Time to make better global governance

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BEIJING: As nations across the globe celebrate the arrival of year 2020, it is time to reflect on the past and make New Year’s resolutions. And one common task should be how to make this increasingly interconnected world a better place for all. The past year, marked by synchronized global economic slowdown, heightened regional conflicts, as well as more frequent extreme weather events, has been a trying one on many fronts and for many around the world. Over the year, waves of trade protectionism have shown few signs of abating; global supply chains are facing disruptive uncertainties, and global free trade is in a crisis of losing its independent referee, the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Appellate Body. The year 2019 also saw an unprecedentedly tumultuous Middle East, where a perilous U.S.-Iran nuclear standoff and a protracted Syrian war have almost turned this part of the world upside down due to reckless foreign intervention. Last month, marathon UN climate talks ended with a deal that was criticized as too weak to tackle climate change, a challenge that is deemed by many as the greatest challenge humans have ever faced. Those pressing issues can well serve as a reminder to members of the international community that the deficit in global governance stands as a daunting challenge for humanity in the new year, even the new decade, and that concerted multilateral efforts are needed to turn the tide around. To resist the false temptation of protectionism and revitalize global economic growth, nations of the world need to stick to the spirit of free trade, and further cement the central role of the WTO in the current multilateral trading regime while making necessary and just reforms to the global trade governing body. Multilateralism should also be highlighted in solving some of the world’s most pressing hotspot issues like the Iranian nuclear issue. While political and diplomatic solutions through equal-footed dialogues among related parties should be the only viable option, bullying tactics and unilateral economic embargoes will only make the situation worse. International treaties are building blocks of an effective global governance system, and a faithful and comprehensive implementation of such treaties as the Paris climate pact and the Iranian nuclear agreement is essential to rendering global governance more effective in the years to come. The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held its fourth plenary session in October to discuss improving China’s system and capacity for governance. – Agencies