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New Alliances for Global Public Goods? What emerging powers expect of Germany and the EU

Hero image description: Zhenbo Hou at SEF Expert Workshop 2014 Image credit:Zhenbo Hou Image license:Rights purchased


Within only a quarter-century, international relations have changed fundamentally more than just once. The unexpected overcoming of the bipolar world order has not led to an enduring and peaceful hegemony of the USA but to the diffuse multipolar system we live in today. The stability of this particular system is challenged by a wide range of (re-)emerging and newly established actors seeking influence, as well as by an increasing number of problems and conflicts which require global solutions. On the one hand, this increased complexity can be perceived as an obstacle to successful international negotiations and the efficient provision of global public goods (GPGs). On the other hand, a polycentric world order offers great potential. The (re-)emerging powers in particular can potentially contribute to more just and efficient global governance, not only by bringing in new ideas and solutions but also by offering new opportunities to build coalitions for creating and implementing certain norms and agendas. 

ODI's Zhenbo Hou spoke at the 2014 International sef Expert Workshop with 30 stakeholders and researchers to discuss this potential. The debate focused especially on the prerequisites for new alliances and coalitions as well as on their impact on the provision of GPGs. Another key question raised in the discussion was whether there is a need for these coalitions to be embedded in a universal institutional framework and if so, what the constitution of this framework ideally would have to be. The role the European Union and particularly Germany can play in the process of building new coalitions was intensively discussed as well.