Multilateralism January 2024

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International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, 24 April
What is multilateralism? Multilateralism is often defined in opposition to bilateralism and unilateralism. Strictly speaking, it indicates a form of cooperation between at least three States.
As the most representative international organization and the utmost expression of multilateralism, the United Nations is the main instrument to address multifaceted and complex global challenges through collective action.
The purpose of multilateralismA framework for democracies in a geopolitically competitive world —Will Moreland (Brookings September 2019)

The NATO Summit 2024
9-10-11 July
At the Washington Summit, we will demonstrate NATO’s unity and strength once again – in support of Ukraine, and to keep all our people and values safe. – Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General

A Nordic-Baltic message to Washington: Future-proofing NATO begins in Ukraine
(Atlantic Council) The security environment has changed in the Nordic and Baltic regions, not only with Sweden and Finland joining NATO, but also with the rise of cyber and information threats and with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“In a sense, it’s the old mission coming back with a vengeance,” said Norway’s foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, at an Atlantic Council event on Tuesday. “And if we didn’t have NATO, we’d have to invent it immediately.”
Each of the eight Nordic and Baltic foreign ministers and senior officials gathered for the event agreed that they now feel safer with Sweden and Finland having joined the Alliance. Sweden’s foreign minister, Tobias Billström, noted that it was like a “coming home” for them, as joining NATO capped off a thirty-year process of growing closer to the Alliance. Political State Secretary of Finland Pasi Rajala said that joining has been a “big mind shift” for Finns, who have come to realize that they are “no longer alone” in defense.
Putin, Xi, Orbán, and Modi provide a disturbing backdrop to the start of the NATO Summit
Orbán’s rogue relations with Russia and China come as he takes over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, something Xi acknowledged as an opportunity, just days after the European Union kicked off new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles. Orbán stopped in Moscow before he flew on to Beijing.
During his visit to Moscow, Modi called Russia an “all-weather friend” and a “trusted ally.” Putin reciprocated the sentiment by welcoming his “dear friend” to his official residence.
Underpinning the Russia-India partnership is energy. India is the third-biggest crude oil importer in the world, and Russia is its single largest source of seaborne oil, accounting for around 40 percent of imports in recent months, up from just 2 percent in 2021.
8 July
Live expertise and behind-the-scenes insight as NATO leaders gather at the Washington summit
By Atlantic Council experts
Over the past seventy-five years, NATO has established its place among the most powerful military alliances in history. But how will it stay fit for the future?
This week, NATO leaders are gathering in Washington, DC to grapple with that big question and many others, ranging from Ukraine’s path forward with NATO to the Alliance’s collective defense spending and coordination.
The Washington Summit: What’s at Stake For NATO’s 75th Anniversary
For some Europeans, the Washington Summit is seen as potentially the last near-term opportunity to shore up the transatlantic relationship. US security assistance remains essential for European defense. But Russia’s attack on Ukraine highlighted why Europe needed to do more for effective deterrence. As a result, Europe has stepped up investment, with more than 18 NATO members now spending at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense.

20 June
‘Teflon Mark’ Rutte set to bring consensus-building skills from Dutch politics as next NATO chief
(AP) — Over the course of more than a dozen years at the top of Dutch politics, Mark Rutte got to know a thing or two about finding consensus among fractious coalition partners. Now he’s on track to bring the experience of leading four Dutch multiparty governments to the international stage as NATO’s new secretary general.
On Thursday, Romania’s president withdrew from the race for the alliance’s top job, leaving Rutte the only remaining candidate and all but certain to head the world’s biggest military organization from October.
Rutte’s appointment could be sealed by a meeting of NATO ambassadors in the coming days, or when President Joe Biden and his NATO counterparts meet for a summit in Washington on July 9-11.

