75 years after the end of World War Two and the founding of the United Nations, this year’s Rhodes report looks at the future of multilateralism.
In keeping with the DOC’s own two-decade history of dialogical methodology, the report builds on a series of dialogues convened throughout 2020. Whilst the ongoing global health crisis naturally hastened the sense of common purpose to the discussions, the DOC’s choice of theme predated the virus outbreak. Gathered online during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, a discussion group of approximately 40 leading thinkers focused on values and policy proposals underpinning a multilateralism that can work for all.
Voices from every continent also spanned the political spectrum and gave the process a multilateral flavour that is reflected by the edited contributions to the report. These were facilitated by project leader and chief author Richard Higgott, Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy at Warwick University, Research Professor at the Institute for European Studies and Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy at Vesalius College, the Vrije Universiteit Brussels.
Meanwhile, in the lead up to the United Nations’ 75th General Assembly session, the UN conducted a global listening exercise to which the DOC was pleased to contribute. The DOC’s own consultative survey on multilateral reform produced a number of standout proposals, highlights of which are also included in the report.
At a time of stark polarisation, both globally and within societies around the world, the need for dialogue is urgent. Although the multilateralism of 2020 must naturally differ from that of 1945, a healthy and functioning multilateral system is just as necessary now as it was then.
The 2020 Rhodes report asks ‘Can multilateral cooperation be saved?’ and does so through a focus on values and the nature of human solidarity and community around the world, on various ‘how to…?’ multilateral institutional questions, and by examining the need for the leadership and enlightened self-interest – institutional and personal – needed to shape a multilateralism that works for all.