Side Event „Utopias of global cooperation“ at T20 Indonesia 2022 Summit

Photo: Group picture T20 side event


T20 is an official G20 engagement group that brings together leading think tanks and research institutions to provide research-based policy recommendations. The initiative was implemented in cooperation with the PRODIGEES project of the MGG network.

Utopia is not a common term to use for scientists, if it is not to clarify that something lacks any scientific evidence or refection in the models we use to make assumptions about future developments. Some of us might remember having used the term “This is utopian!” in the past to express that an idea does not appear worth further consideration. But what if utopias – or positive visions a future that might seem unrealistic from the present – are exactly what we need to jointly develop new social imaginaries – joint images of how we might live, that have the potential to guide global cooperation?

Using methodological elements of CoCreAct and back casting, participants of the T20 Summit 2022 put their heads together to develop positive visions of the future with the potential to inspire new forms of global cooperation. Prof Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Director of IDOS, and Dr Jose Rizal Damuri, Executive Director of CSIS, set the scene with inspiring inputs on the current crisis of global – and potential learnings from the ancient model of the “mandala system”. Moreover, members of the MGG network from Indonesia send their criteria for successful global cooperation in a video message. Eva Lynders (researcher in MGG programme, IDOS) co-moderated the session together with Dr Wulf Reiners (Head of MGG programme at IDOS).

The visions that emerged are as diverse as the backgrounds of participants: Scientists focused on environmental governance, digitalisation and trade exchanged with practitioners in education and health care. Together, they developed utopias of “Equal, inclusive, and sustainable global cooperation through seamless institutional processes”, an “interoperable system, humanitarian by design” and “enlightened and informed societies” based on “universal access to seamless connectivity”, “respect to the rights of states and individuals” and circular economy. In the second half of the event, participants developed roadmaps to realise these vision – by planning backwards from the point of realisation.

In this way, the event provided a space for thought experiments and exchange in the run-up to the T20 Summit. Participant’s visions for global cooperation also resonated well with some of the policy recommendations presented in the T20 Communiqué. A reflection on the state of the G20 after the T20 Summit has been published here.

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