Global Governance A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations

Published by Brill

Online ISSN: 1075-2846


Renegotiating the Food Aid Convention: Background, context, and issues
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February 2007


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Marc J. Cohen
"The current global agreement governing food aid—the Food Aid Convention (FAC)—will expire in 2007. It has come under heavy criticism as has the diffuse set of broader food aid governance institutions that has emerged in the last 50 years. These institutions are characterized by overlapping mandates, differing degrees of authority and legitimacy, varied levels of transparency in decisionmaking, and problematic representation of the major stakeholders. A number of issues are likely to arise during the course of negotiations over a new FAC. These include its objectives; the nature of commitments—whether to express them in tonnage, value, or nutritional terms; the level of commitments and their distribution among donor countries; monitoring and enforcement of commitments; representation on the FAC governing body among food aid donor- and recipient-country governments and civil society organizations; and the institutional “home” of the FAC. More specifically, there is debate over such questions as whether the new FAC should have an “instrument focus”—food aid—or a “problem focus” such as “food security” or “hunger.” If the focus is on addressing hunger, should food aid under the FAC be restricted to emergencies only or should it pertain to broader food security issues? Should the FAC be a low-key forum for exchange of information or should it have some meaningful ways of monitoring commitments and encouraging compliance by both donors and recipients? Debates such as these will reflect views on the purposes of food aid itself. Conversely, debates regarding these broader questions carry consequences for the formation of views on the issues involved in the FAC negotiations. This paper's purpose is solely to outline issues and options; hence it does not advocate for particular positions." Authors' Abstract

The World Bank Inspection Panel: Lessons from the First Five Years

July 2000


904 Reads

In 1993, the World Bank's board of directors responded to international environmental and human rights critics by creating a precedent -setting public accountability mechanism. Local-global civil society advocacy networks found allies in donor governments, and their message resonated with the internal World Bank concerns about the need to improve the effectiveness of its investments. Through the Inspection Panel, citizens of developing countries can now make direct grievances about the environmental and social costs of World Bank projects. Among multilateral organizations, the World Bank permits the greatest degree of citizen access. Composed of distinguished, no -World Bank development experts, the panel is a transnational entity embedded within a multilateral institution. On balance, it has been a remarkably autonomous body, permitting people negatively affected by Bank projects the opportunity to gain some degree of diplomatic standing, potential transnational public interest allies, media access, and even the possibility of some tangible concessions. In spite of its limits, the World Bank's Inspection Panel is one its most tangible institution-wide policy changes in response to almost two decades of environmental and human rights criticism. As World Bank President James Wolfensohn put it, te Inspection Panel is a "bold experiment in transparency and accountability that has worked to the benefit of all concerned."

Strengthening the Governance of the International Monetary Fund: How a Dual Board Structure Could Raise the Effectiveness and Legitimacy of a Key Global Institution

April 2009


33 Reads

After having been at the helm of the international monetary system for decades, the International Monetary Fund was sidelined in policy debates in the past few years. One reason for the IMF not having taken a more central role in addressing key global policy issues in recent years relates to its internal governance. This paper focuses specifically on the structure and functioning of the Executive Board. The paper argues that Executive Board, although uniquely placed to provide authoritative guidance to IMF member countries, exert peer pressure and give economic policy advice, is overwhelmed by its tasks and responsibilities and too large to be an effective forum for true international economic dialogue. The paper makes the point that the highly diverse tasks of the IMF require different governance structures in order to be implemented effectively. We believe that the optimal number of governing bodies for the ongoing IMF work is not one, but that it is two, duly distinguishing between multilateral matters from country-related matters. Specifically, we propose to split the tasks that are predominantly systemic in nature from those that are predominantly country-focused and technical and believe that this can be done. Two different Boards would be dealing with these issues: a Systemic Issues Board and a Country Issues Board. The paper also discusses how such a dual board structure could be implemented in practice.

Democracy and Globalization

January 1997


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Abstract One of the most conspicuous features of politics at theturn of the millennium is the emergence of issues which transcend nationalfrontiers. Processes of economic internationalization, the problem of theenvironment and the emergence of regional and global networks of communicationare increasingly matters of concern for the international community as a whole.The nature and limits of national democracies have to be reconsidered inrelation to processes of social and economic globalization; that is, in relationto shifts in the transcontinental or interregional scale of human socialorganization and of the exercise of social power. This paper seeks to explorethese changing circumstances and to examine, albeit tentatively, theirimplications for democratic theory.

