In a new article for Brookings TechStream, Dr. Tanya Filer, founder and CEO of StateUp, and Dr. Antonio Weiss, senior partner at The PSC, argue that digital minilaterals are providing a new model for international cooperation.
The global upheaval of COVID-19 and emerging megatrends—from the climate crisis to global population growth—have afforded a new urgency to international cooperation and highlighted a growing sclerosis within multilateralism that even its greatest proponents admit. In this context, Filer and Weiss find that digital minilaterals are beginning to help nation-states navigate an environment of rapid technological change and complex systems issues.
Filer and Weiss first conceptualised “digital minilateralism” in a Report at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge, where Filer leads the Digital State project and Weiss is Affiliated Researcher. In the Report, published in late 2020, they argue for the critical function of small, agile, digitally enabled and focused networks of leaders to foster strong international cooperation on digital governance issues.
This type of cooperative working, described as ‘digital minilateralism’, has a role to play in shaping how individual governments learn, adopt and govern the use of new and emerging technologies, and how they create common or aligned policies. It is also important as cross-border digital infrastructure and services become increasingly common.
The research draws on the example of the Digital Nations, a network of 10 ‘leading digital’ countries, to advance understanding of how digital leaders and policymakers can best develop and use minilateral networks, and of the particular affordances that this approach offers.
Read the full post on Brookings TechStream here.
Read the Research Report at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy here.
Listen to a conversation on digital minilateralism with Dr. Tanya Filer in the inaugural episode of the official Digital Nations podcast here.