Skip to main content

We need to see an urgent change of direction in global decision-making

Share this:
Photo: Jeff Moore
In our latest newsletter, Ban Ki-moon reflects on the Munich Security Conference last month and calls for long-view leadership, a bold new approach to global decision-making that prioritises collaboration, compassion and accountability.


Dear friends,

Despite the urgency of the multiple crises our world is facing, there is a dangerous lack of cooperation and accountability among leaders. We need an urgent change of direction in global decision-making, with a bold new approach rooted in justice and dignity. We need ‘long-view leadership’.

Last month, on the eve of the Munich Security Conference, The Elders published an open letter in partnership with the Future of Life Institute. Together, we called for long-view leadership from decision-makers who understand the urgency of the existential threats we face, and believe in our ability to overcome them. This letter was co-signed by over 150 former leaders, Nobel Laureates, scientists, philanthropists, campaigners, activists, artists and public commentators, demonstrating the strength of our shared concern.

We invite all those who want to see greater urgency from decision-makers to also sign and share this letter. You can add your name here.

Right now, too many leaders are failing to think beyond short-term political cycles. We need decision-makers who have the moral strength to address both current concerns and long-term risks, often at the expense of their own vested interests. This requires the determination to resolve intractable problems not just manage them, the wisdom to make decisions based on scientific evidence and reason, and the humility to listen to all those affected by the crises we face.

Crucial to long-view leadership is cooperation. This means revitalising multilateralism, upholding the international rule of law, and ensuring accountability for decisions made. This is what my fellow Elders and I urged for at the Munich Security Conference last month.

Our delegation met with ministers and senior officials from around the world to discuss the importance of bold leadership to building peace, delivering nuclear arms controls and creating a Pandemic Accord.

Addressing the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza was our central priority. The Elders met the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, to discuss Ukraine’s peace formula. We stressed the importance of building a global consensus on a just and sustainable peace.

In meetings with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, and Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Khan, we discussed the urgent need for a ceasefire in Gaza. We also discussed the need for a restoration of UNRWA funding, accountability for atrocity crimes committed by Israeli forces and Hamas, and a pathway to realise a Palestinian state, free from occupation.

As my fellow Elder Gro Harlem Brundtland told the Munich Security Conference, "We have one common future, or no future.” We need leaders to understand this if we are to ensure a safe world for current and future generations. A better future can still be possible - it is not too late for a renewed awareness of our common humanity.

You can join the call for compassionate, long-view leadership here.

With thanks for your ongoing support,

Ban Ki-moon

Share this article

Keep up to date with The Elders’ COVID-19 digest:

Sign up to receive regular updates about The Elders’ activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will never share your email address with third parties.

Keep up to date with The Elders latest News and Insight:

Sign up to receive monthly newsletters from The Elders. We will occasionally send you other special updates and news, but we'll never share your email address with third parties.


I would like to find: