Cover: The Future of Multilateral Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

The Future of Multilateral Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

Published in: Atlantic Council website (2023)

Posted on rand.org Feb 5, 2024

by Peter O. Engelke, Anca Ioana Agachi, Imran Bayoumi

The multilateral system, defined as the set of rules, norms, and institutions that together constitute the world's governance architecture, is not static. Rather, this system both evolves over time and, less frequently, is reconstituted by periodic upheavals. Such upheavals usually occur during or after a global crisis—for example, a major power war (1815, 1918, 1945)—or another extended period during which underlying drivers of change allow a reset of the global system. Such changes allow the new system to function for a time until dynamics again shift underneath it. Systems come under strain when they cannot adjust to new geopolitical, technological, sociopolitical, demographic, and (in the twenty-first century) environmental realities.

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