Global Governance: Rise and Fall of Multilateralism

Global Governance: Rise and Fall of Multilateralism

The recent US-WHO spat on alleged siding of latter with Beijing on Coronavirus issue marks a quiet important turn. As India also sidelines the advice of WHO relying on indigenous ICMR on its coronavirus fight, the face of Global Governance has undergone a total makeover.

The post World War II era saw primarily two global changes :

  1. The Rise of Democracy in erstwhile colonies brought forth notion of equality among states. These new states wished to have equal footing with their colonial masters on the global footing. Also,the World became concerned about socio-economic inequalities among nations.
  2. The horrors of the World Wars scarred all the nations, thus they felt a need to ensure that such large scale and prolonged conflicts are prevented for the global good. In the decades following the Wars, the world entered the Cold war era, worrying humanity about threats of a disturbed Balance of Power.

These two reasons led the formation of United Nations Organization and its expansion in subsequent years. The World Bank,IMF,WTO and various other arms of the global governance were born in subsequent decades. Moreover, Globalisation contributed to long supply chains spread across the globe bringing markets together. The transnational challenges of Global Warming and Climate Change have also prompted countries to form rules, sign conventions and hold summits.

In the Recent Era, we have witnessed some rapid changes in the Global Governance.

  • Rise in nationalism around the World has increased protectionism. US President’s “America First” and the BREXIT are clear examples.
  • Conventional Global institutions have become ineffective. For an instance, the stalling of WTO’s Dispute Resolution Panel.
  • The Rise of Microlateralism, like FATF, QUAD, G7- these informal institutions have grown in importance.

Problems in Global Governance

The large groupings like WTO and UN have various problems. They are largely dominated by powerful nations, making them undemocratic. For instance, the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014 and China’s Hongkong issue showed ineffectiveness of UN against powerful members.

The Rogue behaviour of China has also posed problems. The permanent membership of India in UNSC has been blocked by it. The constant push to Kashmir issue by China also stalls the cordination in these institutions. Moreover, the aggressive South China Sea policy and BRI are threat to Balance of Power.

These institutions are quiet rigid and thus are largely ineffective on focussing on problems. Rather, most of time goes on procedures and meetings without a firm decision.

Way Forward

The rise of microlateralism has provided an alternative. Informal groupings with fewer members, like FATF and OECD, have proved more effective. Recently, the FATF grey listing of Pakistan has built enough pressure on it to act on terrorism. The soft law, which is free of its rigidity, has proved more effective in giving results.

India’s interests too lie in these. The groupings like BRICS are old ,and now dynamics for India have changed. It should focus on QUAD to balance the narative in Indo-Pacific region .Also, on economic and policy front, G20 has come to forefront. Recent video conference of G 20 amid coronavirus has highlighted its importance.

In these changing times ,India needs to bring a make over in its policies too. The World is surely at an important juncture at present, move played right are critical to India’s rise as a global superpower.


Vaibhav Dixit

Vaibhav Dixit

I am a student in IIT BHU, and I like chess, reading and basketball.

Vaibhav Dixit

I am a student in IIT BHU, and I like chess, reading and basketball.

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