Drawing on consultations with diplomats and experts from more than 20 governments and international institutions, this report surveys the changing geopolitical context astride the Red Sea, outlines the rationale for a Red Sea multilateral framework, and offers design elements for architects to consider. It unpacks the diplomatic initiatives undertaken to date—by the EU/Germany, African Union/IGAD, and Saudi Arabia/Egypt—and finally, it offers perspectives from the Red Sea’s littoral countries, from “neighboring states,” and from global actors—including Europe, the United States, and China.
Gulf and African states, as well as external partners, can benefit from the establishment of a Red Sea Forum. These stakeholders may soon have to decide whether to participate in a proposed forum, how to maximize its value, and how to harmonize potentially competing visions. Obstacles abound, but the potential dividends of integration, economic development, and conflict prevention merit the effort. A Red Sea forum will not deliver shared prosperity or cure all ills, but it can offer this diverse set of actors a venue to shape the emergent trans-regional order in what might otherwise become a dangerously chaotic arena.