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The Three Evils of Global Governance

February 16, 2012

Pierre Calame in The European:

The high promises of the UN have remained unfulfilled: Instead of a global community, we see conferences for Heads of State and the proliferation of UN agencies. If the UN wants to remain relevant, Ban Ki-Moon might want to look to Brussels for guidance.

Global governance suffers three major evils.

Firstly, the UN has been unable to help with the emergence of a global community. Though the UN charter starts with “we, the people,” it has readily been turned into “we, the states” or even “we, the heads of state.” As people, often in developing countries, think that global governance is dominated by powerful nations’ interests, they are not eager to see it strengthened. At the same time, the evolution of the UN’s regulation capacity fails to reflect the importance of growing global interdependence. A kind of global civil society is already emerging, but it is built out of single-issue organizations—such as civil rights, environment or gender—which represent but a tiny part of the whole.

The second evil is that UN has been conceived as an assembly of states.  Since decolonization, the number and heterogeneity of UN members has dramatically increased. The idea of “one country, one vote” is an illusion. The reality of power is transferred either to other international systems—the Bretton-Woods institutions or the WTO, which both have real financial and juridical capacities—or to ad-hoc summits of negotiation such as G20. [More]

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