After a century of only western-inspired multi-lateralism, its much criticised 75-years old stronghold, the United Nations, needs a new narrative: omni-lateralism. The right vehicle is omnibus — for and by all –, firstly, to widen the way for input of more ideas and good practices of non-Western origin, and secondly, to include non-state actors as legitimate stakeholders in global governance.
Some trends already signal an opening towards omnilateralism: enhancing global governance in the COP by adding Eastern understanding of cycles in nature to protect the environment (e.g. in circular economies) and a wider appreciation of ‘holism’ beyond the rather linear individualistic thinking of Western societies; also accountable groups of civil society – more trusted than officials driven by narrow national interest — increasingly enrich deliberations about climate change and other global problems. These require East-West cooperation as currently obvious in the urgent cross-border exchanges among experts to combat the pandemic and save lives and livelihood worldwide. Globalisation has elevated millions out of poverty. However, narrow-minded politicians still claim national ‘sovereignty’ and parochial interests against global solutions for the common good while the Westphalian ‘nation’ is becoming a historic aberration.