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Minilateralism is a form of multilateralism. It describes diplomacy that is performed in a group of countries and / or organizations (governmental and non -governmental) or other entities in international politics, dealing with specific topics or issues. Thus recognizing that the topics of the modern global agenda are:

  • Global and trans-national, that no country can deal with on its own (such as climate change, terrorism, war, poverty, or infectious diseases).
  • Too complex and complicated to address as a whole, and are required to be dismantled and taken apart to smaller sub-topics that can be addressed and treated in a practical manner.
  • There are many difficulties in promoting issues in forums consisting of a large number of country members, representing different interests, different administration methods and diverse economic capabilities.

The multilateral experience proved inability to significantly advance global policy issues in existing frameworks. Therefor ad hoc frameworks are established, with a limited number of participants, dealing with specific issues. Hence the use of the term "Mini ": a forum consisting of a limited number of members, dealing with defined subject matters.

Stewart Patrick describe in his article in "Foreign Policy" that in order to promote significant global policies, the smallest number of states or countries needed to create the greatest impact on a specific subject should be brought to the table. For example, the G20 , a forum of 20 countries representing 85% of global GDP, which can be handled more effectively and more practically than, say, the World Trade Organization of nearly 200 member .


"Foreign Affairs", Jan-Feb 2014, volume 93 number 1 -

"Minilateralism: A New Book from Atlantic Council Expert, Chris Brummer", April 24, 2014 -

"Populism’s Minilateral Foreign Policy", June 2, 2017 -

"Making Sense of “Minilateralism”: The Pros and Cons of Flexible Cooperation", Jan 5, 2016 -