16 June
Joint Communiqué on a Peace Framework adopted at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine
The ongoing war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine continues to cause large-scale human suffering and destruction, and to create risks and crises with global repercussions for the world. We gathered in Switzerland on 15-16 June 2024 to enhance a high-level dialogue on pathways towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace for Ukraine. We reiterated resolutions A/RES/ES-11/1 and A/RES/ES-11/6 adopted at the UN General Assembly and underscored our commitment to upholding International Law including the United Nations Charter.
In particular, we reaffirm our commitment to refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine, within their internationally recognized borders, including territorial waters, and the resolution of disputes through peaceful means as principles of international law.
We, furthermore, have a common vision on the following crucial aspects:
1. Firstly, any use of nuclear energy and nuclear installations must be safe, secured, safe-guarded and environmentally sound. Ukrainian nuclear power plants and installations, including Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, must operate safely and securely under full sovereign control of Ukraine and in line with IAEA principles and under its supervision.
Any threat or use of nuclear weapons in the context of the ongoing war against Ukraine is inadmissible.
2. Secondly, global food security depends on uninterrupted manufacturing and supply of food products. In this regard, free, full and safe commercial navigation, as well as access to sea ports in the Black and Azov Seas, are critical. Attacks on merchant ships in ports and along the entire route, as well as against civilian ports and civilian port infrastructure, are unacceptable.
Food security must not be weaponized in any way. Ukrainian agricultural products should be securely and freely provided to interested third countries.
3. Thirdly, all prisoners of war must be released by complete exchange. All deported and unlawfully displaced Ukrainian children, and all other Ukrainian civilians who were unlawfully detained, must be returned to Ukraine.
Saudi Arabia, India and South Africa among countries opting out of Ukraine declaration – as it happened
Nations also including Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and United Arab Emirates did not sign final communique at summit on peace, says Swiss government
Switzerland, which hosted the summit, said over 90 countries took part in the talks, and the vast majority of them signed up to the communique, according to a list which the Swiss organisers posted at the close of proceedings.
World leaders join Ukraine summit in test of Kyiv’s peace push
Summit aims to pressure Russia to end Ukraine war
Absence of China, Russia seen limiting potential impact
Putin outlines conditions to end war on eve of gathering
West must get out of ‘echo chamber’, Austrian leader says
Potential next host Saudi Arabia: difficult compromise needed
(Reuters) – World leaders gathered at a Swiss Alpine resort on Saturday to seek broader consensus for Ukraine’s peace proposals at a summit shunned by China and dismissed as a waste of time by Russia, which pushed its own rival ceasefire plans from afar.
More than 90 countries took part, but China’s absence in particular dimmed hopes the summit would show Russia as globally isolated, while recent military reverses have put Kyiv on the back foot. The war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas has also diverted the world’s attention from Ukraine.
U.S. President Joe Biden sent his deputy Kamala Harris to represent him – a decision that had riled Kyiv.
Harris announced more than in energy and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, where infrastructure has been pounded by Russian air strikes since the 2022 full-scale invasion.
On the eve of the summit, Putin said Russia would end the war if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over four provinces claimed by Moscow. The conditions apparently reflected Moscow’s growing confidence its forces have the upper hand.

13-15 June
G7 Leaders’ Apulia Summit
14 June
G7 Apulia Leaders’ Communiqué full text
(The White House) We, the Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), gathered in Apulia to reaffirm our enduring unity and determination to meet global challenges at a crucial moment in history and as the international community confronts multiple interconnected crises.
13 June
Weakened Leaders of the West Gather in Italy to Discuss an Unruly World
The Group of 7 gathers major industrialized countries, but its leaders are politically weak and Ukraine and Gaza remain unsolved.

31 May- 2 June
The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue is Asia’s premier defence summit. It’s a unique meeting where ministers debate the region’s most pressing security challenges, engage in important bilateral talks and come up with fresh approaches together.
Zelensky comes to Asia and scolds China
Ukraine’s president is trying to enlist leaders in Asia into a greater project of diplomacy.
(WaPo) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to [Singapore] in a bid to gin up more global support for his embattled country. Zelensky was among dozens of high-level leaders to appear at this past weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue, a major annual security forum that convenes the continent’s top defense officials. His country’s outgunned and outmanned military is reckoning with setbacks on the battlefield, including a fresh Russian offensive on the city of Kharkiv. But while Zelensky’s entreaties to Western governments have often hinged on requests for weaponry and munitions to stave off the Russian invaders, he wanted to enlist his Asian interlocutors into a greater project of diplomacy.

