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Once again, it is time for global progressives to join forces and take the lead in changing the world.

More than 10 years ago, progressive thinkers from all over the world gathered in Brussels at the Global Progressive Forum 2009, to discuss how to better channel globalisation for the benefit of everyone.

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Participants included former US president Bill Clinton, Indian activist Vandana Shiva, and the current UN secretary general António Guterres, as well as prime ministers and many other progressive leaders, NGOs, trade unions, academics and young people.

Since then, the international debate has significantly changed, and not always for the better.

Populism and extremism have largely taken the stage in many countries. Conflicts and violence in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Myanmar and other places, have caused millions of civilian casualties and new waves of forced migration.

The Mediterranean Sea has become a watery grave for thousands of people fleeing their countries. During the tenure of the Trump administration, the safety and rights of women and minorities were systematically undermined.

Economic inequalities between the richest few and the growing number of people living in poverty have steadily increased. Turkey and Russia have been acting as destabilising players within their regions, and have been impinging on the democratic fabric of other countries. Multilateralism and transatlantic cooperation have reached an all-time low.

On top of all these changes, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented global crisis, with the world's poorest and most vulnerable being affected the most. Women too are paying a higher price compared to men.

The pandemic has had a severe impact on our local communities, forcing us to rethink our way of life. We have realised that we are vulnerable, but we know that we can protect each other.

We know that we need to invest more in public care, that all children need to go to school, that there can be new working models, that we do not need to use our cars every single day, and that our personal freedoms and time do matter.

The next decade of the progressives, not the populists

We have entered a new decade full of choices to be made.

We will be expected to: promote a greener, less divided and more peaceful world; tackle all kinds of inequalities between women and men, and between the richest few and the poorest layers of society; uphold people's rights and freedoms regardless of where they live and where they come from; who they love or how they identify; and to increase the number of people with access to water, food, quality lifelong education, decent jobs and the digital revolution.

Ahead of us will be new scientific discoveries and innovations that will improve our knowledge and capabilities. It is our responsibility to turn all these challenges into new opportunities for all.

The last 10-year period has been the decade of the populists. The next one must be the decade of the progressives.

We believe, therefore, that the time is ripe to convene a new Global Progressive Forum at the end of this year, and we call on all progressive forces, movements, and like-minded people from around the world to take part, and join us in driving forward the necessary change.

• Andreas Schieder, MEP, GPF Co-chair

• Sergei Stanishev, MEP, GPF Co-chair and PES President

• Iratxe García Pérez, MEP, President, S&D Group in the European Parliament

• Maria João Rodrigues, President, FEPS

• László Andor, Secretary General, FEPS

• Luca Visentini, General Secretary, ETUC

• Sharan Burrow, Secretary General, ITUC

• Liina Carr, Confederal Secretary, ETUC

• Conny Reuter, Global Coordinator, Progressive Alliance

• Christophe Rouillon, President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions and Mayor of Coulaines, France

• Zita Gurmai, President, PES Women

• Mikael Leyi, Secretary-General, Solidar

• Camila Garfias, President, Rainbow Rose

• Ana Pirtskhalava, Secretary General, YES

• Bruno Gonçalves, Secretary General, IUSY

• Eric Andrieu, MEP, Chair, Progressive Society

Author bio

The Global Progressives Forum is taking place 17-19 November, in the European Parliament in Brussels and online #GPF2021.

Disclaimer

This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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