Global Governance and the UN
An Unfinished Journey
Publication Year: 2010
In the 21st century, the world is faced with threats of global scale that cannot be confronted without collective action. Although global government as such does not exist, formal and informal institutions, practices, and initiatives -- together forming "global governance" -- bring a greater measure of predictability, stability, and order to trans-border issues than might be expected. Yet, there are significant gaps between many current global problems and available solutions. Thomas G. Weiss and Ramesh Thakur analyze the UN's role in addressing such knowledge, normative, policy, institutional, and compliance lapses. The UN's relationship to these five global governance gaps is explored through case studies of some of the most burning problems of our age, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, humanitarian crises, development aid, climate change, human rights, and HIV/AIDS.
Published by: Indiana University Press
List of Boxes, Tables, and Figures
Series Editors’ Foreword
We began the United Nations Intellectual History Project (UNIHP ) ten years ago to fill a surprising and serious omission, the lack of any comprehensive study of the history of the UN’s contributions to economic and social thinking and action. Now, with some satisfaction, we can look back at thirteen published volumes that document the UN’s work in these ...
Global governance is generally defined as an instance of governance in the absence of government. There is no government at the global level: the UN General Assembly is not a world parliament, and Ban Ki-moon is not the world’s president. But there is governance—of sorts. Moreover, as Thomas G. Weiss and Ramesh Thakur indicate, today’s desire to improve ...
Both of us normally write quickly, but we have been struggling with this book for over half a decade. Because “global governance” means so many things to so many analysts, part of our battle was finding a way to make this rather amorphous subject manageable and meaningful. The concept, moreover, covers many topics that are the subject of a book in their own ...
List of Abbreviations
Introduction The Probl
There is no government for the world. Yet on any given day, mail is delivered across borders; people travel from one country to another via a variety of transport modes; goods and services are freighted across land, air, sea, and cyberspace; and a whole range of other cross-border activities takes place in reasonable expectation of safety and security for the people, groups, firms, and governments involved. ...
1 Tracing the Origins of an Idea and the UN ’s Contribution
This chapter explores three themes: the idea of global governance itself, the UN’s ideational role in framing this idea, and the anomalies in the international system that have provided openings for the spread of this concept. The UN ’s “ideational role” is fancy new packaging for the world organization’s intellectual or creative capacities in global governance—its ...
Part 1 • International Security
2 The Use of Force: War, Collective Security, and Peace Operations
Given the UN ’s central mandate to maintain international peace and security and its creation from the ashes of World War II, it is appropriate that this book’s first substantive chapter begin with the topic of security. Contrary to general perceptions, the number of conflicts between and within states, the number of terrorist incidents, and the overall number ...
3 Arms Control and Disarmament
The nuclear arms control regime—centered on the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty—is under challenge on many fronts. In some quarters of the international community of states and civil society there is exasperation about the failure of an accelerated timetable of nuclear disarmament by the five NPT nuclear powers (the United Kingdom, China, France, ...
On 11 September 2001—now usually referred to as 9/11—global terrorism struck at the symbolic headquarters of global power and globalization. This was followed over the next five years by other horrific terrorist attacks in such locations as Bali, Madrid, Beslan, Tel Aviv, London, and Mumbai.1 Iraq witnessed more acts of terrorism than anywhere else in ...
Part 2 • Development
5 Trade, Aid, and Finance
Although the primary mandate of the United Nations is maintaining international peace and security, the search for international security was polarized around the Cold War almost immediately after the organization came into being. In the meantime, decolonization brought into being a vast number of newly independent countries that joined the United ...
6 Sustainable Development
Former UNEP executive director Mostafa Tolba recalls that the term “sustainable development” emerged in UNEP’s governing council in the early 1980s. Previous incarnations were “eco-development,” “development without destruction,” and “environmentally sound development”—all attempts to tie social development and economic growth to environmental protection.1 This chapter links the previous chapter on development and ...
7 Saving the Environment: The Ozone Layer and Climate Change
The impetus for sustainable growth and development was driven by the needs of poorer countries. This chapter emphasizes what appear to be unavoidable environmental constraints that loom as real barriers to economic growth as we have known it. We have chosen to stress two pressing issues—the deterioration in the ozone layer and irreversible climate ...
Part 3 • Human Rights
8 Generations of Rights
Human rights deal with the proper balance in relations between individuals, society, and the state. Universalizing the norm of human rights was one of the great achievements of the twentieth century. A fundamental tension pervades every facet of the UN ’s role in promoting this norm and protecting the human rights of people. While human rights are most ...
9 Protecting against Pandemics
The rapidity with which some diseases can spread to become global pandemics; the emergence of new, deadly, and highly contagious diseases; the absence of border defenses to protect against such diseases; and the greater vulnerability of poor countries and poor people because of virtually nonexistent preventive and negligible therapeutic care are among the ...
10 The Responsibility to Protect
The most basic human right is to life itself—indeed, what could be more fundamental to a working system of global governance, however defined and however rudimentary? As Pope Benedict XVI put it in his address to the General Assembly in April 2008, “Recognition of the unity of the human family, and attention to the innate dignity of every man and ...
About the Authors
Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor of Political Science at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, where he is co-director of the United Nations Intellectual History Project. He is President of the International Studies Association (2009–2010) and Chair of the Academic ...
About the United Nations Intellectual History Project
Ideas and concepts are a main driving force in human progress, and they are arguably the most important contribution of the United Nations. Yet there has been little historical study of the origins and evolution of the history of economic and social ideas cultivated within the world organization and of their impact on wider thinking and international action. The ...