US-China, wars, and South China Sea likely to dominate Asian security meeting
Analysts say the dialogue is useful for the bilateral and multilateral military-to-military meetings on the sidelines of plenary sessions and speeches delivered by defence ministers
(Reuters) – The fraught relationship between China and the United States is expected to loom over Asia’s top security meeting this week, as are the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and simmering South China Sea tensions.
The Shangri-La Dialogue, which attracts top defence officials, senior military officers, diplomats, weapons makers and security analysts from around the globe, will take place from May 31 to June 2 in Singapore.
About 600 delegates from nearly 50 countries will attend the meeting, which opens with a keynote address by Filipino President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr, who has said new South China Sea rules outlined by China’s coast guard were an escalation and “worrisome”.
Marcos told reporters on Wednesday it was significant that he was asked to talk about the South China Sea and that he would present his country’s position on the issue.

27 May
Secretary General outlines key issues for Washington Summit at NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bulgaria
When Allied leaders meet in July, they will take decisions on strengthening deterrence and defence, long-term support to Ukraine, and NATO’s global partnerships. On deterrence and defence, Mr Stoltenberg welcomed that Allies are “investing in new, modern high-end military capabilities” and “increasing the readiness of our forces,” all underpinned by major increases in defence spending across the Alliance. On support to Ukraine, the Secretary General underlined an urgent need to step up now, but also for the long haul. “I have suggested that at the Summit, we agree a big NATO role in coordinating and providing security assistance and training for Ukraine,” he said. “I strongly believe that we need a firmer, stronger institutionalized structure for the support. Ad-hoc, short term, voluntary announcements are good – but in the long term, we need more predictable, stronger support for Ukraine.” On partnerships, Mr Stoltenberg stressed that “security is not regional, security is global,” pointing to the importance of working with partners from the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

22 May
G7 finance chiefs seek common line on Russian assets, China
By Gavin Jones and Giuseppe Fonte
G7 finance chiefs gather in Stresa, Italy on May 24-25
US pushing for Ukraine loan backed by Russian assets
Technical aspects elusive, deal not expected this week
G7 seeking united front against Chinese trade threat
Global corporate tax, wealth tax also on G7 table

28-29 April
A New Vision for Global Development
WEF Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development
World Economic Forum convenes special meeting on global collaboration, growth and energy for development
28-29 April
Gaza on the agenda as top diplomats gather in Saudi Arabia
(WaPo) The world’s top diplomats are gathering in Saudi Arabia on Monday for the World Economic Forum, with Gaza cease-fire negotiations and regional stability set to dominate discussions on the sidelines. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France are among the expected attendees.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2024 highlighted the critical turning point the world faces, with economic downturn and inflation, lack of economic opportunity, disrupted supply chains for critical goods and energy, extreme weather, and conflicts among the most pressing issues within the next two years and climate, technology, migration and societal polarisation risks dominating over the next decade. Inclusive, purpose-driven dialogue – between business, government and civil society from across regions and across timeframes – will be crucial to improve outcomes on these and other global risks.
Leading the dialogue, 15 leaders from government, the private sector and international organisations will co-chair the event. Over half of participants – spanning companies, governmental entities and thought leaders – are from the Global South and emerging economies, with over 80 percent of heads of state from developing or emerging economies.

Secretary-General of ASEAN speaks at the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council Joint Regional Strategy Dialogue at the WEF Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth, and Energy for Development
In his remarks, Dr. Kao highlighted the need to strengthen the resiliency of both regions against external shock and uncertainties, redouble efforts on sustainable economic developments, and amplify potentials in new growth sectors to further advance the partnership between the two regions.

24 April
Explaining multilateralism in action
For the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, observed every year on 24 April, the European External Action Service launched a social media campaign to explain why Multilateralism Matters.
Multilateralism is under increasing strain and in need of urgent reform. But effective multilateralism is precisely what we need today, more than ever. | EU High Representative Josep Borrell
That is what the United Nations, the EU and other international organisations are all about: working through disagreements, finding common ground, and making progress together. There is no other way for countries or regions to tackle borderless challenges, such as the climate crisis, the global food security crisis, or global pandemics.
The International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace is an important reminder that we can only create a better and fairer future for everyone by working together.

