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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 16 October 2020

The message in the Peace Nobel — multilateralism

  • Paradoxical world - cross-national and global challenges has significantly increased – world needs cooperate and collaborate – nations are drifting apart
  • There are no national or regional boundaries for COVID-19
  • Expectation – countries with technological and financial capabilities, would agree to pool their resources together to work on an effective and affordable anti-virus vaccine.
  • Instead, there are several parallel national efforts under way even as the World Health Organization (WHO) has put together a Covax alliance for the same purpose.
  • There is a competitive compulsion at work which may be appropriate in economic and commercial domains.
  • When the lives of people are at stake, active collaboration would have enhanced our collective ability to overcome what has become a public health-cum-economic crisis.
  • But we live in an era when nationalist urges, fuelled by a political opportunism, diminish the appeal of international cooperation.
  • As pointed out by Nicholas Eberstadt of The National Bureau of Asian Research, “The post pandemic world will have no choice but to contend at last with a problem long in the making: the awful dilemma of global integration without solidarity.”
  • Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme (WFP) - important message is - we need multilateralism as an expression of international solidarity.
  • Pandemic is reversing the substantial gains made in the fight against poverty.
  • WFP - 132 million more people could become malnourished as a consequence of the pandemic.
  • 690 million people go to bed each night on an empty stomach - 100 million or more will be added
  • UN at 75 - has kept alive the notion of international solidarity and cooperation - it has become increasingly marginal in mobilising international responses to global challenges, the fault lies with its most powerful member countries.
  • They have deprived the UN of resources.
  • Then as well, UN is now an essential part of the fabric of international relations.
  • Prime Minister Modi: “India firmly believes that the path to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity is through multilateralism. As children of Planet Earth we must join hands to address our common challenges and achieve our common goals.”
  • There is a network of multilateral institutions, several as part of the UN system.
  • Others are inter-governmental in nature; still others may be non-governmental of a hybrid character.
  • This is a network which enables governance in areas which require coordination among nation states and set norms to regulate the behaviour of states so as to avoid conflict and to ensure both equitable burden sharing and, equally, a fair distribution of benefits.
  • While there are multilateral institutions they have become platforms for contestations among their member states.
  • When participating in multilateral negotiations - concede as little as possible, and extract as much as you can.
  • If all delegations work on the same brief, is it any wonder that even a supposedly “successful” outcome is invariably the least common denominator?
  • This may be appropriate when dealing with trade or security matters but not in tackling global challenges such as climate change or the current pandemic.
  • Given the scale, urgency and seriousness of the challenges we confront, we need maximal, not minimal, responses.
  • The dynamics of negotiations and their outcomes would dramatically change if delegations came with a brief to contribute as much as possible within the limitation of resources and demand the minimum in terms of assessed needs.
  • Globalisation may have stalled, but as we become increasingly digitised, there will be more, not less, globalisation.
  • Globalisation is driven by technology and as long as technology remains the key driver of economic growth, there is no escape from globalisation.
  • Don’t we need to first focus on getting our domestic imperatives right and then think of international cooperation? In the contemporary world, the line separating the domestic from the external has become increasingly blurred.
  • In tackling domestic challenges deeper external engagement is often indispensable.
  • This is certainly true of climate change.
  • Even if India’s carbon emissions became zero tomorrow, climate change would continue to affect us if others do not also reduce their emissions.
  • If there had been a robust and truly global early warning system, perhaps Coronavirus could have been contained.

The thread in challenges

  • Inter-connectedness among various challenges
  • For example, food, energy and water security are inter-linked with strong feedback loops .
  • Enhancing food security may lead to diminished water and energy security.
  • Raising crop yields with current agricultural strategies means higher incremental use of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides.
  • The SDGs are cross-domain but also cross-national in character, and hence demand greater multilateral cooperation in order to succeed.

  • Finally, this also points to the need for a more democratic world order since lack of cooperation from even a single state may frustrate success in tackling a global challenge.
  • A fresh pandemic may erupt in any remote corner of the world and spread throughout the globe.
  • Prevention cannot be achieved through coercion, only through cooperation.
  • It is only multilateralism that makes this possible.

Dealing with a deluge

  • On October 13, the monthly average rainfall of Hyderabad for October (103.6 mm according to Skymet) was surpassed on a single day when 192 mm of rain fell.
  • Highest rainfall for October recorded in Telangana’s capital since 1903.
  • This is rare and a rain-related disaster event that is difficult to plan for.
  • Floods and deluges, like any other disaster, disproportionately affect the poor.
  • But the extent of the damage and the turmoil show a lack of preparation and disaster mitigation, a problem that plagues most urban centres in the country.
  • Construction over lake beds and encroachments of drainage channels have been identified as problems that have exacerbated flooding and inundation in the city in the past (the deluge in August 2000, for example).
  • Besides lakes and canals, wetlands and watersheds play a vital role in absorbing excess rainfall, but regrettably, rapid urbanisation in the twin cities has resulted in the loss of a large portion of the wetlands.


  • PM Modi reviews research & vaccine deployment ecosystem against COVID-19
  • Govt lifts all restrictions on export of alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • PM to release commemorative coin to mark 75th Anniversary of FAO
  • UP govt decides to set up women help desk in every police station of state
  • Govt purchases over 62 LMT of paddy from 5.33 lakh farmers
  • India to deliver Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhuvir to Myanmar Navy
  • India's first Oscar winner Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya passes away
  • Govt urges all citizens to contribute to Armed Forces Flag Day Fund
  • Investigation into Sushant Singh Rajput death case stil on: CBI
  • Investigation into Sushant Singh Rajput death case stil on: CBI
  • Global Handwashing Day being observed today
  • Bangladesh key partner in Indo-pacific region: US
  • Beijing city tightens rules for entry of people from COVID infection hit Qingdao