The project is titled The EU Navigating Multilateral Cooperation (NAVIGATOR) and it is a four-year project starting in March 2023. 

The NAVIGATOR project will make us better understand how cooperation between countries and international organizations develop in a time where there are big changes in global politics. 

Global cooperation in a new era

The NAVIGATOR project will enable us to better understand how global cooperation is evolving during a period of significant change in global governance. We see more and more diversity in global cooperation, with private philanthropy, like Bill Gates, multinational companies, civil society and substate actors becoming important parts of the puzzle. 

The questions this project will ask are therefore: Are these actors complementing or challenging the role of existing international organizations like the United Nations and the World Health Organization? Are there differences in how global cooperation is evolving in different sectors such as climate change, finance, health, and security? And what strategies should the European Union pursue to maintain a strong, effective, and legitimate international system? 

Principal Investigator and Research Professor at NUPI, John Karlsrud, is looking forward to getting started on the project in March next year.

– We are immensely happy to have won this EU grant, as it will strengthen the leading role NUPI has on research on global governance and deepen our partnerships with the European Union and some of the world’s leading universities and think tanks, Karlsrud says.

A tool for the future global order

An important part of the NAVIGATOR project will be an analytical tool – in the form of a “search mechanism” – that allows the European Commission and other key EU actors to compare strengths and weaknesses of existing multilateral organizations, determine which can be reformed and which are too costly to reform, identify and assess alternatives, and, on this basis, develop action strategies to strengthen multilateralism.

– This project will solve a complex task; How does global cooperation transform in a period of great change, and what does this mean for the EU? With the search mechanism we have developed, we will advise the EU on which forms of cooperation that are best suited depending on the challenge that is to be solved. As an example, traditional multilateral cooperation might be best suited for to solving global security challenges, while the climate crisis is best solved on several levels at the same time, where also private businesses, civil society, and regional actors such as the EU can have a strong influence in these processes, Karlsrud explains. 

A solid team effort

In the project, NUPI has nine partners and two affiliated universities. They are located on different places in Europe, and in South Africa, Japan, and Canada. This is the fourth time since 2015 that NUPI wins an EU project of this size, and Karlsrud underlines that a process like this one isn’t a one-man job. 

– It is a big team that has pulled together and landed this application, and all of them are amongst the leading experts in the world in their respective fields. We have experts with cutting-edge competence in areas like climate, health and security, leading think tanks that will give us a great opportunity to present findings for decision makers, and a strong support system here at NUPI. We are all looking forward to starting this work together when the project kicks off in March next year, Karlsrud says.

NUPI Director Ulf Sverdrup is very pleased with this grant from the EU.

– The fact that we win this grant in a tough international competition is an expression of the professional quality at NUPI. It is brilliant that in the next few years we will lead another major EU project and I would therefore like to thank everyone that has been involved for their efforts. The project enables us to work on issues in the future together with the best international partners. The NAVIGATOR project is not only academically interesting, but it has also great relevance for Norwegian foreign policy, and for how Norway should adapt to a world in great change, Sverdrup says.

Research Director at NUPI, Ole Jacob Sending agrees.

– It is incredibly difficult to win projects like these. I am so thrilled and proud of the fact that we have won this project that will provide important knowledge on the development of global governance in a time of great change, Sending explains.