[Between Sovereignty & Global Governance: The United Nations, the State & Civil Society]

Article excerpt

The essays in this volume, initially prepared for a conference at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, in 1995, deal with the future of the United Nations in the context of globalization. For a published set of conference papers, the thematic structure of the volume holds up remarkably well, and the individual contributions are of a consistently high quality. Christian Reus-Smit's introductory chapter displays a firm grasp of history, charting the changing patterns of global governance throughout the centuries. The security dimensions of global governance are covered in the second section of the book. The most interesting chapters in this section are on changing conceptions of collective security (by Martti Koskenniemi) and changing conceptions of sovereignty and how they affect debates about intervention (by Henry Shue). The economic dimensions of global governance are discussed in the third section and the civil-political dimensions of global governance are the focus of the fourth section.

The contributors are of the view that the United Nations is still relevant and that its institutions and specialized agencies have a key role to play in managing the problems of global governance across a wide range of issue areas. …