In the lead-up to the Rhodes Forum 2020, the DOC has launched the Berlin Call initiative to examine what the future of world order might look like after Covid-19 and to develop a series of policy recommendations for strengthening multilateralism in a post-pandemic era.
The first phase of the project saw the production of a concept paper, which was both descriptive and normative, identifying the principal characteristics of the contemporary order and how Covid-19 is affecting them, and asking how we might reform and re-boot the multilateral impetus for collective action problem-solving in international relations in these unfortunate times of increasingly nationalist and combative geopolitics.
The second stage of the project consisted of two roundtable discussions convening key figures in the international policymaking and scholarly communities. The purpose was to discuss the theme of the project using four big-ticket questions identified in the concept paper to structure the conversation. These questions were:
1. How should the risk of China-US bipolarity be mitigated?
2. What values should define a ‘humane’ internationalism?
3. What should be the role of the state, domestically and internationally?
4. How should multilateral institutions be (re)invented?
This report represents the third exercise in the project. It does not repeat in a systematic way the arguments of the concept paper. Rather, the report tries to faithfully represent the sense of the conversation on the four questions as they developed in both roundtable discussions. In so doing, the report points the way to the fourth exercise in the project – identifying a series of specific ‘next step’ policy questions and putative recommendations to be developed with the support of roundtable participants for discussion at the Rhodes Forum in October 2020. The Forum will seek to influence the ongoing and long-term debate on how we might move towards a renewed cooperative global order.
In the interests of trying to present an integrated report, this paper deals with the four questions horizontally across both sessions rather than discussing the two roundtables sequentially.
All participants in the roundtable discussions had the opportunity to clarify or anonymise their comments before this version of the report was published.
Richard Higgott, July 2020
You may also be interested in:
Promoting a new balanced internationalism: The ‘Merkel moment’?
DOC-IPSOS survey shows Europeans and Russians support stronger East-West cooperation
DOC launches global consultation on future of UN and international cooperation
European experts, under the auspices of DOC, write letter to EU High Representative Josep Borrell