Global governance | regional views

Regional views

Regional players, whether regional conglomerates such as Mercosur and the European Union, or major countries seen as key regional players such as China, the United States, and India, are taking a growing interest in world governance.[48] Examples of discussion of this issue can be found in the works of: Martina Timmermann et al., Institutionalizing Northeast Asia: Regional Steps toward Global Governance;[49] Douglas Lewis, Global Governance and the Quest for Justice - Volume I: International and Regional Organizations;[50] Olav Schram Stokke, "Examining the Consequences of International Regimes," which discusses Northern, or Arctic region building in the context of international relations;[51] Jeffery Hart and Joan Edelman Spero, "Globalization and Global Governance in the 21st Century," which discusses the push of countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India, China, Taiwan, and South Korea, "important regional players" seeking "a seat at the table of global decision-making";[52] Dr. Frank Altemöller, “International Trade: Challenges for Regional and Global Governance: A comparison between Regional Integration Models in Eastern Europe and Africa – and the role of the WTO”,[53] and many others.

Interdependence among countries and regions hardly being refutable today, regional integration is increasingly seen not only as a process in itself, but also in its relation to the rest of the world, sometimes turning questions like "What can the world bring to my country or region?" into "What can my country or region bring to the rest of the world?" Following are a few examples of how regional players are dealing with these questions.


Often seen as a problem to be solved rather than a people or region with an opinion to express on international policy, Africans and Africa draw on a philosophical tradition of community and social solidarity that can serve as inspiration to the rest of the world and contribute to building world governance. One example is given by Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gathseni when he reminds us of the relevance of the Ubuntu concept, which stresses the interdependence of human beings.[54]

African civil society has thus begun to draw up proposals for governance of the continent, which factor in all of the dimensions: local, African, and global. Examples include proposals by the network "Dialogues sur la gouvernance en Afrique" for "the construction of a local legitimate governance," state reform "capable of meeting the continent's development challenges," and "effective regional governance to put an end to Africa's marginalization."[55]

United States

Foreign-policy proposals announced by President Barack Obama include restoring the Global Poverty Act, which aims to contribute to meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce by half the world population living on less than a dollar a day by 2015. Foreign aid is expected to double to 50 billion dollars.[56] The money will be used to help build educated and healthy communities, reduce poverty and improve the population's health.[57]

The United States and China have been working side by side to improve foreign policy and global governance. There has been a 3-year project to support the international business industry. They have discussed climate change, areas of trade, investment and finance. The Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business (RCCPB) has done the majority of international relationship meetings and has input the most solutions for development including bringing scholars from all around the world to meet and discuss action plans.

In terms of international institutions, The White House Web site advocates reform of the World Bank and the IMF, without going into any detail.[58]

Below are further points in the Obama-Biden plan for foreign policy directly related to world governance:[59]

  • strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty;
  • global de-nuclearization in several stages including stepping up cooperation with Russia to significantly reduce stocks of nuclear arms in both countries;
  • revision of the culture of secrecy: institution of a National Declassification Center to make declassification secure but routine, efficient, and cost-effective;
  • increase in global funds for AIDS, TB and malaria. Eradication of malaria-related deaths by 2015 by making medicines and mosquito nets far more widely available;
  • increase in aid for children and maternal health as well as access to reproductive health-care programs;
  • creation of a 2-billion-dollar global fund for education. Increased funds for providing access to drinking water and sanitation;
  • other similarly large-scale measures covering agriculture, small- and medium-sized enterprises and support for a model of international trade that fosters job creation and improves the quality of life in poor countries;
  • in terms of energy and global warming, Obama advocates a) an 80% reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 b) investing 150 billion dollars in alternative energies over the next 10 years and c) creating a Global Energy Forum capable of initiating a new generation of climate protocols.

Latin America

The 21st century has seen the arrival of a new and diverse generation of left-wing governments in Latin America. This has opened the door to initiatives to launch political and governance renewal. A number of these initiatives are significant for the way they redefine the role of the state by drawing on citizen participation, and can thus serve as a model for a future world governance built first and foremost on the voice of the people. The constituent assemblies in Ecuador and Bolivia are fundamental examples of this phenomenon.

