Does global cooperation still matter?

Learn more about why we need global cooperation - now and in the future!

On June 26th 2020, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter.

On the occasion of this historic milestone, the New York office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) launched a social media campaign entitled “Why do we need global cooperation?” to highlight the critical importance of multilateralism and global cooperation today. As the world faces extraordinary challenges and the rules-based international order is increasingly under attack, we believe that global solidarity and positive international action are indispensable to overcoming the current crises and building a better tomorrow for everyone.

We asked some of the world's top experts for their thoughts on why we need global cooperation - now and in the future. Read the full statements below. 


Angela Kane, Former United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

The world has become wobbly - maybe it needed Covid-19 to concentrate political minds. The pandemic puts in stark evidence the interdependence of our world. The economy, supply chains, joint efforts to find a vaccine, the fragility of human existence itself – these issues are all interconnected.

It’s time to set aside short-term political payoffs for long-term universal gains. Today, we are looking for leadership, for the willingness to engage multilaterally. I appeal to the major powers to change course and support collaborative global governance, benefiting us all. Going-it-alone is not an option.


Ken Conca, Professor of International Relations, School of International Service, American University

“It has become fashionable to suggest that the United Nations has grown irrelevant—that global governance is either not needed or better left to informal arrangements. With COVID-19 and the collapse of the world economy, we see the disastrous consequences of such thinking.

Nowhere is the lesson clearer than on the environment. Do we want a future in which nations scramble to compete for breathable air and drinkable water, as they now compete for protective gear and hospital equipment? Do we think closing borders will protect us from climate change, the way some thought it could shield us from disease? We are seeing the disastrous cost of neglecting governments’ capacity to manage risks. The UN is a key piece of that capacity.“


Saskia Esken, Co-Leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Germany


"No state, no matter how large, can manage global challenges on its own. The corona pandemic demonstrates this and shows that more rather than less global cooperation is essential for the survival of many people in the world.

The same principle also applies to challenges like tackling climate change, securing peace and combating poverty. Global problems can only be solved if we show solidarity and trust in each other. 75 years after the founding of the United Nations, it is more important than ever to stabilize international organizations and to make them stronger for the challenges of tomorrow. International solidarity and cooperation are even more urgent because populist and nationalist movements around the world are trying to subvert them. We oppose this. We Social Democrats are convinced that we will only achieve a fairer, more peaceful and sustainable world through dialogue and cooperation. That is why we need more international cooperation, not less."


"Kein Staat, auch wenn er noch so groß ist, kann globale Herausforderungen im Alleingang bewältigen. Die Corona-Pandemie führt uns das eindrücklich vor Augen. Mehr statt weniger globale Kooperation ist überlebensnotwendig für viele Menschen auf der Welt.

Das gilt auch bei der Bewältigung des Klimawandels, bei der Friedenssicherung und der Armutsbekämpfung. Globale Probleme können nur gelöst werden, wenn wir solidarisch miteinander sind und Vertrauen zueinander haben. 75 Jahre nach Gründung der Vereinten Nationen gilt es mehr denn je, internationale Organisationen zu stabilisieren, um sie für morgen stark zu machen. Dies ist umso drängender, da populistische und nationalistische Bewegungen weltweit versuchen, internationale Zusammenarbeit zu untergraben. Dem stellen wir uns entgegen. Wir Sozialdemokratinnen und Sozialdemokraten sind davon überzeugt, dass wir eine gerechtere, friedlichere und nachhaltigere Welt nur durch Dialog und Zusammenarbeit erreichen werden. Deshalb brauchen wir mehr internationale Zusammenarbeit, nicht weniger."

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