Table 1. Life cycle of an international norm 
International Norm Dynamics and ‘The End of Poverty’: Understanding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

January 2009


2,947 Reads

Since their emergence in 2001, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have become accepted as consensus objectives of international development efforts. They have generated controversies and literature that focus on the economics of whether and how they can be achieved. However, little work has been done to understand why they became so widely accepted as an international normative framework of development. This paper focuses on the MDGs as ideas and international norms to explain how they emerged, became institutionalised, yet stalled in implementation and behaviour change. The paper applies Finnemore and Sikkink’s analytical framework of international norm dynamics, and argues that the MDGs have proved an effective mechanism to promote the broad norm of eradicating global poverty. Finnemore and Sikkink note that broad and vaguely specified norms are difficult to implement. Global poverty eradication is an example of such a norm, but the MDGs gave it specificity and then provided an effective vehicle for its diffusion and institutionalisation. This paper introduces the concept of the ‘super-norm’ to clarify the nature of poverty eradication, as being a composite of several sub-norms. The paper also introduces the concepts of message entrepreneurs (as distinct from norm entrepreneurs) who play a key role in this process, who are motivated primarily by organisational objectives rather than ideational commitments. This in turn influences the content of the norm itself. In its conclusion, the paper explains the way in which both realist and constructivist ideas have to be utilised to explain the faltering advance of extreme poverty being seen as morally unacceptable in an affluent world.

The Politics of Global Health Governance: Whatever Happened to "Health for All by the Year 2000"?

April 2004


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An evaluation of global health governance (GHG) may help advance conceptual as well as political debates on global governance. Thus the article analyzes and interprets shifts in GHG discourses against the backdrop of two phases of global governance, in broad-brush terms social democracy and neoliberalism. Insights are derived from a consideration of the competing political projects which underpin respective GHG conceptions, the actors which represent, defend, and advance them, and the structures which frame debates and policy initiatives. Within the context of the current global health crisis, exemplified clearly by the HIV/AIDS problem, it is argued that the main challenge for contemporary GHG is to re-establish within the policy environment the linkage between specific disease-oriented healthcare interventions and the underlying socio-economic context.

Citizenship entitlements beyond borders? Identifying mechanisms of access and redress for affected publics in international environmental law

July 2006


61 Reads

I argue that although environmental law is state centric in nature, there is a growing body of international environmental law that allows at least some input from public actors in implementing key substantive and pro- cedural obligations. The evolution of these environmental entitlements is linked to the global diffusion of democratic norms of civic participation, the application of the nondiscrimination principle in both public and pri- vate international law, and the cosmopolitan reach of human rights claims. It is at the intersection of individual and nongovernmental organization (NGO) rights with interstate obligations that transnational citizenship enti- tlements are emerging—notably equal opportunities for access and redress for affected publics. I critically survey relevant multilateral environmental agreements to gauge the significance of rule making bestowing entitle- ments on publics affected by transboundary and global environmental harm. KEYWORDS: citizenship, international, publics, environmental law.

Betting on Oil: The World Bank’s Attempt to Promote Accountability in Chad

April 2011


251 Reads

ABSTRACT: Can international donors ensure that poor countries spend their natural resource revenues on development? We review the World Bank’s 14-year effort to guide such expenditure in Chad. The World Bank used its leverage as a gate keeper of private oil sector to write oil revenue restrictions into Chadian law. Chad also agreed to submit its expenditure to oversight by a new quasi-governmental institution. These efforts were not sufficient to overcome Chad’s poor governance and weak political accountability in the country. Despite the efforts made under the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline Project, little of Chad’s oil wealth has been spent on its poorest citizens. We argue that external efforts by international donors to build better governance in undemocratic states are unlikely to be overcome “resource curse” and “obsolescing bargain” dynamics. They may even do more harm than good. We recommend that the World Bank implement the 2003 Extractive Industry Review suggestion to cease investing in oil production. If the Bank does continue to lend to countries like Chad, it must ensure that it retains leverage across the life of the project to achieve its goals.