In Ecuador, social and indigenous movements were behind the discussions that began in 1990 on setting up a constituent assembly.[60] In the wake of Rafael Correa's arrival at the head of the country in November 2006, widespread popular action with the slogan "que se vayan todos" (let them all go away) succeeded in getting all the political parties of congress to accept a convocation for a referendum on setting up the assembly.

In April 2007, Rafael Correa's government organized a consultation with the people to approve setting up a constituent assembly. Once it was approved, 130 members of the assembly were elected in September, including 100 provincial members, 24 national members and 6 for migrants in Europe, Latin America and the USA. The assembly was officially established in November. Assembly members belonged to traditional political parties as well as the new social movements. In July 2008, the assembly completed the text for the new constitution and in September 2008 there was a referendum to approve it. Approval for the new text won out, with 63.9% of votes for compared to 28.1% of votes against and a 24.3% abstention rate.[61]

The new constitution establishes the rule of law on economic, social, cultural and environmental rights (ESCER). It transforms the legal model of the social state subject to the rule of law into a "constitution of guaranteed well-being" (Constitución del bienestar garantizado) inspired by the ancestral community ideology of "good living" propounded by the Quechuas of the past, as well as by 21st century socialist ideology. The constitution promotes the concept of food sovereignty by establishing a protectionist system that favors domestic production and trade. It also develops a model of public aid for education, health, infrastructures and other services.

In addition, it adds to the three traditional powers, a fourth power called the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control, made up of former constitutional control bodies and social movements, and mandated to assess whether public policies are constitutional or not.

The new Bolivian constitution was approved on 25 January 2009 by referendum, with 61.4% votes in favor, 38.6% against and a 90.2% turnout. The proposed constitution was prepared by a constituent assembly that did not only reflect the interests of political parties and the elite, but also represented the indigenous peoples and social movements. As in Ecuador, the proclamation of a constituent assembly was demanded by the people, starting in 1990 at a gathering of indigenous peoples from the entire country, continuing with the indigenous marches in the early 2000s and then with the Program Unity Pact (Pacto de Unidad Programático) established by family farmers and indigenous people in September 2004 in Santa Cruz.[62]

The constitution recognizes the autonomy of indigenous peoples, the existence of a specific indigenous legal system, exclusive ownership of forest resources by each community and a quota of indigenous members of parliament. It grants autonomy to counties, which have the right to manage their natural resources and elect their representatives directly. The latifundio system has been outlawed, with maximum ownership of 5,000 hectares allowed per person. Access to water and sanitation are covered by the constitution as human rights that the state has to guarantee, as well as other basic services such as electricity, gas, postal services, and telecommunications that can be provided by either the state or contracting companies. The new constitution also establishes a social and community economic model made up of public, private, and social organizations, and cooperatives. It guarantees private initiative and freedom of enterprise, and assigns public organizations the task of managing natural resources and related processes as well as developing public services covered by the constitution. National and cooperative investment is favored over private and international investment. The "unitary plurinational" state of Bolivia has 36 official indigenous languages along with Spanish. Natural resources belong to the people and are administered by the state. The form of democracy in place is no longer considered as exclusively representative and/or based on parties. Thus, "the people deliberate and exercise government via their representatives and the constituent assembly, the citizen legislative initiative and the referendum . . ."[63] and "popular representation is exercised via the political parties, citizen groups, and indigenous peoples."[64] This way, "political parties, and/or citizen groups and/or indigenous peoples can present candidates directly for the offices of president, vice-president, senator, house representative, constituent-assembly member, councilor, mayor, and municipal agent. The same conditions apply legally to all. . . ."[65]

