Press release

International Cooperation During the COVID-19: Balancing the Health Crisis and Great Power Competition: RECAP


Monday, 26 April 2021

10:00 CET

Great power competition is likely to remain a characteristic feature of global dynamics for the foreseeable future. While recognizing this fact, it is equally important to minimize the risks of the deficiencies embodied by the current international system and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the 26th of April 2021, GLOBSEC organized an online forum with high-level stakeholders from the public sector representing the European Parliament, the CEE region and Taiwan, where we addressed the following issues:

  • How to better manage international cooperation in a world that will continue to be deeply interconnected, but whose current international institutions are underperforming?
  • How do we restore action-oriented and effective leadership in international organizations?
  • What kind of reforms in international organizations would improve transparency and set up mechanisms to demand accountability on critical decisions?

There was a general consensus among the stakeholders that in our increasingly interconnected world, major global crises such as the one posed by the COVID-19 pandemic can be only solved through multilateral mechanisms based on the principles of universality and inclusivity.  Yet considering the ongoing crisis of multilateralism, it has become more and more important to strengthen cooperation among democratic allies.

We have witnessed a global trend of politicization of the pandemic, where politics overshadows health issues. We also need to tackle the crisis of effective leadership in international organizations. We need more transparency, professionalism and substance to prevail over the politicization of these organizations.

At the same time, the principle of international solidarity needs to be emphasized - nobody should be left alone to tackle the pandemic by themselves, and there should be vibrant global cooperation to ensure universal access to affordable vaccines. Countries which share the same democratic values should be more vocal in pointing out the politicization of the pandemic; the EU and other democratic allies need a more coordinated approach to support all countries to get access to WHO.