Immanuel Kant Schule
Neumünster

Finalist for the region North

Use MUTE – Unmute politics

Multilateralism is the cooperation of three or more countries working together to solve global problems. Nowadays, multilateralism is needed more than ever to work against political and environmental issues. One of the main difficulties of this concept is the loss of transparency in large multilateral alliances which often leads to the reluctance of supranational political cooperation. During our research, we´ve learned that a lot of people can´t follow the fast changes in these alliances so that they fall back into nationalistic and protectionist thinking patterns. Since this hasn´t been working as smoothly as it should have, we´ve come up with a solution to encourage people to be more involved in politics and also to provide them with possibilities of participation.

We have developed the concept of an app called MUTE to inform the general population on the ongoing political situation in the easiest possible way. Our app focuses on the “institution” European Union as an example of popular multilateral cooperation. In the future, we are hoping to provide data of several other multilateral alliances and institutions like the UN, WHO or NATO.

MUTE is divided into three main segments. The first one offers fundamental information, including the structure of the EU institutions and the serving politicians. All information will be stored in an archive.
The second main section includes all current information, important announcements and a calendar. There will be a calendar with election dates and appointments where politicians can connect with users via live streams. These live streams offer direct information from the politicians to educate the voters, answer their questions and therefore also promote his/her election.

The last section covers the interactive functions. These include live streams and chat rooms for users to connect and to exchange their opinions cordially. We´ve created some quizzes to convince people that being educated about multilateral politics is not only useful but also enjoyable.

Now, to put it in a nutshell: Our goal is to ensure that there is a reliable source for all kinds of people to gain knowledge of multilateral politics. Therefore, we intend for our information to be easily accessible to integrate more and more people into the realm of multilateral politics. Of course, this is not going to happen at the expense of the quality of our information. To balance these two components, we are going to put together an experienced editorial staff that will meticulously check the information published in our app. It will consist of renowned academics as well as politically involved students.

Their YES! topic

Multilateralism in the crisis – How can we save international cooperation?

by Dennis Görlich und Juliane Stein-Zalai, IfW Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Climate change, migration, fair trade – many major challenges facing humanity transcend national borders and can only be overcome through international cooperation. That is why multilateralism, i.e. several states working together and agreeing on common rules, is more important than ever today. But in many countries, populist and authoritarian forces that pursue short-term national interests without regard for other countries and the environment are in power. As a result, states are increasingly withdrawing from international treaties, failing to adhere to established rules and failing to find common answers to the pressing issues of our time. Since the inauguration of President Trump, who has insisted rigorously on an “America first” policy, the United States, for example, has turned away from the INF disarmament treaty with Russia, the international nuclear agreement with Iran and the Paris Climate Convention. But even in Germany, where both the government and the overwhelming majority of the population are clearly in favour of international cooperation to solve global problems, multilateral structures often meet with public scepticism or ignorance. For example, the G20, the coordination forum of the largest economic nations, is unpopular with many people and probably only a few know what tasks are performed by the United Nations (UN) or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), for example. However, multilateral cooperation, from which all participants benefit, is an important building block for a fairer and liveable future. What can we do to save international collaboration?

1) What are the reasons for the rejection of multilateral cooperation?

Some economists see growing social inequality as the cause of the rise of nationalism. What must change in the national policies of countries for multilateral cooperation to have a future?

International organizations and forums are often criticized for inefficiency, lack of transparency and unequal opportunities to influence. How must international organizations and forums change so that trust in them grows and all states see added value in common solutions?

2) What can we do to strengthen international cooperation?

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has founded an “Alliance of Multilateralists”. What role should Germany play in international cooperation? Is Foreign Minister Maas’ idea of forging a “coalition of the willing” suitable for strengthening multilateral cooperation?

Due to the complexity of global challenges, finding and implementing multilateral solutions is generally a laborious and protracted undertaking that is inscrutable to large sections of the population. Populist politicians, on the other hand, often promise quick and straightforward solutions. How can one arouse the interest of the society in multilateral processes and provide a better understanding of the work of international organizations? What contribution can schools make to this?