Also in Latin America: "Amazonia . . . is an enormous biodiversity reservoir and a major climate-regulation agent for the planet but is being ravaged and deteriorated at an accelerated pace; it is a territory almost entirely devoid of governance, but also a breeding place of grassroots organization initiatives.".[66] "Amazonia can be the fertile field of a true school of 'good' governance if it is looked after as a common and valuable good, first by Brazilians (65% of Amazonia is within Brazilian borders) and the people of the South American countries surrounding it, but also by all the Earth's inhabitants."[67] Accordingly, "[f]rom a world-governance perspective, [Amazonia] is in a way an enormous laboratory. Among other things, Amazonia enables a detailed examination of the negative effects of productivism and of the different forms of environmental packaging it can hide behind, including 'sustainable development.' Galloping urbanization, Human Rights violations, the many different types of conflicts (14 different types of conflicts have been identified within the hundreds of cases observed in Amazonia), protection of indigenous populations and their active participation in local governance: these are among the many Amazonian challenges also affecting the planet as a whole, not to mention the environment. The hosts of local initiatives, including among the indigenous populations, are however what may be most interesting in Amazonia in that they testify to the real, concrete possibility of a different form of organization that combines a healthy local economy, good social cohesion, and a true model of sustainable development—this time not disguised as something else. All of this makes Amazonia 'a territory of solutions.'"[68]

According to Arnaud Blin, the Amazonian problem helps to define certain fundamental questions on the future of humankind. First, there is the question of social justice: "[H]ow do we build a new model of civilization that promotes social justice? How do we set up a new social architecture that allows us to live together?" The author goes on to refer to concepts such as the concept of "people's territory " or even "life territory" rooted in the indigenous tradition and serving to challenge private property and social injustice. He then suggests that the emerging concept of the "responsibility to protect," following up on the "right of humanitarian intervention" and until now used to try to protect populations endangered by civil wars, could also be applied to populations threatened by economic predation and to environmental protection.[69]


The growing interest in world governance in Asia represents an alternative approach to official messages, dominated by states' nationalist visions. An initiative to develop proposals for world governance took place in Shanghai in 2006, attended by young people from every continent. The initiative produced ideas and projects that can be classified as two types: the first and more traditional type, covering the creation of a number of new institutions such as an International Emissions Organization,[70] and a second more innovative type based on organizing network-based systems. For example, a system of cooperative control on a worldwide level among states[71] and self-organization of civil society into networks using new technologies, a process that should serve to set up a Global Calling-for-Help Center or a new model based on citizens who communicate freely, share information, hold discussions, and seek consensus-based solutions.[72] They would use the Internet and the media, working within several types of organizations: universities, NGOs, local volunteers and civil-society groups.[73]

Given the demographic importance of the continent, the development of discussion on governance and practices in Asia at the regional level, as well as global-level proposals, will be decisive in the years ahead in the strengthening of global dialog among all sorts of stakeholders, a dialog that should produce a fairer world order.(See Kishore Mahbubani).


According to Michel Rocard, Europe does not have a shared vision, but a collective history that allows Europeans to opt for projects for gradual political construction such as the European Union. Drawing on this observation, Rocard conceives of a European perspective that supports the development of three strategies for constructing world governance: reforming the UN, drawing up international treaties to serve as the main source of global regulations, and "the progressive penetration of the international scene by justice."[74]

Europe does not have the same views as other nations, however according to the Ambassador of Vienna, Walther Lichem, "Today, every citizen can contribute to the recognition of the dignity of the other and the related human rights. The impact of citizen-focused human rights programs is visible in human rights cities in all regions of the world. The citizen creating conditions of societal cohesion also essentially contributes to peace and security." Overall, having the same human rights goal is the ultimate end game in all nations. Europe's main focus now through global governance is to keep the trend of peacekeeping. Involved in the peacekeeping is Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Norway. They have worked with The International Collaboration Research Network to establish rules and norms to follow by.

Rocard considers that there are a number of "great questions of the present days" including recognition by all nations of the International Criminal Court, the option of an international police force authorized to arrest international criminals, and the institution of judicial procedures to deal with tax havens, massively polluting activities, and states supporting terrorist activities. He also outlines "new problems" that should foster debate in the years to come on questions such as a project for a Declaration of Interdependence, how to re-equilibrate world trade and WTO activities, and how to create world regulations for managing collective goods (air, drinking water, oil, etc.) and services (education, health, etc.).[75]

Martin Ortega similarly suggests that the European Union should make a more substantial contribution to global governance, particularly through concerted action in international bodies. European states, for instance, should reach an agreement on the reform of the United Nations Security Council.[76]

In 2011, the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), an inter-institutional pilot project of the European Union which aims to assist EU policy formulation through the identification and critical analysis of long-term global trends, highlighted the importance of expanding global governance over the next 20 years.[77]