Global governance: failure and reforms of international and regional organizations

Definition of Global Governance

The name of global governance reflects the ambiguity about the nature of the international system. Like Finkelstein (1995) said, the term global refers to the dynamics in the relations in the world of states, and in understanding of those dynamics. We also understand that are many new actors in the arena that play a significantly roles. For example the role of nongovernmental actors, because they drive to the interdependence and presses on sovereignty. We recognizes that at this time there is a lot of interconnected decision process, that involved the international negotiation call “two levels” or “diplomacy”. The ambiguity also applied to the term “governance”, because since international system lacks hierarchy is notorious, the word governance started to use to describe as system of political and social order. In the same line, the term governance means a lack of governments in the world states and translates this into a failure of international and regional organizations. Global governance has the purpose to control or influence what occurs in the arena occupied by nations.

For this reason, we can said that global governance is the political interaction of transnational actors aimed at solving problems that affect more than one state or region when there is no power of enforcing compliance. The question to global governance is the context of globalization. In response to the acceleration of interdependence on a worldwide scale, both between human societies and between humankind and the biosphere, world governance designates regulations intended for the global scale.
Rosenaus, quoted in Finkelstein (1995): “…the global governance is a system of rules at all levels of human activity – from family to the international organization in which the pursuit of goals through the exercises of control has transnational repercussions…” (Finkelstein, 1995)

Finkelstein, L. (1995). What is Global Governance?. Retrieved in 28 of May of 2012, from:
Traditionally governance has been associated with “governing,” or with political authority, institutions, and, ultimately, control. Governance in this sense denotes formal political institutions that both aim to coordinate and control interdependent social relations and that also possess the capacity to enforce decisions. In recent years, however, scholars have used “governance” to denote the regulation of interdependent relations in the absence of overarching political authority, such as in the international system. These may be visible but quite informal (e.g., practices or guidelines) or temporary units (e.g., coalitions). But they may also be far more formal, taking the shape of rules (laws, norms, codes of behavior) as well as constituted institutions and practices (formal and informal) to manage collective affairs by a variety of actors (state authorities, intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations, and private sector entities). Through such mechanisms and arrangements, collective interests are articulated, rights and obligations are established, and differences are mediated.
Global governance can thus be defined as the sum of laws, norms, policies, and institutions that define, constitute, and mediate trans-border relations between states, cultures, citizens, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, and the market. It embraces the totality of institutions, policies, rules, practices, norms, procedures, and initiatives by which states and their citizens (indeed, humanity as a whole) try to bring more predictability, stability, and order to their responses to transnational challenges—such as climate change and environmental degradation, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism—which go beyond the capacity of a single state to solve.
In addition to interdependence and a growing recognition of the need for collective action to face what former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan aptly called “problems without passports,” the other explanation for the emergence of global governance stems from the sheer growth in numbers and importance of nonstate entities, which also are conducting themselves in new ways. Civil society actors participate as advocates, activists, and also as policymakers in many instances. They play increasingly active roles in shaping norms, laws, and policies at all levels of governance. Their critiques and policy prescriptions have demonstrable consequences in the governmental and intergovernmental allocation of resources and the exercise of political, military, and economic power.
State-centered structures (especially those of the UN system) that help ensure international order now find themselves sharing more and more of the governance stage. Depending on the issue-area, geographic location, and timing, there are vast disparities in power and influence among states, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), TNCs, and international NGOs. Consequently, today’s world is governed by an indistinct patchwork of authority that is as diffuse as it is contingent. In particular, the IGOs that collectively underpin global governance are not only insufficient in number but are inadequately resourced, lack the requisite policy authority and resource-mobilization capacity, and sometimes are incoherent in their separate policies and philosophies.
Despite its shortcomings, however, the United Nations is the most universal and legitimate organization with the greatest potential for expansion.
The essential challenge in contemporary global problem-solving remains a world without central authority for making policy choices and mobilizing the required resources to implement them.

Changing Global Governance
The financial crisis, together with a social and demographic realignment, brought about significant changes in relative economic power. Therefore the pre-crisis global system is no more viable. A multipolar world is replacing the old system in which a few established superpowers held the bulk of power.
The less effective action of the traditional organizations increased the uncertainty about the direction of global governance. For example, the failure of climate change negotiations at Copenhagen and the impasse of the Doha Development Agenda created a sort of ambiguity that may delay the development of trade and investment flow.
Furthermore, the policy of big global institutions, such as World Bank and International Monetary Fund, are causing a kind of friction with the development of new economic power of the BRICS nations and other developing countries. Above all, the question of the revision of the representation and the consequent adding of new members or the reweighting of voting shares would happen at the expense of developed countries. This way a South-South cooperation might grow and increase. As voting shares no longer reflect the world economic balance, developed countries need to track the emerging economies and this leads to fuel the sense of uncertainty that the economic crisis has spread.


Global governance affecting nation-level Governments

Helen Clarke, the current head of UNDP, illustrates how democratic initiatives around the Millennium Development Goals, even if conducted from the highest and in some ways weakest level of governance, have given some instruments to hold Governments accountable in front of the requests of their people.