2014 Global Thought Lecture & World Leaders Forum

Pascal Lamy: Global Governance and Future Challenges: Lessons from the Oxford Martin Commission

April 29, 2014 · 4-5:30PM
Rotunda, Low Memorial Library

  • Pascal Lamy, Honorary President of Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute and former Director-General of the World Trade Organization
  • Welcome: Vishakha N. Desai, Special Advisor for Global Affairs and Member of the Committee on Global Thought
  • Introduction: Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University
  • Respondent: Richard G. Parker, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Anthropology and Member of the Committee on Global Thought
  • Moderator: Jose Antonio Ocampo, Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs and Member of the Committee on Global Thought

The ability to address today’s global challenges is undermined by the absence of a collective vision for society. We urge leaders to establish shared global values to protect the prospects for future generations. – Pascal Lamy

The Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations gathered 19 international leaders from government, business and civil society to address the growing short-term preoccupations of modern politics and business and identify ways of overcoming today’s gridlock in key international negotiations. Chaired by Pascal Lamy, the former Director-General of the World Trade Organization, the Commission’s report, “Now for the Long Term,” is the product of a year-long process and debate on the successes and failures in addressing global challenges over recent decades. Released in October 2013, it calls for a radical shake-up in politics and business to embed long-term thinking and provides practical recommendations for action in order to create a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.

We are delighted to host the Commission’s chair, Pascal Lamy, who will share the key findings of the Commission and discuss their implications for policy making at the national and international level.

Read the Executive Summary or the Full Report.

Photo Gallery

Pascal Lamy served two terms as Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) from September 2005 to September 2013. He graduated from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Paris, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (IEP) and the Ecole Nationale d' Administration (ENA). He began his career in the French civil service at the General Inspectorate of Finance and at the Treasury. In 1981 he became advisor of the Minister of Economy and Finance, Jacques Delors, then Deputy Head of Prime Minister’s Pierre Mauroy cabinet in 1983. Between 1985 and 1994, Pascal Lamy was Head of the President of the European Commission’s Cabinet, Jacques Delors, and its "sherpa" at the G- 7. In 1994 he joined the team in charge of the recovery of the French bank Crédit Lyonnais then becoming its CEO up to its privatization in 1999. He then returned to the European Commission having been appointed as Commissioner for Trade under the presidency of Romano Prodi. After his mandate in Brussels, for a short sabbatical period Pascal Lamy chaired "Notre Europe", a think tank created by Jacques Delors that focuses on European integration. He also became associate professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and advisor to Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the European Socialist Party. Pascal Lamy also proved his commitment to the European Union and its vision of globalization through several publications:

  • Quand la France s’éveillera (Odile Jacob, 2014)
  • The Geneva Consensus, (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Now for the Long Term (Report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, 2013)
  • La Démocratie-monde – Pour une autre gouvernance globale  (Seuil, 2004)
  • L'Europe en première ligne (Seuil, 2002)
  • L'Europe de nos volontés (with J. Pisani- Ferry, Plon, 2002 The Europe we want, Arch Press / The Policy Network, 2002)
  • Report "Monde-Europe", chaired by P. Lamy in the XIth plan of the Commissariat général du Plan (Dunod, 1993)

He received honorary degrees from eight universities as well as several awards and decorations from the French government and other countries world-wide. Pascal Lamy is currently Honorary President of Notre Europe - Jacques Delors Institute, President of the World Committee of Tourism Ethics, President of the Oxford Martin School’s Commission on future challenges, Vice-President of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), member of the Global Ocean Commission and of UNAIDS and Lancet Commission, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble (Orchestra Marc Minkowski), member of the Board of Directors of the Fondation nationale des Sciences politiques and of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company, member of the Advisory Board of Transparency International, affiliated Professor at HEC Paris et Strategic Advisor of the Simone Veil Governance Center for Europe (Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance, Berlin).

Undergraduate Committee Workshops

The Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought and the World Leaders Forum invite undergraduates to participate in this special, three-part program with Pascal Lamy. 

Undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in a small workshop with Professor José Antonio Ocampo and a closed-door meeting with Mr. Lamy, and to attend the World Leaders Forum eventGlobal Governance and Future Challenges: Lessons from the Oxford Martin Commission.

Registered students are expected to attend all three events, and to read the Oxford Martin Commission Report: Now for the Long Term in advance of the discussions

Space is limited for these events and open only to Columbia University undergraduate students. 

