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with a plea to rebuild international structures of

cooperation, conflict prevention, and humanitarian

and development aid, stating that

The Economics of War and Peace

The first panel took on the forum’s main theme

"The Economics of War and Peace." German Am-

bassador Wolfgang Ischinger argued the nation state

is a failed institution no longer capable of providing

security and prosperity to its citizens. At the same

time, international peacekeeping and conflict resolu-

tion structures are anachronistic and reflect power

structures of the Cold War. Above all, the UN Secu-

rity Council must reflect modern geopolitical reali-

ties and include nations such as India and Brazil.

Professor Edward Miguel offered a statistical analy-

sis and found a remarkable correlation between

increases in temperature and conflict. Persistently

high temperatures also had a negative impact on

economic growth and agricultural productivity that

led to political instability. Miguel also pointed out

that the outbreak of civil war in Syria 2011 was

preceded by three years of heat waves and severe

drought, so that extreme weather conditions seem

to have been a contributing factor for the Arab

Spring. This connection between climate and con-

flict does not bode well for a future in which global

temperatures are projected to rise markedly. Such

adverse impacts are likely to affect already hot and

instable regions – particularly Africa – first. How-

ever, the economic impacts from global warming

may be felt far beyond such conflict zones, as one

Dialogue and Events

Forum for Economic Dialogue

Forum 2015 on "The Economics of

War and Peace"

After the devastating attacks in Paris, this

year’s UBS Center annual Forum for Econom-

ic Dialogue took on an unexpected and som-

ber significance. A packed auditorium in

Kaufleuten attended an event featuring a list

of famous keynote speakers and panelists,

including Nobel Peace Prize Winner Moham-

med ElBaradei, Federal Councillor and Swiss

Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, and best-

selling author Steven Pinker.

On War and Peace

The headline keynote speaker Nobel Prize Winner

Mohammed ElBaradei opened this year’s forum

with a powerful and moving address. He argued the

world is facing a crisis of governance as faith and

confidence in global institutions crumble and na-

tions pursue their own interests often to the detri-

ment of others. He sees this as unsustainable, as we

live in an increasingly interconnected world, where

traditional notions of security and sovereignty are

being challenged. The solution he advocated for is a

global social contract based on inclusion and foster-

ing solidarity.

As for the ongoing crisis in the Middle East,

ElBaradei identified several underlying causes for

these conflicts, including the lack of democratic

culture, good institutions, and social cohesion. In

particular education will be key in making progress

on all those fronts. However, he also made clear

that no part of the world can be quarantined from

these conflicts any longer, and that the West has an

important role to play. He thus ended his address

Panel discussion with Wolfgang Ischinger, Livia Leu, Hans-Joachim

Voth, and Edward Miguel (f.l.t.r.)

"we either swim together, or sink


Mohamed ElBaradei during his keynote lecture