Voices from countries of the Global South were highlighted at this year's Munich Security Conference (MSC), with participants calling for an international order featuring solidarity and win-win relations.
The three-day 59th MSC concluded Sunday in Munich, south Germany. About 150 senior officials, including over 40 heads of state and government, and leaders of international organizations gathered in the German city to discuss pressing global security challenges and concerns.
In a panel discussion titled "Recalibrating the Compass: South-North Cooperation," Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the consequences of recent crises such as the COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have shown a lack of solidarity.
In response to European Council President Charles Michel, who addressed the global challenges by requiring greater solidarity, more international cooperation, mutual understanding and dialogue, Akufo-Addo said, "We are the continent of being left alone, (should) defend for ourselves."
Citing some Western countries' reluctance to help while Africa was desperate to get access to COVID-19 vaccines, Akufo-Addo said, "That is one example of the absence of solidarity. We need real South-North cooperation."
Addressing another panel discussion, Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said that it has been difficult or impossible for countries of the Global South to benefit from their own resources in history, and now they need sustainable and mutually beneficial cooperation.
She hoped that Namibia's cooperation projects with Europe, including Germany, can provide energy not only for Europe but also for Namibia, as her country needs to solve its own problems of high energy costs and energy security, create more jobs and boost the economy.
Referring to supporters of the Global South countries, Togolese Foreign Minister Robert Dussey said that China is one of the leading supporters for African economic development and transportation improvement.
Africa should have its own position and vision, Dussey said. "We can work with China, with Western people, with everyone."
For now, the focus is on the development of the African continent. "Our challenge is to change the life of our population like the example in China," he said.
The Global South's disillusionment with the existing world order and their calls for reshaping it also came under the spotlight in a report published by the MSC on Monday.
The report, titled "Re:vision," said that many countries of the Global South have so far been confined to the role of "rule-takers" under the existing global order and their "legitimate resentment" should be paid due respect.
As to the one-sided understanding of the rules by the West, Zhou Bo, senior fellow of the Center for International Security and Strategy in Tsinghua University, said it was set for the West themselves economically after the World War II as a world order, which actually shows a kind of Western arrogance, prejudice and narcissism.
With human and technological development, globalization is bound to accelerate and the need for cooperation will intensify, Zhou said.
(Cover: People walk past the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, Germany, February 18, 2023. /CFP)