Title: Multipolarity at the Margins: The 2010s Multilateral Reform Drive as Systemic Layering
PhD Supervisor: Cédric Dupont
Expected completion date: 2025
Roughly between 2008 and 2016, the major and more formal fora of multlateral diplomacy (UNGA, UNSC) saw a unique period of procedural experimentation, characterized by attempts to increase transparency, participation, and generate more substantive (rather than polarized) negotiations. This innovative momentum culminated in a series of landmark—but in many ways quite limited—agreements/reforms in 2015-16, such as Agenda 2030, the Paris Agreement, and the reform of the UN Secretary-General selection process. But the existing literature has not studied these events as part of a single push (despite it being how practitioners saw it at the time), studying them in isolation, and in a generally depoliticized, functionalist way, that insufficiently accounts for the deep-seated politico-ideological struggles underpinning every facet of these practices’ emergence. By bringing politics back in (e.g. North vs South; intra-North and intra-South disputes; the fraught role of civil society and the UN bureaucracy etc) and focusing not only on the major structural/functional interests driving events, but also the emergent contributions of everyday, local dynamics, one can arrive at a more holistic understanding of how such change unfolded, especially in the informal, iterative, and ultimately limited way that it did.
Lucas is a doctoral student fascinated by the ongoing evolution of multilateralism, specifically multilateral diplomacy, in an age of increasing multipolarity. This is an outgrowth of his master's dissertation (also at the Graduate Institute), about Brazil’s norm-shaping efforts concerning SDG16, to understand the methods and tools employed by non-traditional norm entrepreneurs. His PhD thesis focuses on global governance writ-large, in order to understand how everyday multilateral diplomatic processes are changing, and their political consequences. His main area of interest in this regard is sustainable development, specifically the institutional architecture of Agenda 2030. He previously got a Bachelor in Politics, Human Rights and Development from NYU.
- Global governance
- Multilateral diplomacy
- Emerging powers
- Sustainable development
Relevant Publications and Works
MA thesis: “SDG16, Brazil and the Securitization of Development: how can a transformative multilateralism enable non-traditional norm shapers?”