Professor Eyal Benvenisti, Whewell Professor of International Law, University of Cambridge
The rising tide of nationalism (aka localism, nativism) has reached new peaks in 2016. According to several observers, the rise of the national reflects voters’ resentment towards neoliberal globalization served by multilateral institutions. Middle-income voters, in both developed and developing countries, regard global institutions such as the WTO, NAFTA and the EU, as responsible for diverting resources and opportunities to the few, while depriving them of voice, of jobs, and depleting national social safety nets. Is it possible for multilateral institutions to regain the trust of the diffuse voters by becoming more accountable to them, provide them with opportunities to convey their concerns and assert their demands? In my talk, I will first explore the causes and consequences of the diminishing voice of key constituencies as a result of multilateralism, and then reflect on possible legal and other responses that might make global governance institutions more inclusive and consequently more egalitarian.