Globalization Rules: Accountability, Power, and the Prospects for Global Administrative Law

March 2007


1,336 Reads

From urban protesters against the World Trade Organization to African nations barred from importing generic HIV drugs, globalization is seen as either capitalism red in tooth and claw or a new and more efficient form of colonialism. But a body of rules is emerging that may both constrain and improve the decisions of the new global bureaucrats. From the United Nations to the Basel Committee of national bank regulators, accountability is on the march.

Globalization / Anti-Globalization / D. Held, A. McGrew.

January 1999


610 Reads

Con la presente obra, los autores buscan hacer más inteligible los aspectos importantes del debate acerca de la globalización. Abordan aspectos como la gobernabilidad, la cultura, economía, los patrones de inequidad, la ética global y ponen en el escenario las posturas de los globalifóbicos y de los que apoyan el fenómeno. Finalizan el texto con una propuesta de agenda política para el siglo 21 en donde la democracia social cosmopolita es el centro de atención.

The State of the Art on the Art of State Building

July 2008


164 Reads

From Sierra Leone to Solomon Islands, developed powers have undertaken a range of state-building interventions in the early years of this century. Two influences appear to shape the emerging state of the art on state building: conceptions about the nature of the state in the developed world; and the postcolonial sensitivities and practicalities that attend the project of intervention. After examining the imperatives driving interventions in fragile states, I explore the remarkable consistency among approaches to state building applied by different states and coalitions in different contexts. I then examine the imperatives driving this convergence of approaches and conclude with some observations tracing the difficulties of contemporary interventions to the current dominant approach to state building. Yes Yes

The Governance of Labor Migration in Southeast Asia

December 2010


142 Reads

This article examines the international governance framework for labor migration and evaluates the roles of international organizations, and regional strategies, for cooperation on governance of labor migration in Southeast Asia. It focuses on the mandates and strategies used by the two key international institutions in the region, the International Labour Organization and the International Organization for Migration, which have diverse origins and ideologies. The article considers the questions: Which institution is best suited to be lead agency in the region? How can the overlap between them be coordinated? Further, as a matter of law and policy, and in light of overlapping mandates and interests, how should international dialogue around migration issues be structured in the region?

Table 1 Number of International Nongovernmental Organizations by Type, 2001
Table 5 Issue Focus of Transnational Social Movement Organizations
Transnational Civil Society and the National Identity Question in East Asia

March 2012


109 Reads

The institutions of civil society play diverse roles in developing and maintaining democracy - that is, the process of democratization - and perform different functions in relation to the national identity/boundary question. A growing literature testifies to the emerging importance of civil society in defining the boundaries of political communities, such that the participation by ordinary people and the institutions of civil society in defining these boundaries give rise to a democratic approach to the national identity/boundary issue and new forms of associated global governance. In this article, I attempt to develop a transnational civil society approach to studying the range of interactions that occur across national borders in the context of national identity politics. Specifically, I consider the relevance of the transnational civil society approach to the national identity question in East Asia. In so doing, I examine the role international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) play in defining the boundaries of political communities and empowering small ethnic groups in the region to pursue their cause for self-determination. To this end, in seeking to explain why INGOs are able to exert influence on this issue, I outline the necessary conditions for for effective INGOs and the existing problems associated with them.

The UN's Book of Judges

June 2010


11 Reads

This article examines the Goldstone Report on the conflict in Gaza and the international legal debates surrounding that report. It draws a parallel between the character of international legal governance and the character of governance described in the biblical Book of Judges. The article concludes that international law, like the Israelite confederation in the time of the Judges, is an advanced state of decay.

Bridging the Gaps in Global Energy Governance

February 2011


690 Reads

Energy constitutes a rich, but underexplored, arena for global governance scholars and policymakers. The world is currently on an unsustainable and conflict-prone track of volatile and unreliable supply of energy fuels, vulnerable infrastructure, massive environmental degradation, and failure to deliver energy services to an enormous proportion of the global population. Changing to a different path will be a monumental global governance endeavor that will require bridging multiple issue areas, regimes, and policy silos. Meeting that challenge will require a greatly expanded research agenda aimed at understanding the institutions, interests, and concerns that do and could shape global energy governance. In this article, we lay out key energy-related global issues and explore some of the connections among them to suggest an initial research agenda for global governance scholars.

