In his welcome remarks, Shafqat Munir introduced the main crux of the event, the emerging trends of the 21st century, noting the various underlying factors that could have led to the spread and emergence of these trends, mentioning the introduction of COVID-19 as a key component towards this spectacle. He pointed to the plausible change of the trajectory of the global dynamic alongside the changes in the characteristics showcased by the concerned actors, including the alterations in policy discourse.

Guest speaker Parvez Karim Abbasi, delved into the various issues concerning the global system and the issues that had major influence upon the system itself, both on the geo-strategic and geo-economic spectrum. He stressed on the necessity of Bangladesh to ensure a diplomatic stance amidst this rivalry to pursue strategic ‘equiproximity’ and ensure the preservation of strategic independence. The major key issues that came across in the discussion concerning geo-economics, were economic distress caused by COVID-19, vaccine diplomacy and the race for post-COVID economic recovery, the political rivalry reflected through technological competition, including its impact on global economy, the implication of the emerging trading blocs, implication of the science of energy transition and the future of Fintech and its long term sustainability.

The discussion to issues that have had major impact upon Bangladesh, peddled by the global trends amidst these difficult times such as major recession, the loss of working opportunities for Bangladeshi migrants abroad and the urgent need for the international community to devote more attention to solving Rohingya crisis. The speaker and the moderator also talked about various facets of techno-nationalism.

Abbasi eventually contemplated the future of the global system instigated by these current emerging trends, while focusing upon the shift in the international dynamic concerning relevant factors and the probable opportunities, prospects and challenges that can be set into motion by these current phenomena. He also suggested various recommendations towards course of actions that can be adopted or policy formulations that can be adopted towards bypassing the tension and ensuring cooperation, connectivity, coaction and synergy between the major actors, alongside other state and non-state actors to ensure the sustenance of a concurrent environment, which is imperative in the age of globalisation and connectivity.

The guest speaker then engaged in an interactive session with the audience, consisting of distinguished members of academics, diplomats, businesspersons, journalists. During the discussion, many key aspects concerning the issue came into the spotlight, especially an increase in tensions in the geo-political frontier. The participants highlighted the unpredictable nature of the global politics caused by constantly emerging trends and the necessity to ensure room for agreement and diplomacy to avert the possibility of human catastrophe causing damages on a diabolical scale and destabilising the entirety of the world system. There was also a lively discussion on how countries will navigate vaccine politics.

The Policy Café dialogue is an interactive and informative series launched by BIPSS in order to disseminate and analyse issues that matter to the nation, the region and the globe.

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