Whilst the world begins to slowly open up again following the initial coronavirus-induced lockdown, questions remain regarding the dire state of the present world order, and what order will emerge in the post-COVID-19 world. In the lead-up to the Rhodes Forum 2020, the DOC has launched the Berlin Call Initiative, convening key figures in the international policy-making and academic fields to discuss and contribute to a DOC-led series of policy recommendations for strengthening the multilateral order of the post-COVID-19 world.
The DOC has to-date hosted two roundtable discussions on three potential scenarios for the global order following on from and addressing the upheaval caused by this pandemic. Their aim, and that of the project more generally, is to contribute to the development of a set of shared world views supportive of a reformed and globally sustainable order following the crisis moment of COVID-19, presenting a set of clear recommendations after the Forum to help shape policy debate on the future of internationalism. While an intellectually rigorous exercise the project is avowedly applied in orientation and will work towards a set of practical recommendations for reform.
The roundtables discussed four questions, including how to mitigate the risk of greater China-US bipolarity, recognising of course the problematic nature of the term; what values should define a ‘humane’ internationalism; what role states should play, both domestically and internationally in this process and how multilateral institutions can be (re)invented to take account of the changing nature of global order in a post pandemic world.
The discussions in the first two webinars identified the future of the US-China relationship as the over-riding relationship determining the future of world order. But considerable importance was seen to be riding on the outcome of the November Presidential and Senate elections. However, the project is, and the discussions were, acutely sensitive to the role of new actors and regional powers when discussing global order. The increasingly hybrid nature of global policy-making, and especially the power of networks and the digitalisation of global communication systems in policy-making, were agreed to be paramount.
The discussion of a ‘humane’ internationalism identified solidarity and community as important existing values, however these need to be enhanced if the reform of multilateral institutional decision making is to be rebooted since many of the international institutions are not “fit for purpose”. The international call for solidarity throughout this pandemic and for action against climate change represent a growing call, but one that is in need of practical operationalisation. One way of doing this is for practitioners of global public policy to recognise that society needs to return to the rich body of international law if we are to mitigate the return to geo-politics as a substitute for a rules-based order.
It was noted that there was a role for the EU in the face of growing great power polarisation. The EU would do well to revive multilateralism by refocusing on the importance of common public goods. It was also recognised that the world needs a transnational and digital governance structure for a new multilateralism.
With regard to the re(invention) of multilateral institutions, it was stated that to miss the opportunity that COVID-19 presents to re-invigorate the system would be to dishonour the deaths of those for whom better international cooperation would have made a difference. Upon reflection of this crisis and the failure of international society’s response to it, better emergency response mechanisms should be promoted. A new multilateralism requires cooperation across stakeholder groups, not just across borders, for example with the inclusion of civil society, the private sector, and cities in decision-making processes.
Jean-Christophe Bas, CEO of the DOC Research Institute and initiator of the Berlin Call initiative says:
“The two rounds of exchange with international policy makers, experts and influencers show how this initiative is timely and important. By bringing together leaders and influencers from all parts of the world to reflect on how to re-invent, and reset international cooperation that works effectively for all, DOC is consistent with its mission to foster the emergence of shared world views on the most sensitive issues for humanity. For the first time in the history of humanity, the whole world population on all continents is confronted by the same threat, the same fear. This is the time to develop a sense of common belonging, shared responsibility and destiny. One humanity, many cultures.
As Kishore Mahbubani mentioned during the discussion: There is only one boat on the ocean, and the boat starts to sink, so it does not help to close oneself in a cabin. The boat is the world, the reasons why it sinks can be climate change or even now the corona crises and the closure within a cabin are the single states. A more balanced and real global governance could save us all from sinking with the boat.”
The Berlin Call Initiative is in its early stages but has already succeeded in generating considerable interest across a wide range of public and private sector international actors, including within the UN. The Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute is already planning the next round of discussion.
Composition of the Berlin Call Initiative:
- Amitav Acharya, UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance and Distinguished Professor at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC;
- Pablo Ava, Head of Policy and Research of the Argentina Council of Foreign Relations;
- Jean-Christophe Bas, CEO of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute;
- Kate Coyer, Director of the Civil Society and Technology Project for the Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University (CEU);
- Dr. Uri Dadush, Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South;
- Dr. James Dorsey, Senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University;
- Fabrizio Hochschild Drummond, Under-Secretariat-General and Special Adviser at United Nations;
- Obiageli Ezekwesili, Former Vice Prisedent of World Bank, Richard von Weizacker Fellow at Robert Bosch Academy and Principal of Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative;
- Vladimir Fortov, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Former President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2013 – 2017);
- Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technological and Economic Change;
- Kolodko Grzegorz, Professor of Economics at Kozminski University and former Deputy Prime Minister of Poland and Minister of Finance;
- Dr. Scherto Gill, Executive Secretary, Guerrand-Hermes Fsoundation for Peace;
- Dr. Alexey Gromyko, Director of the Institute of Europe of the IE RAS;
- Dr. Richard Higgott, FRSA, FAcSS, Emeritus Professor of international Political Economy, University of Warwick and Professor, Brussels School of Governance, Vrije Universiteit Brussels;
- Prof. Shada Islam, EU commentator & head of New Horizons Project;
- Dr. Deqiang Ji, Vice Dean of the Institute for a Community with Shared Future, at the CUC;
- Dhruv C Katoch, Director of the India Foundation;
- Dr. Inge Kaul, Senior Fellow at Hertie School of Governance and Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), Washington, DC;
- Prof. Dr. Luk van Langenhove, Professor and former Director at the Institute for European Studies;
- Prof. Kishore Mahbubani, Former Ambassador of Singapore to the UN and Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore;
- Prof. Katherine Marshall, Professor of the practice of development, conflict, and religion in the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University;
- Prof. Raffaele Marchetti, Rector for Internationalization of LUISS University;
- Djoomart Otorbaev, former Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan;
- Daniel Perell, Representative to the United Nations at Bahá’í International Community;
- Prof. Adrian Pabst, Head of School of politics and international relations, University of Kent (UK);
- Prof. Simon Reich, Division of Global Affairs, Political Science, Rutgers University, New Jersey;
- Prof. Naciye Selin Senocak, Director of Diplomatic and Strategic Studies Center;
- Dr. Walter Schwimmer, Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Deputy Chairman of the SuBo;
- Dr. Rupert Graf Strachwitz, Chairman of the Board, Maecenata Foundation, Director, Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society;
- Mr. Urs UnkaufAdvisor for Diplomacy at German Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade (BWA);
- Mr. Ruben Vardanyan, President of LLC VARDANYAN, BROITMAN AND PARTNERS, Co-Founder of RVVZ Foundation;
- Dr. Henry Wang, President and Co-founder of the Center for China and Globalisation(CCG);
- Dr. Heloise Weber, Senior Lecturer at School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland;
- Dr. Martin Weber, Senior Lecturer at School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland;
- Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute.
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