Workshop on the Future of Global Governance

2:00-3:00 PM, Friday, April 18, 603 Hamilton

  • José Antonio Ocampo, Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs and Member of the Committee on Global Thought

Meeting on Global Governance

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM,  Tuesday, April 29, Faculty House

  • Pascal Lamy, Honorary President of Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute and former Director-General of the World Trade Organization

World Leaders Forum and Undergraduates

With the World Leaders Forum, Columbia has a rich tradition of bringing heads of state and other leaders to campus to explore the large economic, political, and social questions of our time. Now, undergraduates can join that conversation through workshops and meetings that will deepen their understanding of global issues.

At these events, students will have the opportunity to discuss the most acute issues facing their generation, including climate change, economic inequality and corporate practices, with the policymakers and thinkers who make decisions that matter. In doing so, undergraduates can become more globally conscious citizens, and part of a more Global Columbia.

2014 Global Thought Lecture Report

Now for the Long Term

The Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, launched in September 2012, aims to address the growing short-term preoccupations of modern politics and identify ways to overcome today’s impasse in key economic, climate, trade, security, and other negotiations. Chaired by Pascal Lamy, former Director-General of the World Trade Organization, the Commission brings together highly experienced leaders from government, business and society to examine the current gridlock in international and national attempts to deal with key global problems. Embedding the long term into today’s increasingly pressured decision structures will allow societies and businesses to harvest the extraordinary potential and mitigate the systemic risks and vulnerabilities associated with future developments. As pressures mount, there is an urgent need to focus on the legacy left for future generations. This important initiative draws on a highly distinguished group of Commissioners and the latest analysis of global best practice, as well as the wide-ranging expertise of more than 300 scholars associated with the Oxford Martin School.

Key Recommendations

  • Create a C20-C30-C40 Coalition to counteract climate change; a new coalition made up of G20 countries, 30 companies, and 40 cities. The coalition could accelerate action on climate change, with measurable targets for initiatives that include energy-efficient buildings, faster market penetration of efficient vehicles and tracking emissions.
  • Establish a Voluntary Taxation and Regulatory Exchange to address tax abuse and avoidance and harmonise company taxation arrangements, promote information sharing, enhance transparency and governance.
  • Establish sunset clauses for publicly funded international institutions to ensure regular reviews of accomplishments and mandates to ensure they are fit for 21st century purpose.
  • Introduce CyberEx, a new early warning platform, aimed at promoting a better understanding of common cyber threats, identifying preventative measures, and minimising future attacks for the shared benefit of government, corporate and individual interests.
  • Remove perverse subsidies on hydrocarbons and agriculture, and redirect support to the poor.
  • Fight non-communicable diseases with a new action focused, city-based network, “Fit Cities” which would involve food, beverage and alcohol providers, in collaboration with public health and city authorities, as well as civil society, to reduce the burden on health systems.
  • End discrimination against future generations by revising discounting methods and adjusting them to take account of the uncertainties, risks and ethical implications for the long term.
  • Set up Worldstat, a specialist agency charged with undertaking quality control on global statistics, assessing domestic practices, regulating misuse and improving data collection.
  • Invest in Younger Generations: Social protection measures such as conditional cash transfer programmes should be used to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, whilst youth guarantees would help reduce ‘scars’ of long-term unemployment and disconnection.


  • Chair: Pascal Lamy, former Director-General, World Trade Organization
  • Vice Chair: Professor Ian Goldin, Director, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford
  • Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile; former Executive Director, UN Women
  • Lionel Barber, Editor, The Financial Times
  • Professor Dr, h.c. Roland Berger, Chairman, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
  • Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group
  • Dr, Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Board, Mo Ibrahim Foundation
  • Luiz Felipe Lampreia, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Brazil
  • Liu He, Minister, Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, People’s Republic of China, Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy, National, University of Singapore
  • Trevor Manuel, Minister and Chair of the National Planning Commission, South Africa
  • Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director-General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India; former CEO, Infosys
  • Chris Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes), Chancellor, University of Oxford; Chairman, BBC Trust
  • Professor Peter Piot (Baron Piot), Director, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; former Executive Director, UNAIDS
  • Professor Martin Rees (Lord Rees of Ludlow), former President, The Royal Society; Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate and Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University
  • Professor Nicholas Stern (Lord Stern of Brentford), President, The British Academy; IG Patel Professor of Economics, London School of Economics
  • Jean-Claude Trichet, former President, European Central Bank

Read more about the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations here.