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A test of diplomatic maturity

By Ioan Voicu - posted Wednesday, 16 September 2020

"Calls for , in the spirit of unity and solidarity, the intensification of cooperation and collaboration at all levels in order to contain and control the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact."

All the above mentioned reports and resolutions will be on the table of the 75th session of the UNGA. All of them recommend action-oriented measures to combat COVID-19 pandemic .

Legitimate expectations

In the light of a challenging unprecedented reality, diplomats from all countries of the world will have the imperative duty to cooperate in order to give a collective practical response to the COVID-19 pandemic.In this regard,they have to perform a cardinal function in accordance with the Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in their Relations with International Organizations of a Universal Character (1975)which recognizedexpressis verbis theincreasingly important role of multilateral diplomacy in relations between states and the responsibilities of the UN, its specialized agencies and other international organizations of a universal character within the international community.


The UN and the WHO documents have the great merit of strongly emphasising the full potential of multilateralism during the current times of global vulnerabilities, perplexities and discontinuities, as dramatically enhanced by COVID-19 pandemic

Indeed, robust multilateralism can effectively contribute to solving planetary problems. That's why the Alliance for Multilateralism established in 2019 could have a positive role in giving tangibility to a vital universal objective of promoting vibrant international cooperation and worldwide solidarity in dealing with COVID-19.

More recently, on 4 September 2020 the G20 Foreign Ministers held an extraordinary meeting to discuss enhancing international cooperation to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, as well as strengthening preparedness for future pandemics.

The participants in this significant online diplomatic event discussed the importance of coordinating precautionary measures on cross-border management to protect lives and livelihoods.

During the meeting, foreign ministers acknowledged the importance of opening borders, uniting families, and promoting measures to allow the economy to thrive in light of the protective measures adopted by health organizations and by national regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 75th session of the UNGA will offer to the G20 members the chance to demonstrate their diplomatic maturity by helping all UN members to reach a consensus for a genuine strategy for promoting and defending global health.


While history teaches us that diplomatic maturity is a rare phenomenon at the global level, there is no doubt that, at present, worldwide solidarity in fighting COVID -19 will remain just a pure aspiration if diplomatic maturity does not become a mobilizing force able to overcome national egoisms in searching for universal solutions.

What diplomats participants in multilateral diplomacy under the auspices of the UN and WHO are expected to do is to give nations they represent a perspective of what is possible to accomplish , help them to win the battle with an invisible enemy.

Academics in many countries emphasize the fact that multilateral diplomacy should be able to motivate, catalyse, inspire, instruct, facilitate, encourage, support, assist in finding consensus solutions.However, insufficient diplomatic maturity can be detrimental in this highly complex and responsible process. Advance responsible preparation is an imperative prerequisite in order to succeed with any diplomatic initiative.That is why some recent inter-regional proposals deserve full attention.

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About the Author

Dr Ioan Voicu is a Visiting Professor at Assumption University in Bangkok

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