The Ralph Bunche Centennial: Peace Operations Then and Now

July 2005


148 Reads

A century after the birth of a father of peacekeeping, Ralph Bunche, UN peace operations have changed dramatically. The narrowly-defined, lightly-armed, strictly neutral operations of Bunche's day have become complex, multidisciplinary state-building operations. Then, peacekeeping buttressed essentially self-enforcing cease-fires; now, it aims to build the foundations of a self-renewing peace. These changes reflect six deeper shifts: the end of the Cold War; engagement with "internal" conflicts; rising regional organizations; North-South politics; the U.S.-UN relationship; and changes in peace operation mandates. These shifts create three future challenges: state building; reconceiving sovereignty; and the need for realism. The December 2004 High Level Panel Report proposes modest steps toward meeting those challenges, but the burden of realizing the proposed framework rests squarely with UN member states.

Civil Society and Democracy in Global Governance

July 2002


669 Reads

Recent years have witnessed substantial civil society mobilisation on questions of global governance. This paper considers the implications of this development for democracy. After specifying concepts of ‘civil society’, ‘democracy’, ‘globality’ and ‘governance’, the paper identifies deep democratic deficits that have emerged as a consequence of contemporary globalisation. The discussion then outlines various ways that civil society can either enhance or undermine democracy in the governance of global relations.

The G-20 and International Economic Governance: Hegemony, Collectivism, or Both?

August 2009


264 Reads

Following the East Asian crisis of 1997-1998, much attention was paid to financial sector reform. While little of substance has changed in the intervening years, a number of potentially important new forums were established to facilitate international cooperation. By drawing on and modifying theories of hegemony, this article provides a theoretical context within which to explore one of these institutions: the Group of 20 (G-20). The key question examined is whether institutions like the G-20 are likely to provide genuine mechanisms for cooperation and inclusion or simply become instruments of "hegemonic incorporation." The argument here is that despite the continuing "structural" dominance of the international system by the United States and the Group of 7 (G7) nations, the G-20 provides some scope for other nations to influence outcomes.

Conflict Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect

April 2008


72 Reads

Although the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty identified the responsibility to prevent as the single most important aspect of its report The Responsibility to Protect, most scholarly and political attention has been given to the concept’s reaction component rather than to its prevention component. This article aims to correct this imbalance by examining progress with, changes to, and attitudes toward the responsibility to prevent since the publication of the commission’s report in 2001. It seeks to explain the relative neglect of prevention in debates about The Responsibility to Protect, arguing that the answer can be found in a combination of doubts about how wide the definition of prevention should be, political concerns raised by the use of prevention in the war on terrorism, and practical concerns about the appropriate institutional locus for responsibility. The article moves on to identify some basic principles that might help advance the responsibility to prevent.

Are Sanctions Meant to Work? The Politics of Creating and Implementing Sanctions Through the United Nations

April 2008


77 Reads

Do sanctions work? The jury remains out on this question, but two preliminary issues bear further examination also. What are sanctions intended to achieve? And do states actually want sanctions to work? These essentially political questions depend on two discrete dynamics that are the subject of this article, which focuses on sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. The first is the political context of the Council and how the intentions of key actors are channelled into sanctions regimes. The second is the political economy in which those sanctions operate. Through a survey of UN practice over the past decade the two areas are examined in turn, followed by an examination of how to advance debate both inside and outside the United Nations.

The Resource Curse - A Legal Perspective

June 2010


91 Reads

This paper focuses on the legal dimensions of the problem often referred to as the “resource curse”, i.e. that countries where there is an abundance of natural resources tend to do worse in terms of human and economic development than countries with less natural resources. From a legal standpoint, the two main legal questions raised by the resource-curse problem are the following: (i) who owns natural resources, and (ii) what legal consequences are attached to spoliation or misuse. After some initial clarifications, the article discusses the main aspects of these two questions from the perspective of international and domestic law, before providing a concise assessment of the current state of the law on this topic.

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