Our times are marked by major geopolitical and economic power shifts, with increasingly confrontational and unilateralist relations between major powers. Yet growing global challenges call for more multilateral governance and rules-based international cooperation. The COVID-19 crisis exemplifies the need for multilateral solutions: a major global threat, it has created much-needed momentum for a coordinated, global crisis response and has exposed the need to make multilateralism fit to cope with the new challenges
“The virus does not distinguish between continents, borders, nationalities or ethnicities”. In the first ministerial statement on COVID-19 embracing the two continents, Foreign Ministers from Asia and Europe stress the transboundary nature of the pandemic and the interconnectedness between their countries. Those in vulnerable situations must be protected, including tackling violence against women and children. The pandemic should not be allowed to increase stigmatization, nor worsen existing inequality.