Quadruple or Quits: Overlapping Multilateral Processes in 2015
Last month, CIC Senior Fellow Alex Evans was invited to speak to senior UK government officials about the links and overlaps between four key multilateral processes that will absorb the international community next year:
- The SDGs agenda, which will in September 2015 decide what should follow the Millennium Development Goals, which expire next year;
- The WTO’s next Ministerial summit, in December 2015;
- The crucial UNFCCC climate summit in Paris in the same month; and
- The first international summit on finance for development since the Doha summit in 2008, either in 2015 or early 2016.
At the confluence of these four agendas are some of the most critical issues of the 21st century – from extreme poverty and global inequality through to climate change and resource scarcity. And the politics involved will make the negotiations even trickier. Many countries, including Brazil, South Africa, India, and the UK, have upcoming elections, and this year’s G8 and G20 summits may do little to advance multilateral cooperation.
Given such difficult conditions, how should governments approach the four simultaneous processes? Should they be viewed as disparate agendas or as elements of a single grand bargain? What role will middle-income countries play in these talks? And will they tip the world towards scaled-up global cooperation to deal with an age of shared international challenges, or by default see the world’s governments sliding into a future of intensifying zero sum cooperation?