This modern concept of a European Union is being tested early in this 21st century. From the impacts of the burgeoning refugee crisis, to the rise of populist parties, to the recent British exit from the EU, the future of the Union remains uncertain. While many obstacles to overcoming these challenges persist, cross-sector collaboration lends itself to more efficient allocation of resources to address these issues and implement viable solutions to achieve global goals.
The Concordia Europe Summit will occur at a pivotal time for the continent, following significant shifts in regional leadership that will continue throughout early 2017. As the popular vote has become far less predictable than ever before, upcoming results in Italy, France and Germany will have effects not only on citizen populations, but also on universal human rights, global markets, migrant populations, and regional investment climates. Concordia believes that public-private partnerships (P3s) have great potential for impact in Europe as it works to preserve a modern-day union, qualm a burgeoning refugee crisis, and reignite regional economic growth, while remaining on the path to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. By convening regional leadership to address these challenges and formulate practical solutions, Concordia hopes to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and broker new relationships across the public and private sectors.
Trade between the United States and the European Union is currently the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, totaling $1.1 trillion in 2014. This trans-Atlantic trade route not only accounts for billions of dollars a day in goods and services, but millions of jobs across both continents. Concordia will host a fireside chat with former President of the European Commission and former Prime Minister of Portugal, José Manuel Barroso, to discuss aspects of, and opportunities for, the economic relationship between the United States and the European Union. This conversation will include an analysis of what has contributed to the robustness and strength of the world’s largest trade relationship and what lies ahead as technology, innovation, power dynamics and politics continue to change in our increasingly interconnected world.
When developing public-private partnerships (P3s) for social impact, all partners aim to facilitate high-impact programs that are sustainable and scalable. The Athens Partnership promotes the value of strong cross-sector collaboration, which can spark innovation and help both local and global leaders rethink the delivery of services. As a model P3, the Athens Partnership serves as a positive change agent that incorporates layers of accountability and transparency to demonstrate effective, efficient use of resources when implementing collaborative initiatives. In addition to the essence of public-private partnerships, speakers in this session will also discuss: the importance of community engagement in public improvement projects, the power of innovation in harnessing the power of digital technology, the coordination required to deliver basic services to migrant and refugee needs, and the ability to improve education outcomes by incorporating communities in the activity and environmental design process.
Sustainable development requires a holistic and cross-sector policy approach to ensure that economic, social and environmental challenges are addressed together. The European Union Commission’s answer to the 2030 Agenda will mainstream the SDGs in the European policy framework and current Commission priorities and will prepare for the long-term implementation of the SDGs. Cross-sector investment in the SDGs is critical to achieving goals across the development agenda. From infrastructure to sanitation, and education to hunger, there are many investment opportunities for the private sector to both increase profits and contribute to global socioeconomic development. According to a 2014 UNCTAD report, developing countries face a $2.5 trillion annual investment gap in key sustainable development sectors. Private sector investments can be maximized by collaboration with the public sector to complement public funding capabilities, increasing impact and scale. Additionally, the private Recalibrating the Response: Shifting Emergency Mindsets to Sustainable Solutions for Refugees sector’s role in promoting good governance in business practices must not be understated; transparency and accountability are key in maintaining strong relationships between businesses, governments, and civil society. This session will seek to identify and prioritize tangible opportunities for investment, while also addressing challenges to collaboration to achieve the SDGs.
The most pressing concerns of the European Union are up for debate, with conflicting priorities of fiscal austerity, refugees, security, and the negotiation of Britain’s exit from the bloc competing for urgency. Recent calls have been made to boost fiscal and structural policy within European national governments in order to increase the effectiveness of monetary policy and reinforce growth within the Eurozone. Britain’s 2016 decision to enact Article 50 has had rippling impact across Europe, leading to fluctuating financial markets, reluctant border policy, and an increase of populist movements in Germany, Austria, France and Italy. With the recent results of the American elections, added pressures to international monetary policy and regional security will also be discussed within this session as regional leadership seeks clarity from the incoming administration on free trade, climate change, immigration, and commitments to NATO.
Despite hundreds of millions of funding for relief efforts, refugees in Greece continue to live in inhumane conditions while the government, UNHCR and international non-profit organizations (INGOs) trade accusations of mismanagement. Lack of funding is not the issue. Instead, lack of coordination, lack of funding mechanisms for local civil service organizations, an overstretched Greek system, lengthy bureaucratic processes, and pockets of corruption make up for systems failure. The vision of Ascend is to create a model of private sector mobilization and collaboration that strategically, catalytically and effectively addresses the complex issue of neglected asylum seekers and Greeks. In this session, the founding partners will publicly launch Ascend, opening the Concordia Europe Summit’s Strategic Dialogue on Recalibrating the Response: Shifting Emergency Mindsets to Sustainable Solutions for Refugees.
As the conflict in Syria approaches its six-year mark in March, staggering amounts of the country’s population has been displaced internally, with record numbers fleeing the country across borders. Over one million refugees entered the European Union in 2015 alone, with numbers set to increase in 2016. The protracted nature of the conflict means that temporary, short-term emergency response efforts are an insufficient solution to the overwhelming number of families who have been impacted by the crisis. However, relief programs of three, six, and twelve month durations still make up the majority of response efforts. It is clear the human toll of the Syria crisis must be addressed in the long term. This session will discuss the fundamental recalibration necessary to shift away from siloed short-term approaches to holistic strategies that bridge relief and development needs, maximize efficiencies by incorporating private sector perspectives, and values local voices and accountable governance.