UNITED NATIONS - The year of 2017, which has witnessed snowballing grave challenges and threats to the world, has also seen the United Nations making strenuous efforts in defending multilateralism in all its endeavors of global governance.
Although unilateralism or isolationism has been sounding alarm during the year, it"s a consolation that an increasing number of countries are realizing that no country can cope with unrivaled challenges and threats on its own because, as the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres put it, "the interconnected nature of today"s global trends unequivocally demonstrates that countries cannot manage these risks alone."
"Acting together is the most effective way to fight climate change, global terrorism and the threat of new pandemics and is the only way to manage forced displacements and migratory flows in a humane manner," said the UN chief in his annual work report to the world body.
Throughout the year, while global governance has been once and again challenged by unpleasant noises, there has been a growing call across the world for multilateralism.
"Year One of America First: Global Governance in 2017," an article published on the website of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations on Dec. 28, shows that after Donald Trump"s win in the U.S. presidential election last year, many experts predicted that 2017 would be "a tumultuous year for international cooperation."
Since January, President Trump"s "America First" policies have seen the United States abdicate its global leadership role. "Yet contrary to expectations, multilateral cooperation on pressing issues like climate change and migration has continued, as other states have stepped up to lead," it said.
Despite all the tumult, the world has recorded several important achievements for multilateralism alongside the setbacks, it added.
Noting that Trump"s largest blow to international cooperation came in June when he announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, the author said that early reactions suggested that other countries might respond in kind, reneging on their commitments and stalling overall progress on environmental governance.
"Nevertheless, this November"s climate conference in Bonn, aimed at finalizing aspects of the Paris Agreement, was a success. Participating states secured additional funding for climate initiatives and agreed to several objectives in the fields of agriculture, indigenous rights, and gender equality in climate governance," it said.
The author commended French President Emmanuel Macron for hosting a separate global climate conference this December, raising additional funds to meet Paris commitments.
"And while the Trump administration signaled its intent to abandon the agreement, many U.S. states, cities, and companies have stepped into the void, pledging commitments of their own. The successes in Bonn and Paris, combined with near-unanimous international support for the Paris Accord, indicate that multilateral cooperation on climate change will continue without U.S. leadership, even if the politics looks challenging."
The author also gave the thumb-up to the global community in achieving success in international trade although Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and threats to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
"Neither deal is dead yet," the author noted.
The author also extolled the international community on achieving success in migration, non-proliferation and upholding of international institutions.