18 April
G7 foreign ministers meet on Capri amid Israel-Iran tensions
(DW) The meeting of G7 foreign ministers on Capri will discuss a response to Tehran’s attack on Israel last weekend as fears of a wider Middle East conflict grow.
The meeting, which ends on Friday, is also to look at ways of aiding Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked invasion of its territory.

5 April
ASEAN finance leaders end meetings in Laos, pointing to challenges from geopolitics, volatile prices
(AP) Estimates for economic growth in members of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations vary but are generally near a robust 5% for 2024.
“…there are still challenges due to adverse financial spillovers from geopolitical tensions, volatility in global commodity prices,” [Laos Finance Minister Santiphab] Phomvihane said, also pointing to climate change, aging populations and rapid development of digitalization as key factors for the region.

3-4 April
NATO at 75: ‘The most powerful and successful alliance in history’
By Christopher Skaluba, Philippe Dickinson, and Dominykas Kaminskas
(Atlantic Council) History was made in the unimaginatively named Departmental Auditorium. That is the Washington, DC, room where, seventy-five years ago today, the North Atlantic Treaty was signed by representatives from twelve nations. The Alliance the treaty created, NATO, was born following two destructive world wars and a reasonable fear that Soviet aggression might soon set off a third. The Alliance sought to establish peace at a moment when such a notion seemed almost rebellious.
Seventy-five years is a long time. Long enough, at least, to take some things for granted. It’s reasonable to claim that this applies to the Alliance and the peace that it has helped ensure for its members for seventy-five years. NATO is nowadays seen as such a staple of the security architecture in the North Atlantic that even its members sometimes forget to reflect on just how powerful, diverse, and foundational to the modern world it has become.
NATO turns 75. Will it make it to 80?
(GZERO media) Through the Cold War, NATO had a clear mission to deter the Soviet Bloc. But as the Warsaw Pact and then the Soviet Union itself collapsed in 1991, what would become of the alliance?
Instead of guarding against Eastern Europe, NATO began absorbing former Soviet bloc countries and protecting the liberal democratic order more generally. In March 1999, the alliance welcomed Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary — and initiated a bombing campaign that ended the Serbian invasion of Kosovo.
Then, in 2001, the alliance’s mutual defense clause was invoked for the first time in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the US, leading to the multilateral International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. By 2004, another seven former Soviet and Warsaw Pact countries had joined.
Today, NATO has expanded to 32 countries with over 3.3 million active troops, 1 million armored vehicles, 20,000 aircraft, and 2,100 warships, all backed by the US, French, and British nuclear arsenals — without question the most powerful military force ever assembled.
Yet despite its strength, the alliance is beset by anxiety over its future. Should Donald Trump win reelection in November, planners from Ottawa to Ankara worry he will hollow out the alliance’s core and expose members to Russian predation while abandoning Ukraine to the cruel fate of partition, or worse.
The upside? Europeans are starting to get more serious about protecting themselves. The invasion of Ukraine spurred a 13% increase in defense spending in Europe 2022, and Sweden and Finland, both of which punch above their weight militarily, to join NATO. Most pressingly, NATO is working on a $100 billion fund to keep Ukraine in the fight — money Trump 2.0 couldn’t touch. (NATO to plan long-term Ukraine aid, mulls 100-billion euro fund)

28 March
The G7 needs a permanent secretariat. The 2024 elections cycle demonstrates why.
(Atlantic Council) … To ensure the G7 stays the course amid potential future political upheavals, pools its staff resources, and develops a separate policy-making capacity alongside its presidency, it must commit to establishing a permanent secretariat.

