Global governance after COVID-19: survey report



The Global Economics and Development Program at the Brookings Institution conducted a survey on pluralism in the spring of 2021 as part of a project on the future of global governance. This report summarizes and analyzes the results. It comes at a time when the new Biden administration has recommitted the United States to multilateral cooperation and multiple initiatives — notably on international taxes, the issuance of $650 billion in new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), and ramping up efforts to reduce emissions. To combat climate change – underway. At the same time, rivalry between the United States and China is intensifying, threatening a new form of the Cold War, and new technologies are emerging, promising enhanced human well-being while putting it at risk of abuse. The COVID-19 pandemic remains out of control in most developing countries due to delays in vaccination rates and uneven recovery from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

However, pluralism was in crisis long before the pandemic. growing political discontent With globalization it has been associated with the failure of the multilateral system to stem the tide of growing inequality, social fragmentation, and job insecurity exacerbated by technological change. Moreover, calls for global governance reform to better reflect the shift in the economic, demographic, and political weight of developing countries have largely gone unheeded. Political deadlock in multilateral organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the United Nations (UN), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) has prevented proper reform.

Disillusionment with the current multilateral system has given rise to various alternative visions, such as replacing multilateral agreements and rules with bilateral deals or groups of like-minded or geographically close countries. We believe that these alternative approaches cannot adequately replace true pluralism because a world facing inherently global challenges – as demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic – requires globally concerted actions and responses. For the Global South, the consequences of weak pluralism — on climate change, trade, conflict prevention, and countless other issues — are particularly dire.

The COVID-19 virus has exposed the main weaknesses of an economic system designed to achieve maximum efficiency in the short term at the expense of robustness and resilience. As governments struggle to procure vital medical goods and make an effective response to COVID-19, international cooperation has collapsed, leading to export bans and political recriminations. This came on the heels of recent trends of national leaders demanding inward-looking policies. The irony, of course, is that while the world has been moving away from multilateralism, COVID-19 has emphasized its imperative: As the virus spreads smoothly across borders, the risk of more infections will persist unless countries cooperate to expand access to vaccines and end the pandemic. . and epidemiologists Warning That the worst pandemic could strike the world at any time, highlighting the need for global cooperation.

Looking to the future, new technologies present great opportunities but also significant risks, particularly in areas such as cyberspace, artificial intelligence or biotechnology, where global rules are sorely needed. There is also the pressing problem of climate change, which requires immediate and coordinated global action.

Against this background, the great powers risk moving toward confrontation, in contrast to the multilateral approach, which would divide the world into competing blocs. A world in which competing great powers, notably the United States and China, seek to protect their spheres of influence with their own rules and norms could strip smaller and poorer countries of agency or room for maneuver. This would fail to provide the kind of solutions needed for today’s global problems. Moreover, the direction that the competing relationship between the United States and China takes will have repercussions for all nations.

As the world begins to shift from responding to the pandemic to planning for recovery, many policymakers have adopted the mantra of “Building Back Better.” A multilateral architecture suitable for the twenty-first century must prioritize the well-being of the worse off and build a stronger and more inclusive world order while respecting the legitimate demands for political independence. You should help prevent your neighbor’s beggary policies, facilitate the provision of global public goods, and help manage the global commons. And, where appropriate, it must draw on the skills and resources of a wide range of actors outside the nation-state, including cities, scientists, civil society organizations, businesses and employment, all of whom have important roles in solving global problems.

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