RIYADH: Multilateralism and global governance, a central principle to solving international issues, is under threat and its decline was the main topic of discussion at the Think 20 (T20) inception conference, an intellectual backbone for the G20.
At the opening keynote address, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), told the attendees, “multilateralism can encourage dialogue and genuine collaboration if given the chance. Presumably alliances and teamwork are good things and that corporation under a role base system.”
During the T20 conference, the research and policy advice network for the G20, held at King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in Riyadh on Sunday, Al- Faisal mentioned that multilateralism is under pressure.
“Fear takes over many developed societies, high popular expectations, mistrusting, national and international systems and institutions and various political and economic concepts are the only ingredients that are promoting extreme nationalism and isolations, which is ironic since most of those societies have benefited from multilateral initiatives and are likely to continue to prosper a union rather than an isolation," Prince Turki said.
During the "Multilateralism for a Prosperous World” session, Prince Turki mentioned the issue of where international interests lies.
“I think we are facing a potential for divisions continued rather than being removed from the world stage whether it is on trade as we see the various issues that have come up in the world. These are all challenges that the world faces and I hope that through events like G20, specifically that T20, it should provide the research and the policy recommendations and find solutions,” he added.
Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim, vice minister of economy and planning, said in the aftermath WWII, organizations such as the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank were seen as instrumental institutions in which multilateral cooperation occurred. He also mentioned that one of the major challenges of the 21st century was trying to update current multilateral institutions to the rise of emerging nations.
Abdul Aziz Al-Rasheed, deputy minister of finance, pointed out that the main challenges that multilateral organizations are facing is that “they have delivered in terms efficiency but I think that they failed in terms of distribution.”
Al-Rasheed mentioned that Saudi Arabia’s G20 theme is to realize the opportunities of the 21st century, “multilateralism organizations and platforms have to deliver for all and not for the few,” he said.