An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come. Victor Hugo Whenever you are in doubt, recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man. Gandhi Two dangers constantly threaten the world: order and disorder. Paul Valéry The world is for the public good, such is the Great Way. Confucius *

Dossiers and Documents : Discussion Papers : Rethinking Global Governance

Rethinking Global Governance

A realistic global governance
A three-part structure

Rethinking Global Governance


Arnaud Blin, Gustavo Marin ¤ 2 January 2008 ¤
Translations: Español (original) . français .

The problem that confronts those who would like to see a true global governance architecture emerge is that constructing what one dreams to build does not at all resemble what one might possibly construct, given the constraints, the limitations and the obstacles that we might face, and that one is often tempted to conceal or minimize. Thus, rather than dreaming of an illusory global democracy or a hypothetical global government, it seems much more reasonable to us to advance progressively and to define the problems and objectives. In this manner, we might envision the type of structures and institutions susceptible to bring about the type of vigorous action that one might need to resolve given problems. Only by advancing in this manner will a “global governance” possibly be able to take shape that is worthy of its name, one which it is impossible to foresee since it will espouse a shape that will be defined by the objectives it sets as it goes along.

This approach does not at all resemble that of the architects of the League of Nations after the First World War or of the U.N. after the Second, nor even, going back further, of the internationalist dream that Henri IV of France maintained with his “Grand Design” for Europe. From a philosophical point of view, our approach would be closer to that adopted by Jean Monnet and the first architects of the future European Union.

A three-part structure

It seems necessary, before tackling the issues of concrete order, to give this plan for a global architecture a basic structure, a framework of sorts that will guide the project implementation.

In order to accomplish such a regime of governance, we can envision a method that defines objectives (through a global constitution), a plan of action to meet these objectives, and an ethic (for example a Charter of human responsibilities) that serves as the guiding political and moral thread.

The idea of a “global constitution” based on a few precise concepts – notably in an area previously forsaken by “international relations” – that of ethics. Such a structure could be based on four pillars:

Overcome poverty: A duty to defeat poverty and to save our planet for us and for our children.

Establish dignity: The dignity within each of us calls on us to uphold the freedom and dignity of others.

Establish Peace and justice: A sustainable peace cannot be established without justice respectful of dignity and human rights.

Ensure the legitimacy of power: The use of power is not legitimate unless it is at the service of all and controlled by the people.

In sum, we need to reaffirm the founding principle of the international community: our world belongs to everyone and no government or institution can avail itself of its authority without the democratic will of all.

The Charter of human responsibilities invites us to tackle the challenges of the 21st century by defining a new global social contract that serves as a universal ethic based on the notion of responsibility that complements the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the United Nations.

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