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About us

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  • Resources and analysis center on multilateralism and international organizations

    The Observatory on multilateralism and international organizations is driven by the Research Group on multilateral action (GDR-GRAM) and aims to be a resources and analysis center for the research and professional worlds. The visibility of researchers working on the theme of multilateral action is crucial to generate a greater flow of information both within and outside the academic community. This platform is designed to be the entry point for a diverse audience interested in contemporain issues of multilateralism and international organizations – academics or practitioners, students or teachers, journalists or diplomats.

    If you would like to contribute to the Observatory with a text or a podcast, do not hesitate to contact us.

    Reviewing current multilateralism

    Multilateralism refers to an institutionalized cooperation between several states (which may also include non-state entities) looking for common solutions in situations where the interests involved are both conflicting and complementary. Historically, this process began in the first half of the 19th century. It was brutally interrupted by two major wars, then deepened and intensified for almost two centuries. Multilateral arenas have become ubiquitous, covering all sectors of international cooperation. However, the 21st century marks a turning point in this dynamic. Multilateralism seems to be facing serious difficulties because of, at least, three reasons. 

    A political crisis linked to a withdrawal of some influential states which lead to further disengagement, as well as blocking or capturing institutions.

    A crisis in functionality due to the tensions surrounding the legitimacy of international organizations, their representativeness and effectiveness.

    A crisis of normative consensus fuelled by the separation of conceptions of justice and norms aimed at organizing international cooperation.


    Studies devoted to multilateralism represent a field that goes beyond the scope of intergovernmental organizations and extends to all forms of more or less institutionalized international cooperation. They also focus on ad hoc groups such as the G7, the G20 and global conferences, while not reducing multilateralism to a mere method. It also and above all corresponds to a political negotiation space that extends to a growing number of actors, whether public, non-state or private. 

    Activities of the observatory

    The Observatory offers a series of productions : research articles, policy papers, reports, portraits, news briefs, podcasts (details here). They are divided into six thematic clusters:

    Multilateral diplomacy and international organizations
    Alix Defrain-Meunier, Chloé Maurel, Emilija Pundziute-Gallois, Sarah Tanke

    Environmental multilateralism
    Carola Klöck, Lucile Maertens

    Economic multilateralism
    Lena Chercheneff, Franck Petiteville

    Regional multilateralism
    Ayrton Aubry, Pierre Chabal, Samuel B.H. Faure, Kévin Parthenay

    Multilateral security 
    Camille Bayet, Sonia Le Gouriellec, Chiara Ruffa, Charles Tenenbaum

    Social multilateralism and fundamental rights 
    Mathilde Leloup, Anaëlle Vergonjeanne, Marie Saiget

    2011–2016 : AFSP – GRAM

    A few years ago, the French Political Science Association (AFSP) supported a collective research process in the form of a project group that brought together more than thirty researchers of different status, disciplines and French or international institutions over a period of five years. This experience revealed the existence of a strong potential in this field of research and encouraged the establishment of a multidisciplinary dialogue.

    2016–2020 : GRAM – CERI

    This first GRAM – Research Group on Multilateral Action – has continued its existence as the GRAM – CERI (International Research Centre of Sciences Po). Its core is a monthly research seminar including participatory sessions based on the sharing of field experiences as well as the regular organization of thematic study days. The group’s mailing list currently has over 600 members.

    Since 2020 : GDR – GRAM

    Today, the Research Group (GDR)-GRAM, a structure labeled and financed by the CNRS, is composed of eleven main partners: CASE at INALCO, Emile Durkheim Center at Sciences Po Bordeaux, Michel de L’Hospital Center at the University of Clermont Auvergne, CERAPS at the University of Lille 2, CERI at Sciences Po, CRDT at the University of Reims Champagne Ardenne, CRESPPA at the University of Paris 8, IREDIES at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, LaSSP at the University of Toulouse, PACTE at the University of Sciences Po Grenoble, and Printemps at the University of Paris Saclay.

    The observatory
    is run by these research centers