June 8, 2022
Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State
Former Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Amid global challenges including climate change, food and energy insecurity, and the COVID-19 pandemic, government and business leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere gathered in Los Angeles for the 2022 IV CEO Summit of the Americas to discuss the importance of collaborative problem-solving between the Americas.
Antony J. Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Myron Brilliant to discuss why leaders in the public and private sectors must take collective action to address today’s most pressing global challenges while upholding basic democratic principles.
U.S. Government Policy Must Prioritize Public Health and Climate Change
Blinken emphasized how the COVID-19 pandemic made public health a key focus of current government policy.
“We need to build greater health resilience in our hemisphere,” he said. “We need to be better prepared to manage a future pandemic, but also, in the lives of daily people, we need to be able to provide better basic health services.”
In addition to advancements in public health, Blinken added that climate change and energy security were key elements of the nation’s policy agenda.
“There are huge needs — but also huge opportunities — to come together in a way that is beneficial to our economies and also beneficial to the climate, to our energy security, and to infrastructure development,” he said.
International Cooperation Demands Global Leadership Set Aside Political Differences
Blinken noted that the level of international cooperation necessary to address global challenges requires global leaders to overlook political differences.
“We have democratic governments of the left, of the right, and of the center,” he said. “But despite what political differences there are, if the fundamentals are there, we’re going to be able to work very, very effectively together.”
“There’s a common challenge for every single democracy in our hemisphere, and that’s to actually deliver concrete results for people,” Blinken added.
Collective Action Necessitates a Sustained Commitment to Shared Goals
When asked to describe the results of a successful 2022 IV CEO Summit, Blinken underscored the importance of a sustained commitment to collective action.
“At the summit, there will be important commitments,” Blinken explained. “There will be important initiatives. There will be important declarations of intent.”
“But three days is not 365 days,” he continued. “This has to be done over 365 days. We have to hold ourselves accountable to what is agreed [to] here … and then really see where we are at every step along the way.”
“The deliverables are only as good as their implementation,” Blinken added, suggesting global leaders reconvene again next year to gauge the progress made toward shared goals.
Public and Private Sector Leaders Must Take Collective Action to Overcome Global Challenges
Blinken noted that government leadership alone could not effectively overcome the most pressing global challenges. Instead, he stressed governments must take collective action with leaders in the private sector.
“Not a single one of the issues that we’re working on and that are actually having an impact on the lives of people … can we effectively deal with alone,” he said. “No single government can do it.”
Blinken concluded by underscoring the need for effective international cooperation.
“There’s [a] huge opportunity here,” he said. “The question is: how do we effectively work together to seize it?”
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