The need for a new multilateralism is a teaching of the pandemic

The need for a new multilateralism with greater influence in Latin America and renewed cooperation that forgets the old molds, are part of the lessons that the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving at the international level.

This was concluded on Tuesday by the Ibero-American Secretary General, Rebeca Grynspan, the former Ibero-American Secretary General Enrique Iglesias, and the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, during a virtual seminar.

"Hopefully we will draw the correct conclusions about our interdependence that has been evident with the coronavirus. That there is more multilateralism, cooperation, coordination, solidarity, and that we can avoid greater protectionism and isolationism," said Grynspan at the seminar organized by IICA.

The Ibero-American Secretary General emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic represents a "watershed" in the way that multilteralism has worked so far and whose improvement is "a pending task" for the international community.

Grynspan pointed out that there has been a "very fragmented response" from the countries to the coronavirus and assured that a "coalition of middle-income countries" is urgent to promote changes in international cooperation.

"We need more cooperation, but of a different kind. A more horizontal cooperation, where they learn from each other, that understands diversity and respect between countries, a different type of integration," said Grynspan.

For his part, the director general of IICA said that "it is not a matter of returning to the old world, but of rebuilding it, rather than a recovery program it must be one of reconstruction."

Otero stressed that the coronavirus is opening an opportunity for the American continent for pragmatism, regional cooperation, to break down non-tariff barriers to trade and give greater importance to rural areas.

"Latin America must learn to have state policies for agriculture and rurality. There are unemployed or informal people who are returning to rural areas. Hopefully this is the time for a regeneration of the agricultural sector in earnest," he said.

Otero stressed that the region must also take advantage of the benefits of the bioeconomy and horizontal cooperation involving both countries and private companies.

For his part, the former Ibero-American Secretary General, Enrique Iglesias, pointed out that the world is experiencing a "really dangerous and very exceptional situation", but one in which he is seeing changes in multilateralism and cooperation.

Iglesias said that the international banks are giving an unprecedented response in loans with flexible conditions to the countries and that there is a demand for the importance of the State and the public to attend to crises like that of the coronavirus.

For Iglesias, the pandemic has also been a share of realism about the changes the planet is experiencing in various areas, such as the environment and climate change.

Iglesias argued that support for small businesses and workers in the agricultural sector will be important in the post-pandemic stage.

In the multilateral framework, the former Ibero-American Secretary General pointed out that the objective of "making inter-American cooperation much more efficient" should be pursued, in order to promote productivity, since the region is one of the world's great food reserves.

The experts participated in the first of a series of virtual seminars that IICA will hold during the month of May to address the challenges of Latin America in the post-pandemic era.


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