Global Governance and the United Nations System

Global Governance and the United Nations System

Global Governance and the United Nations System

Global Governance and the United Nations System

Synopsis

Globalisation, the end of the Cold War and the technological revolution has led to fundamental changes in the system of international governance, and this publication offers a wide-ranging analysis of the changing world order at the beginning of the 21st century. Issues discussed include: the progression from an international to a global system of governance and the challenges for collective decision-making; how social justice can be attained by this transition; and the role of states, intergovernmental organisations, the United Nations system and non-government actors in business and civil society sectors.

Excerpt

In 1995, the United Nations celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. As a tribute to this anniversary the United Nations University (UNU) launched the project “The United Nations System in the Twenty-first Century.” This long-term study, divided into five key issue areas (peace and security, economic development, environment, human dignity, and governance), has a main focus on (and underlying question regarding) how global international institutions can adapt to the requirements of the twenty-first century.

In 1998, we started work on the subproject “Global Governance and the United Nations” and tried to determine how the un system might cope with the apparent need for institutional adaptation and reform. the starting point of the research was the fundamental changes in the global system. the end of the cold war and the bipolar system, on the one hand, and the growing number of resourceful private actors in the international arena — such as transnational corporations (TNCs) or non-governmental organizations (I/NGOs) — on the other, point to the beginning of the end of the (Westphalian) international system with its territorially rooted borderlines and nation-states. Since the new transnational actors are able to act in, and take advantage of, a twilight zone of uncoordinated national legal orders, there is a need to fill the gaps in public coordination and control by international institutions, which otherwise run the risk of losing their legitimacy.

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