20 March
The Indo-Pacific Strategy’s Fatal Blind Spot
Carl Bildt
The Indo-Pacific narrative has its merits, and will undoubtedly remain important for shaping policies to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. The problem is that it threatens to distract Western leaders from an alternative framework – the Eurasian alliance of Russia and China – whose immediate relevance is undeniable.
(Project Syndicate) In pushing the Indo-Pacific line, Western strategists usually emphasize the importance of bringing India into the fold. But the real objective – though it is seldom stated explicitly – is to contain China in the region. The Indo-Pacific narrative undoubtedly has merits. It rests on a strong historical foundation, and the policies it has inspired are important for meeting many looming global challenges. The problem is that it also threatens to distract us from an equally important alternative narrative: the Eurasian one. Which is more immediately relevant to the challenges the West faces? While the Indo-Pacific framework has an obvious maritime foundation – framing the Indian and Pacific Oceans as the single most important geopolitical theater – the Eurasian one is almost completely terrestrial.
… Western strategic thinking urgently needs to adapt. Not only have China and Russia announced a “no-limits” partnership; they also happen to dominate the vast Eurasian landmass. Though there remain significant differences between the two powers – not to mention a sometimes-fierce historical rivalry – they are now united by a common determination to revise both the regional and the wider global order.

19 March
Advancing Summit for Democracy commitments: Progress and paths forward
The third Summit for Democracy (S4D3) kicked off this week in Seoul, South Korea amid global declines in democracy and the resurgence of authoritarian tendencies
(Brookings) The third Summit for Democracy (S4D3) in Seoul, Republic of Korea convened this week with a backdrop of serious and arguably worsening challenges to democracies globally. It’s imperative that this multilateral forum taking place in Seoul delivers on its ambitions to strengthen democratic institutions, reverse consequential backsliding globally, and tackle thorny problems, including corruption.

22 February
Brazil puts reform of UN at heart of its G20 presidency
International bodies are gripped by paralysis, Brazil tells meeting of foreign ministers, while David Cameron blasts ‘Putin and his cronies’
(The Guardian) Brazil has put the Bermuda triangle of international diplomacy – reform of the United Nations and other multilateral bodies – at the heart of its presidency of the G20, arguing that the war in Gaza and shifts in the economic power balance finally make change possible.
A two-day meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro heard a blunt attack by the UK foreign secretary, David Cameron, on the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, over the invasion of Ukraine.
But Brazil said it was trying to steer the G20 away from blame games to solutions. Brazil’s top diplomat, Mauro Vieira, said the explosion of global conflicts showed that international institutions such as the UN suffered from paralysis.

