Cooperation in a Post-Western World: Challenges and future prospects

Michèle Roth, Cornelia Ulbert
Content Type
Working Paper
Institute for Development and Peace
The post-Cold War world has been characterised by global cooperation, largely driven by Western actors and based on the norms of Western liberalism. Today, global power shifts are accelerating. The Western liberal order finds itself in deep crisis. Its previous anchor, the United States (US), is no longer willing or able to run the system. Its most important former ally, the European Union (EU), is struggling with inte- gration fatigue. New nationalist movements in many Western countries are proliferating. In other parts of the world, too, people fear the impact of globalisa- tion and are seeking to regain national autonomy. What does this mean for the future of global cooper- ation? How can the wish for more national autonomy be reconciled with the need to cooperate in the face of unsustainable development, global inequality, conflict and gross violations of human rights? How do changing power constellations affect global cooper- ation? We suggest that new forms of governance will contribute to sustaining global cooperation. This paper uses the example of the Paris Agreement to illus- trate new forms of polycentric and multi-stakeholder transnational governance that are bottom-up rather than top-down. Moreover, constructive coalitions of the willing and more flexibility in global governance provisions might also be key for successful future cooperation.
Climate Change, International Cooperation, Governance, European Union, Post Cold War
Political Geography
United States, Europe, North America