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Agenda 21




Basic Course 5: Solutions Strategies - Global Governance

If the problems increasingly take on global character, then the political solution to the problem also needs to be 'globalised'. Various concepts apply here, including the introduction of a global state. Since this, at least in the foreseeable future, remains a utopia, and in the opinion of many would not be desirable, a search for new and alternative forms of political organisation in the age of globalisation has been set out upon. 'Global Governance' is representative of this. Global governance is labelled as...
bullet Global governance without global government
bullet Global internal politics
bullet The politics of world order
bullet Politics in 21st Century
bullet An alternative concept to neoliberalism
bullet A response to globalisation

The following table collates various defined strategies for global governance, in order to provide an initial impression of the significant dimensions and direction of these strategies:

Global governance is...

“...a political correction of the globalised market economy in the sense integration of economic systems into more comprehensive social aims...”
[Holger Mürle]

“...the collaboration of state and non-state players ranging from a local to a global level..."
[Dirk Messner/Franz Nuscheler]

„...not a foreign political concept, but a project to reorganise politics at all levels of activity...Global governance means to parry the threat of abandoning organisation by politics in favour of anonymous system logics and the formation of a 'non-state' world...'
[Dirk Messner/Franz Nuscheler]

“...[represents an environment in which] solution strategies would be searched for, which do not question the economic and political benefits of globalisation, and are suitable for surmounting and tempering the unfairness and dangers which have occurred...This task has been labelled global governance in the meantime...“
[German Federal Assembly]

“...a complex multi-level system of governing beyond the nation state...“
[Ulrich Menzel]

“...attempt to solve global problems..."
[Dirk Messner/Franz Nuscheler]

“...the opposite of regulations, the essence of which represents the further liberalisation and globalisation of the markets..."
[Holger Mürle]

“...a concept born out of the global-political regulation deficit, designed to fortify the competence and transparency of international institutions using non-state players..."
[Klaus Müller]

"Capitalism is a powerful and strong tiger, that can be goaded to revive an economy - assuming that its powers are tamed by civil and political institutions. Globalisation has released the tiger from its cage to face a 'wild' capitalism, which, like a freed tiger, returns to follows its instinct of hunting and devouring all" [Benjamin R. Barber].

The goal of global governance is the (renewed) taming of the 'tiger' released by globalisation"

Global Governance Represents the Answer to Global Problems

The unequal distribution of profits, shortfall of tax revenue due to tax havens, international crises as a result of unimaginable, speculative capital movements, ruinous location competition due to potential threats by multinational companies and other resulting problems of (economic) globalisation can only be dealt with suitably within a global framework, whereby the players involved need to cooperate together at all levels. The same applies to problems ranging from the greenhouse effect, migration and international criminality, to the distribution of weapons of mass destruction.

The nation state is too small for this and other problems. The first, successful 'taming of capitalism' took place within its bounds. Now its borders, by way of which it defines itself in essential terms, remain in crass disproportion to the 'borderlessness' of globalisation: The nation state is eroding, it can no longer fulfil important state functions alone, such as a guarantee of security for its citizens in an age of mass weapons of destruction.

The Global Governance Architecture

Global governance wants to fill the resulting vacuum in the deficit in regulation with international cooperations - here, the nation state retains its central regulatory function -, as well as with new forms of politics, in particular, by including the (global) civil society and by strengthening international organisations. The diagram below details an appropriate architecture for this

Global Governance between Utopia and Need

Franz Nuscheler argues that "global governance does not represent a romantic project for achieving a healthy 'single world', but a realistic response to the challenges of globalisation". Global governance concepts attempt to find solution strategies for the problems of this world. The need to find new ways to solve political problems remains undisputed. Frequently, however, the architects of global governance are accused that their concepts are utopian.

How is global cooperation to function if, as hegemonial power, the United States increasingly goes its own way and, for instance, withdraws from the Kyoto Protocol, which signifies a heavy blow for the efforts towards global climate protection? Who is to coordinate the cooperation between states, corporations and NGOs etc?

And even if it is possible to coordinate effective cooperation: Who legitimises the decisions? How can democratic processes be organised in global terms? Global governance needs to be effective and democratic at the same time. An arc of tension exists between both these fundamental requirements.

The most advanced model for the cooperation of states and societies is represented by European Union (EU), which is why it can serve as a laboratory for global governance. Within the framework of the EU, the dilemma of efficiency and democracy pointedly referred to can be observed, whereby it has to be taken into consideration that the European states are far more similar than in global terms.

Recommendations for Studying the Topic in Detail

1. The EU Laboratory for Global Governance - The Europaserver provides detailed information on the EU ( We also have our own series of topics on D@dalos [... on the subject of the European Union as a whole]

2. The United Nations (UN) as a Strategy for Global Governance - The UN website provides detailed information ( We also have our own series of topics on D@dalos [...on the United Nations as a whole]

3. The World Conferences as an Example of Global Governance [... more]

4. Agenda 21 is a Prime Example of Global Governance [... more]

[Author: Ragnar Müller]

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SubjectsHuman Rights  I  Examples  I  Democracy  I  Parties  I  Europe  I  Globalisation  I  United Nations  I  Sustainability

Methods:    Teaching Politics    II    Peace Education    II    Methods



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