind, a first seminar was organised on 21 and 23 October by FERDI in collaboration with the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Office for the Least Developed Countries (as well as Small Island and Landlocked Developing States) known as the OHRLLS. The theme of the seminar, which was attended by a large number of high personalities, was "Recovery from COVID-19: Tackling vulnerabilities and leveraging scarce resources". This theme should be explored deeply during 2021 with the same partners in another seminar aimed at formulating proposals on vulnerability and financing for LDCs. The 50th anniversary of the category should also be an opportunity for FERDI to continue in an international framework the reflection it has been undertaking for many years on the rationale and impact of this category created half a century ago.

This reflection is part of a more general theme relating to the international economic order, that of the differentiation of international treatment (in trade and finance) of developing countries. Should differentiation be based on categories, as in the case of LDCs, or on continuous criteria, such as per capita income or the vulnerability of the countries concerned? Vulnerability is one of the three criteria used for the identification of LDCs and it also affects other countries. However, there is currently no consensus on the measure of vulnerability that should be taken into account.

This is why the FERDI has over the past year and in particular in recent months stepped up its efforts to analyse the vulnerability of developing countries in its various forms (economic, climatic and socio-political), its measurement and the use that can be made of the corresponding indicators for international policy. As already announced in our previous news flashes, FERDI has published two books Measuring vulnerabilities to improve aid allocation, especially in Africaand The determinants of internal conflict in the world: How to estimate the risks and better target prevention efforts? The foundation undertook work on the vulnerability of African countries to the Covid 19 pandemic, but also continued and expanded its conceptual thinking in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and tested its relevance by applying it to the case of Madagascar at the request of that country's government. We hope to be able to report on this work soon on the FERDI website.
At the end of this difficult year, FERDI wishes all the readers of this flash to have, despite the circumstances, an excellent holiday season and expresses its best wishes for a better 2021 and for the emergence of a fairer and more sustainable world economic order.