Public Session 2

Multipolarity in the Age of Covid-19: The Future of Global Solidarity

As the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the world, much of the world went into retreat and resorted to isolationism. Nationalism, already on the rise in much of the world, was amplified and mechanisms of regional and international solidarity and cooperation appeared unable to deal with the crisis.

Today, the credibility of many multilateral institutions is increasingly being called into question. From the European Union to the United Nations Security Council, the ability of key institutions to fulfil their stated mandates, from providing mechanisms for supranational solidarity to preventing atrocities and reversing injustices, is shrouded in doubt.

This session aims to discuss the future of international cooperation and multilateralism in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and explore frameworks to forge a more inclusive and equitable international order through the reconstruction, repurposing and reform of institutions that make up the core of the international system in order to address the immense collective challenges of this era.

Discussion Themes

This session intends to discuss the following:

• How has interstate cooperation been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic?

• How has the pandemic exposed the frailty of some of the core assumptions of globalisation, multilateralism and international cooperation?

• Can the global response to the pandemic be considered a failure? If yes, how might this narrative impact the rise of revisionist, right-wing nationalist movements who believe that the shortcomings of a collective response have validated elements of their worldview?

• How will the re-emergence of the state impact possible trends towards isolationism and protectionism?

• Is reforming international institutions sufficient for re-building confidence or are new institutions required?

• What does the future hold for multilateralism and international cooperation? How will states navigate newly emerging global dynamics?