On the Constitutionability of Global Public Policy Networks


Global Public Policy Networks (GPPNs) are increasingly influential in the global policy-making process. According to the Global Public Policy Institute, GPPNs are cross-sectoral coalitions of actors from governments, international organizations, civil society, and private industry. In structure, these networks differ from traditional hierarchical organizations, but their primary functions—negotiation, coordination, rule-making, and implementation—pick up the classic tasks of formal international organizations and intergovernmental cooperation.

The power and acceptance of these networks are based on the real or alleged expertise of their members, their former or current formal positions in national or international organizations or private industry, and their personal connections. Although these features nourish the assumption that GPPNs are efficient problemsolvers, there is no empirical proof of this belief. Potential sources of their legitimacy await grounding in a solid normative theory. Efficiency cannot be considered a ready substitute for the formal democratic legitimacy that these networks are lacking in either empirical or theoretical regard. The phenomenon of GPPNs, therefore, touches some core problems of the global constitutionalism project—the idea of subjecting transnational, non-state actors to the rule of a global constitutional agreement.

As powerful actors in the transnational sphere, GPPNs must address three challenges relating to the future of constitutionalism. First, is it possible to put non-state political actors under a constitutional regime? Second, if it is possible, how does one do so? Third, in what ways can the project of constitutionalism be expanded beyond the frame of the nation-state, if at all? The answers to these questions must address the central problem of global constitutionalism: how the traditional bond between the nation-state and its constitution can be dissolved without abandoning the accomplishments that the project of the modern state constitution stands for—founding, legitimizing, and confining democratic governance.