Improving global governance: making global institutions fit-for-purpose in 21st century

7 March 2013

In this lecture I will:

• comment on some of the complex challenges of the 21st century which cry out for effective global governance reflecting today’s geopolitical and other realities; and

• examine whether global governance institutions – particularly in the areas of peace and security, economic governance, sustainable development and climate change – have kept up with geopolitical changes and been able to tackle emerging challenges to ensure their continued effectiveness, legitimacy and accountability.

My working definition of global governance will be that of Lawrence Finkelstein, former professor of political science at Northern Illinois University and former vice-president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Writing in the first issue of the journal Global Governance, he suggested that global governance could be defined as ‘governing, without sovereign authority, relationships that transcend national frontiers. Global governance is doing internationally what governments do at home’ (Finkelstein, 1995).

The Rt Hon Helen Clark is presently the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. This is the text of an address she gave to the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Tuesday 13 November 2012, and is now available in Policy Quarterly – Volume 9, Issue 1 – February 2013

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