multilateralism_bp_Getty_Images Getty Images

Multilateralism Is the Only Way Forward

Since the end of World War II, multilateral institutions have helped countries around the world avoid catastrophic wars and achieve unprecedented levels of economic growth. But with resentment against the very idea of international cooperation on the rise, multilateralism must address the needs of those who have missed out on its benefits.

PARIS – International cooperation is under strain. The voices of protectionism and nationalism are gaining strength, and governments are increasingly pursuing policy goals through unilateral or ad hoc measures, rather than by working together.

Even against this backdrop, it remains abundantly clear that effective international cooperation improves economic outcomes and everyday lives. The automatic exchange of financial information based on the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard has allowed governments to collect close to €85 billion ($99 billion) in additional tax revenue worldwide; this money can help fund better social policies. Under the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, business bribes are now a criminal offense in 43 countries. And thanks to the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment, more than 70 countries are making better-informed decisions about education policies for their children.

These are just a sample of the benefits that multilateral institutions deliver for modern societies. But the value of multilateralism itself transcends any particular program or policy.