Unity for the benefit of all (en)
According to the World Economic Forum, by 2023, the G7 group of industrialized nations is estimated to represent only one-quarter of global GDP, with global growth and trade emerging from developing countries.
How should the multilateral system adapt to emergent actors, interests and ideas?
Multilateralism has continuously evolved to adapt to changes on the international scene. Over the past 100 years, the founding principles of collective endeavour between countries have inspired action at an international level, including the establishment of the United Nations 75 years ago.
Today’s problems transcend borders like never before. One only has to look at climate change, migration and indeed, pandemics. Artificial intelligence, the digital revolution and going green to compete will throw up new opportunities – but the increasing economic inequalities will give rise to new challenges.
Responses to these concerns are not within the power of governments to deliver alone. Others must rise to the occasion: the private sector, multinationals, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and think tanks need to become an integral part of multilateral processes.
The Sustainable Development Goals, for instance, are the result of a ‘new’ form of multilateralism, an UN-led process that involves its 193 member states and global civil society.
The United Nations is needed today more than ever before. But it knows that it has to evolve. As part of its 75th anniversary, the UN ran a global public survey, asking over 1 million people how they see the UN and the future. The majority welcomed the institution and would like to see it become more innovative and inclusive.
The contributions in this issue open a discussion on how a revitalized multilateralism could benefit micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the long run, as they are the backbone – and the future − of the world’s economy. MSMEs can take advantage of opportunities to enter global value chains and increase value addition within an effective multilateral trading system. However, they face particular hardships in the light of COVID-19, climate change and the rise of digitalization.
We have brought into the conversation the Director-General of the UN office in Geneva, the Vice President of Switzerland and the Deputy Director of the World Trade Organization. We collected the views of representative from the African Development Bank, the Brookings Institution and academia. And we gave the word to entrepreneurs from Guatemala, Kenya and Nepal.
There is hope, and there is a way, they say.
Join our discussion. We count on your cooperation.