The global COVID-19 pandemic is plunging the world into a socioeconomic and financial crisis of an unprecedented scale, in addition to the acute health crisis. Many of the gains achieved under the banner of the Sustainable Development Goals, an UN Agenda, are under threat. The crisis has exposed and exacerbated vulnerabilities and inequalities in both developing and developed countries, deepening poverty and exclusion and pushing the most vulnerable even further behind. This is a watershed moment.
On the other hand, the COVID-19 crisis also strengthens the call for a new multilateralism, in which global rules are calibrated towards the overarching goals of social and economic stability, shared prosperity and environmental sustainability and where chronic risks are recognized and addressed, enabling the protection of the most vulnerable countries.
Here goes five principles, according to the Committee for Development Policy of the UN (United Nations), to guide the design of a new multilateralism.
- Global rules should be calibrated towards the overarching goals of social and economic stability, shared prosperity and environmental sustainability and protected against capture by the most powerful players.
- States share common but differentiated responsibilities in a multilateral system built to advance global public goods and protect the global commons.
- The right of States to policy space to pursue national development strategies should be enshrined in global rules.
- Global regulations should be designed both to strengthen a dynamic international division of labour and to prevent destructive unilateral economic actions that prevent other nations from realizing common goals.
- Global public institutions must be accountable to their full membership, open to a diversity of viewpoints, cognizant of new voices and have balanced dispute resolution systems.
Some other issues should be urgently reformed to overcome not only the impacts of COVID-19, but also the longstanding challenges that have kept us from advancing towards equality and sustainability.
The benefits of globalization will be enhanced in the longer run if the multilateral system and national industrial policies support the development of productive structures that address the great challenges faced by the global community.