What are the new global governance concepts

NIRA International Forum
Global Governance - In Pursuit of a New International Order
July 12 -13, 2004

Keynote lecture: "What is Global Governance?"

Yozo Yokota
Professor of International Law, Chuo University Law School.
Special Adviser to the Rector, United Nations University

1.In recent years, the term "global governance" has become a frequently used expression as shown by the publication of a journal of the same name. However, the meaning of the term remains diverse depending on the person employing it or the circumstances under which it is used. The term does not have a definition which has achieved general consensus. It is hoped that this forum will contribute to deepening the understanding of "global governance" and to establishing a definition which proves meaningful from the perspectives of both academia and policy makers.
2.In this keynote lecture, I will present my vision of global governance from the perspectives of my personal experience and fields of expertise, i.e., international law and international organization theory. I am proposing this vision, not because it should be the only one, but in the hope of providing materials for future discussion.
3.I first encountered the term governance in the early 1980s in a policy document by the World Bank, where I worked for some time. In this document, governance was used as a "criterion to evaluate deeply indebted countries in order to determine their credit-worthiness." This document clearly demonstrates the intention of the World Bank to finance those nations that are willing to practice good governance. Specifically, good governance refers to satisfying the following qualities: willingness to encourage foreign investment; high regard for the rule of law; determination to prevent corruption; and the ability to formulate and implement sound fiscal, economic, monetary, foreign currency and trade policies.
4.The above-mentioned policy, adopted by the World Bank to evaluate the governments of developing countries on the basis of governance has been criticized by developing nations and development economics specialists as being a one-sided criterion established by industrialized nations. It was accused of being unreasonable, because while developing nations were forced to fulfill their responsibilities, the responsibilities of multinational enterprises regarding the exploitation of resources, abuse of human rights and destruction of the environment remain neglected. Furthermore, the governance of the World Bank, as well as other international organizations which were involved in the development of poorer nations, was also questioned. It was proposed that international organizations, particularly the UN and the World Bank, must improve their efficiency and transparency. With these circumstances as the background, a new concept of global governance was born.
5.With these as the preconditions, the following is considered the definition of global governance which presently proves, at least to me, to be meaningful: the "government, management and administration capabilities of the United Nations, World Bank and other international organizations, various regimes, coalitions of interested nations and individual nations when they act globally to address to various issues that emerge beyond national borders, such as development, the environment, human rights, infectious diseases and international terrorism."
6.This definition does not imply the organizations (and/or regimes dealing with global issues) themselves but has the characteristic of recognizing global governance as a standard to evaluate the constitutions, procedures and activities of those organizations and/or regimes. In the following sections, I will analyze three aspects of this definition of global governance; (a) targeted organizations, (b) targeted issues, and (c) essential factors of global governance.
7. Targeted organizations would include international organizations such as the United Nations and UN organizations; treaty organizations (regimes) that have been prominent recently in the fields of the environment and human rights; regional organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); regional arrangements, including ASEAN and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty; loose confederations of nations, including the Group of Eight (G8); and individual nations dealing with global issues.
8. Targeted issues would include security, terrorism, disarmament, international criminal organizations, poverty, population, the environment, human rights, and infectious diseases. It can be said that global governance is the standard by which to judge the extent to which such organizations serve a useful role in addressing these issues.
9. Finally, factors for global governance would include the following: (a) efficiency (whether goals are achieved without wasting resources); (b) effectiveness (whether issues are dealt with effectively and satisfactory outcomes are produced); (c) fairness (whether costs and benefits are balanced); (d) transparency (whether organizations and their procedures to resolve issues are open to public scrutiny): (e) democracy (whether all interested parties participate in the decision-making and implementation process); and (f) accountability (whether the content of activities are sufficiently explained to interested parties and approved by them, and whether the organizations in charge are ready to take responsibility for the outcomes resulting from the measures taken).
10. This is an outline of my understanding of global governance. Future tasks will be to develop detailed factor-based evaluation methods for organizations dealing with specific issues, evaluate actual efforts, and through these analyses, to test to what extent global governance can be utilized as a tool to achieve objectives.


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