16-18 February
Munich Security Conference 2024
The Munich Security Conference (MSC) 2024 will once again offer an unique opportunity for high-level debates on the world’s most pressing security challenges. Additionally, the MSC, founded in the fall of 1963, will celebrate its 60th anniversary up to and during the next main conference.
The Backstory: The United States and NATO
(Foreign Affairs) With world leaders, diplomats, and military officials gathering in Munich this weekend for an annual security conference, European defense is top of mind. The war in Ukraine shows no sign of stopping, but much-needed aid for the country has stalled in the U.S. Congress, thanks to opposition from Republicans. Moreover, last weekend at a campaign rally, former U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to not protect NATO allies in the event of a Russian attack. Collective defense—the idea that an attack on one is an attack on all—is the core provision of the NATO alliance. But if fellow NATO members did not meet their defense spending targets, Trump said, he would encourage the Russians to do “whatever the hell they want.” His words sent shock waves throughout Europe; Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of NATO, warned that Trump’s comments threatened to “undermine the credibility of NATO’s deterrence.”
Strains and divisions within NATO have always existed and, as Dean Acheson wrote in a 1963 essay, were inevitable from the start.
The Practice of Partnership
By Dean Acheson
Published on January 1, 1963
Ukraine’s Allies Are Gaming Out a World in Which the US Retreats
Leaders, defense officials met at Munich security conference
Stalled US aid to Ukraine added to the meeting’s pessimism
By Natalia Drozdiak, Courtney McBride, and Arne Delfs
(Bloomberg) NATO members now talk privately about a Russian attack on one of them as a danger that demands an urgent response, as they grow to doubt that the US will maintain its traditional role of protecting Europe as part of the alliance.
On Friday President Joe Biden did his best to rule out the word ‘panic,’ but in tip-toeing around it did more than anyone else to describe Europe’s mood.
Munich security talks marked by global ‘lose-lose’ anxiety.
(BBC) It’s called the Munich Rule: engage and interact; don’t lecture or ignore one another.
But this year, at the 60th Munich Security Conference (MSC), two of the most talked-about people weren’t even here.
The MSC’s annual report warned that it could give rise to “lose-lose” dynamics among governments, “a downwards spiral that jeopardises co-operation and undermines the existing international order”.
“I think this has been the conference of a disordered world,” reflected David Miliband, the CEO and president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
“It’s a world dominated by impunity, where the guardrail stabilisers are not working and that’s why there’s so much disorder, not just in Ukraine and in Gaza and Israel, but more widely in places like Sudan, whose humanitarian crisis isn’t even getting on the agenda,” he said.
China foreign minister warns against decoupling at Munich Security Conference
(Reuters) – Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi warned the West that it would be making a historical mistake if it sought to decouple from China in the interests of reducing risk.
“Whoever tries de-sinicization in the name of de-risking would be making a historical mistake,” Wang said in a speech on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference.
His comments came amid calls over the last year from the United States and the European Union to reduce their dependence on China.
16 February
Navalny’s wife makes a dramatic appearance at a conference in Munich.
Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent
(NYT) Just hours after her husband was reported dead, Yulia Navalnaya made a dramatic, surprise appearance at a gathering of world leaders in Munich on Friday. Taking the stage, she denounced President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and vowed that he and his circle “will be brought to justice.”
The diplomats and political leaders at the Munich Security Conference were already reeling from reports that her husband, Aleksei A. Navalny, the Russian dissident, had died in prison under suspicious circumstances when Ms. Navalny stunned the hall by striding in. Conference organizers quickly wrapped up a session with Vice President Kamala Harris and turned the microphone over to Ms. Navalnaya.
… Ms. Navalnaya spoke clearly and calmly, with remarkable composure, her face etched with evident pain but under complete control. Standing at the lectern, she clasped her hands in front of her and stared straight ahead as if willing herself to focus on her message.
The audience was captivated and gave her an emotional standing ovation when she finished.
In the annals of international meetings, it would be hard to remember a more riveting moment, when the careful scripts of government leaders laden with diplomatic jargon fall to the wayside as life-and-death questions play out so intensely in front of them.
Ian Bremmer: Navalny’s death is a message to the West
Putin, the Kremlin responsible, of course, and also a direct message. I think it’s very clear to show the West to show the United States, to show NATO they can do what they want. They can act with impunity on their territory. They do not care if they are threatened. And a couple of years on the Russian position, despite all of the economic damage they’ve taken, all of the military damage they’ve taken is that they will continue to engage in this war [Ukraine]. They will continue to engage in human rights abuses. And it doesn’t matter how the Americans or Europeans respond. The Russians will wait them out.
And that is the message that is being sent today. It’s a very chilling message.
…ultimately, in an environment where rogue states feel like they have more ability to act on the global stage, Russia, Iran, North Korea, the so-called axis of resistance, terrorist actors, you will see more of this behavior. So the question is being put to the Munich Security Conference. Question is being put to NATO. Will you continue to work collectively? Will you take a stand against this sort of behavior? And Putin is watching that answer very, very carefully.
Pressure builds on Israel to ditch Rafah offensive as ministers gather in Munich
US secretary of state and foreign ministers from UK, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan join Israel at security conference
Western leaders are hoping a round of meetings at a security conference in Munich will put overwhelming pressure on Israel not to press ahead with a ground offensive in Rafah.
Almost all the key figures, save the Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, will be present in Munich on Friday, including foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan. The Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, and foreign minister, Israel Katz, will also attend along with three freed hostages, Raz Ben Ami, Adi Shoham and Aviva Siegel. Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, is flying in too.
The pressure on Israel to avoid a ground offensive is coming from almost all quarters, including allies such as the US, UK, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The shadow of a return to the international court of justice and a further Algerian-sponsored UN security council resolution is looming over Israel.

