Our multilateral system (UN, international organizations) was originally designed to prevent a new world war by eliminating conflicts between nation-states.
It was based on a narrow conception of security as military self-defense and non-aggression. These institutions largely, though very imperfectly, prevented or reduced the incidence of violent conflicts between powers.
Today, humanity faces a much broader range of security threats. In addition to pandemics, they include encroachments on human freedom and the media, economic and financial crises, rising unemployment and inequality, and, of course, the ultimate existential threat: climate change.
The question is whether the institutions of global governance are still fit for purpose, or whether we need to rethink and change our concept to address the full range of threats to HUMAN SAFETY.
“What should the institution of global governance be in the twenty-first century?” – asks Huxleў of respected economists and social thinkers from various countries.
DMITRY KULEBA, Diplomat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Member of the National Security and Defense Council
The modern international system was born from the ashes of the fires of World War II. Tales that a new system will emerge through reforms are scientific, but still fantastical. A new system without some new catastrophe is impossible. So we have to live with the current one, which is not perfect, but it works.
One of the most outdated rudiments that irritates many and no longer corresponds to reality is the composition of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and the mechanism by which they exercise the veto.
The problem is that the veto, rather than deterrence, is being used to cover up aggression and limit the ability to defend human rights in the world.
To formulate the parameters of a more effective system of global governance, we must proceed from the challenges facing the world in this century: military aggression, Internet regulation, combating pandemics, trade wars, and climate change.
A world without threats to the security of people and states is utopian: even a totalitarian regime would have to be created to reduce crime to zero in a single state. Where there is freedom, there is crime.
But this does not mean that the world cannot be safer. What is needed is a balance of security and freedom, a new level of adaptability, forecasting accuracy and efficiency of communication.
The key actors of the twentieth century were leaders. In the twenty-first century, the word “institutions” came into vogue. They are lauded today at every turn. But this is in some ways about the past.
The modern trend is that communities outline a new horizon for organizing the world.
So I think a more effective system of global governance that can increase security without restricting freedom should be based on decentralization, digitalization, open society and economy, free trade, cyber security and democratic control
ELIZA PETER, director of PWYP, formerly senior policy advisor to The Elders (a community of former heads of state and Nobel Prize winners)
This is a very current issue. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the failure of the international community to cooperate effectively against a global threat that cannot be neutralized by armies and weapons. But it has also renewed conversations about inequality, solidarity and the type of society, economic development and the future we want to leave to our children.
Although the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and the IMF) were created in a different era and certainly need reform, the values on which they were founded are more relevant than ever: the equal right of all people to live in dignity, the pursuit of peace and prosperity for all. These principles must inform our response to the pandemic and the ensuing economic and social crises.
It is not so much the international architecture itself that is flawed as the basic concept upon which it is built: sovereign states defending the vital “national” interests of their citizens. What can national interests be in the twentieth century?
In a globalized world in which human development is inconceivable without international cooperation (trade, scientific innovation, education, technological progress, etc.) and threats transcend national borders (pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity, chemical weapons, pandemics), approaches focused exclusively on the unitary state are no longer relevant or effective.
They mainly serve the short-term interests of populist politicians who demonize “others” (shifting the blame for pandemics, wars, poverty to immigrants, minorities, and demonized “others”), which at best solves nothing, and at worst leads to deadly conflicts.
What we need is a new generation of political leaders who share empathy, courage, and international cooperation, going beyond a narrow definition of the national interest, to effectively deal with the tragedy of society and save humanity from fatal mistakes
VLADISLAV RASHKOVAN, Director of PWYP, Deputy Executive Director at the IMF
COVID-19 has brought our civilization to the crossroads of two roads. On one side are the global trends of the 21st century: automation and digitalization, connectivity, demographic and climate change, changes in the global balance of power, and the uncertainty of how all this will affect us and future generations.
On the other side are the emerging questions catalyzed by the pandemic itself: are we witnessing a crisis of humanist ideas now, is there still a demand for multilateralism, will the vector of globalization change, how to overcome the accelerating divergence between rich and poor countries, is the concept of the liberal world alive, and is economic freedom still in demand?
Pandemic reminded us that these challenges, even when addressed at the national level, can affect the lives of people around the world, and therefore require global solutions. At the same time, the dominant paradigm of global governance of the postwar era, in which many different groups of countries coexisted, from the G7 and G20 to the G24 and G77, is outdated and requires modernization.
As Jan Bremmer says, the reality is that we have a world in the form of the G2, a bipolar world characterized by competition between the United States and China. We have only two ways out of this situation – either the world will begin to divide along these two axes, as it already did in the mid-20th century, or the major superpowers will invent an institutional mechanism for global cooperation and collaboration.
It is up to the U.S. and China to find a model that not only removes barriers to international trade and creates new opportunities for the migration of labor, knowledge, and capital, but also minimizes the risks associated with globalization – primarily climatic
If these two states go to war, we will quickly slide from the concept of multilateralism to polarized regionalism with its accompanying “me in the house” concept, in which all national countries will be left alone with global problems.
Through the application of “soft power,” it should be possible for the G2 to convince the G20 and then other UN countries to accept global responsibility for achieving the SDGs of the need for a more stable Global financial stability net. Such a strategic agreement in the name of the world would help existing organizations (the UN, the IMF and the World Bank, and the WTO and the WHO) to meet the growing challenges in a more coordinated way. The question is: How do we get the U.S. and China to the global negotiating table?