Rules-based multilateralism for a peaceful, prosperous future

NOTES FROM THE EU DELEGATION - Luc Véron - The Philippine Star

In today’s interconnected world, countries need help to achieve their goals and address their pressing global challenges. They need to work with other countries, international organizations and non-state actors to find collective solutions to global problems, such as climate change, poverty, hunger, health issues and conflict. International cooperation and relations ruled by international law, rather than the law of the strongest, are the basis for peaceful coexistence and shared prosperity. This message resonates more than ever for the EU as we approach one year since the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine has brought high-intensity conflict back to Europe. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine blatantly violates international law, including the UN Charter. It has caused a loss of human lives and endless suffering for the Ukrainian people. Five United Nations General Assembly resolutions, all of which have been supported by the Philippines, have confirmed Russia’s international condemnation and isolation, the last one just this Feb. 23 demanding Russia to leave Ukraine.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has also caused economic shockwaves globally, including in the Philippines, by affecting food security, inflation and disruption of supply chains in key markets. The EU has been at the forefront of global efforts to support its partners in coping with food insecurity and mitigating the global consequences of Russia’s war of aggression.

We work with the Department of Agriculture and the Mindanao Development Authority in the Philippines to strengthen agricultural production and agro-value chains. Globally, we quickly responded to the food crisis by stepping up emergency relief, boosting local food production systems, keeping the markets open and getting Ukrainian grain out of the country via alternative transportation routes. We also worked with partners to promote a multilateral response to the situation. For example, the UN deal to unblock some of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and the EU Solidarity Lanes were crucial to ensure that food prices dropped on the global markets.

In recent years, we have also observed increased militarization and destabilizing actions in the South China Sea. International law and maritime security should be upheld in this region, as in any other maritime area. Disputes must be resolved peacefully and comply with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The threat or use of force and provocative actions should be excluded.

These developments, and others, show that we are now at a crossroads: Do we choose to retreat into egocentric nationalisms, environmental collapse, economic protectionism and increasing risk of ever-escalating conflicts, or do we decide to cooperate globally in a constructive spirit to address the major global problems of our time through a well-functioning system of rules-based multilateralism. To me, the choice is very clear.

Multilateralism has been and will remain the cardinal principle of the EU as the most effective means to govern global relations for everyone’s benefit. By working collectively, countries can achieve outcomes that would not be possible if they acted alone. Moreover, multilateralism provides a platform for countries to learn from each other and peacefully reduce tensions and conflicts.

This helps promote stability and security at the global level, which is essential in an increasingly interconnected world where a crisis in one area can have far-reaching effects on other regions. In addition, rules-based multilateralism can stimulate economic growth and create new opportunities for businesses and workers while ensuring that countries can trade on a level playing field. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, multilateral forums provide a platform for all nations, including smaller and less developed ones, to sit at the global affairs table. This helps to ensure everyone’s perspectives are considered when decisions that affect the entire world are made.

By its very nature, multilateralism is subject to continuous adaptation. Today’s world no longer resembles what it was when the UN was set up 75 years ago. The multilateral order needs to be reinvigorated to make it fit to cope with the global challenges and geopolitics of the 21st century. To remain legitimate, it must respond to citizens’ growing demands for transparency, quality, inclusiveness and delivery. The EU will therefore continue to support necessary reforms and modernization of multilateral institutions. We aim to uphold what works, reform what needs to change and extend global governance to new areas. We will work towards ensuring a genuinely inclusive multilateralism, where the voices of civil society, the private sector, social partners and other key stakeholders count.

As President Marcos aptly expressed it last September in his speech at the UN General Assembly, “No nation stands alone. Achieving our national ambition requires a global environment that creates conditions that allow all nations, including ours, to thrive in peace. Hence, we need the United Nations to continue to work. And we, the Philippines, are determined to be part of that solution.”

The peace and prosperity of the European Union and of the Philippines depend on the peace and prosperity of the rest of the world and on a healthy planet. A well-functioning, reliable and efficient multilateral system is essential to achieve those goals. So let us work together to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for all!

*      *      *

Luc Véron is Ambassador of the European Union to the Philippines.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with