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  • Context (IE): Nobel Laureate pitched for reforms in multilateral institutions given the failure of the UN in resolving the ongoing problems to humanity.

Importance of multilateral institutions

  • Global challenges and crisis such as conflicts, climate change, migration, macroeconomic instability, and cybersecurity can indeed only be solved collectively.
  • Ensures Stable world order: Achievements of UN Peacekeeping forces, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons etc.
  • Forum to cooperate on Global challenges: Climate change, food security, terrorism, Pandemic, cyber security, fake news, etc.
  • Mobilize resources for innovations: Creation of innovation funds (e.g., UNICEF Innovation Fund, UNDP Innovation Facility), provide unlimited networks of experts at the global, regional and local country level.

Need for reforming multilateral institutions

  • Lack of Inclusive representation: For eg., lack of representation of far East regions, and rising economies in UNSC.
  • High jacking of multilateral institutions by developed countries: Chequebook diplomacy of China, misuse of Veto rights by P5 members, etc.
  • Rising hyper-nationalism, anti-immigration politics fuelled by political opportunism, diminish the appeal of international cooperation. For e.g., America’s first policy manifested in the form of withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal, etc.
  • Disillusionment with globalization: Failure of global governance in the post-Bretton Woods system to resolve issues of slow growth, rising inequality, falling labor force participation, migration, social fragmentation and job insecurity associated with globalization and automation.
  • Failure of institutions to deliver their mandate: For e.g. WTO’s failure to handle the US-China trade war, UNSC’s failure in Chinese unchecked belligerence in the South China Sea, inadequate response of WHO in handling the pandemic, etc.

Way Forward

  • Set focussed narrative as currently the multilateralism reform narrative lives only in elite circles and some national capitals, particularly the emerging powers.
  • Encouraging Mini-lateral groupings as a new form of multilateralism and transforming them into multi-stakeholder partnerships.
  • Creating new models of multilateralism to overcome the trust, legitimacy and utility crises of multilateralism.
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