The ‘enlarged’ Mediterranean region is becoming a focal point for complex and inter-related political and security crises, with the prospect of rising instability at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia. These shifts are taking place in a broader context of rising inter-state tensions, protracted civil wars, use of proxies by regional powers, uncontrolled transnational threats such as terrorism and human trafficking. All these trends are putting our multilateral system under increasing strain, precisely at a time when we need it the most. As the preeminent international organization tasked with safeguarding peace through collective action, the United Nations has a key role to play in confronting these challenges and reaffirming the relevance of multilateralism in today’s world.
Against this background, the Mediterranean region provides countless examples of how the United Nations must renew its engagement and adapt its approach to a fast-changing landscape. In Libya, the spectre of all-out civil war, increasing involvement of external actors and divisions within the International Community mean there is no realistic alternative to UN-led mediation. The devastation wrought by eight years of civil war in Syria cannot be rolled back in the absence of a credible political process under UN auspices that also helps to alleviate tensions between major powers. Successful models of collective security, such as peacekeeping along the Blue Line, are having to confront the effects of complex regional dynamics and increasingly assertive non-state actors.
// How has the crisis of multilateralism affected the UN’s effectiveness and legitimacy?
// What are the main constraints on collective action to stabilize the Mediterranean?
// How do we modernize the UN’s toolkit in order to improve our response to complex crises?
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