New Realities of Multilateralism
Panorama Insights into Asian and European Affairs
The prevailing view globally is that the challenges of the 21st century, such as increasing security threats, climate change or global health emergencies require collaborative multilateral action and solutions. Multilateral initiatives have been established as a response to these challenges, as exemplified by the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) or the Covax Vaccine Initiative to name some of the most recent ones. However, there is rising criticism of multilateral cooperation as being neither effective nor sufficient in generating sustainable solutions. In some cases, multilateral engagements have failed to prevent humanitarian crises as the world is currently witnessing in Afghanistan. In an interconnected world, it has also become increasingly difficult for regional organisations to pursue their integration goals amidst interfering intra- and extra-regional developments. Even though some experts proclaim the “death” of the multilateral system and at times countries retreat to unilateral or bilateral formats, the situation is more complex. Some multilateral institutions have come to a standstill, new ones have emerged while others have re-gained influence.