14 February
Ian Bremmer: Munich Security Conference 2024 –What to expect
(GZERO) …the value of the conference is becoming undermined. And it’s becoming undermined not because it doesn’t matter, but rather because leaders are less committed to it.
And that is a very deep concern. There’s no annual theme to this year’s conference, but every year they do put out an annual report. Came out a couple of days ago, and the theme this year was “lose-lose” dynamics. In other words, less focus on multilateralism, less focus on collective security, less focus on global cooperation and instead a prioritization of individual gain of countries and even of leaders. And that’s not a great backdrop against a incredibly contentious US election, a war between Russia-Ukraine that isn’t going very well, certainly not from the perspective of those that are attending the security conference and also a Middle East war that is expanding and threatens to get the Europeans and the Americans more and more involved. A couple of things that are worth paying attention to that may not be getting as much attention outside Germany.
4 things to know about the Munich Security Conference

NATO’s Trump problem
Ian Bremmer
(GZEROmedia) Former president and likely Republican nominee Donald Trump caused a ruckus across the pond over the weekend when he said that he would encourage Russia to attack any NATO member falling short on their defense spending goals (2% of GDP or more). Predictably, this got America’s European allies, most of whom were already pretty agitated about the prospect of a second Trump presidency, decidedly panicky.
It’s easy to see why. During his first term in the White House, Trump repeatedly threatened to pull back from longstanding US security commitments to NATO as a lever to force European allies to shoulder more of the financial burden of their defense and to secure favorable trade concessions. His latest remarks are the first, however, explicitly encouraging Russia – a country openly hostile to NATO and currently leading a war of aggression in Ukraine – to attack other NATO members. Despite significant increases in defense spending since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, European allies are still largely dependent on US military capabilities to maintain credible deterrence. If Trump were to act on his threats at a time when war is raging on Europe’s doorstep, Ukraine’s prospects for victory are shrinking, and Russia’s expansionist appetite remains unsated, Europe would find itself in an unenviable position.
At the same time, there is a point beneath Trump’s threats. It is indeed the case that most of the largest NATO economies – including Germany, France, Italy, and Spain – have been underinvesting in their own defense for decades, confident that the “peace dividend” would last forever or else that they could free-ride on the US security guarantee indefinitely…despite continued pleas from US presidents of both parties for them to become more co-equal partners in European security.

1 February
NATO Climate Change and Security Centre of Excellence to open in Montréal: What does it mean for Canadian security?
(The Conversation) This year Montréal is set to become the home for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s new Climate Change and Security Centre of Excellence (CCASCOE). The CCASCOE, as the name would suggest, is set to provide specific expertise on the environment and the impacts of climate change for NATO security.
12 July 2023
NATO Climate Change and Security Centre of Excellence
(Global Affairs Canada) At the July 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Anita Anand and representatives from 11 other Sponsoring Nations signed the founding document of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Climate Change and Security Centre of Excellence. The Centre will open in Montréal later in 2023.

26 January
A New Economic-Policy Agenda for Asia
Hoe Ee Khor and Runchana Pongsaparn
(Project Syndicate) …lower growth, higher inflation, and more public debt – which surged from around 93% of GDP, on average, in 2019 to 100% in 2022 in ASEAN+3 economies – makes unwinding them difficult.
… ASEAN+3 policymakers must also address longer-term structural challenges. Greater regional integration is essential, as it would increase countries’ resilience to the forces of fragmentation, reinforce efforts to mitigate climate change, and improve efficiency and productivity through faster digitalization. Some countries might need infrastructure development, labor-market reforms, industrial policies, regulatory changes, and a concerted effort to boost foreign direct investment and trade.

24 January
Non-Aligned Movement Reaffirms Multilateralism, Inclusive Trading System
In the Kampala Declaration, member countries commit to strengthening the UN as the primary multilateral organization and reaffirm their commitment to contribute positively to the Summit of the Future in September, “to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance”.
They support the reform of the international financial architecture, for the international financial system to be fit-for-purpose and help developing countries better address the current multiple crises, and commit to “work towards achieving a universal, rule-based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, fair, non-discriminatory, and equitable multilateral trading system”.
Member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) – a bloc of 120 developing countries championing international peace and security and a steady global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic – have agreed to make joint efforts to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) through development cooperation, acceleration of SDG investments, and reform of the international financial architecture, among other actions.
Non Aligned Movement Summit final Document- Kampala Declaration
19 –20 January 2024
We,the Heads of State and Government, gathered at the 19th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Kampala, Republic of Uganda, on 19 –20 January, 2024, under the theme, “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence”, reviewed progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the XVIII Summit of the Movement, held in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan, on 25 –26 October, 2019, and considered new and emerging challenges and issues of concern to NAM Member States and the broader international community….

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