2016 was a year of political pushback. Around the world, voters raised their voices demanding change. In many nations, dissatisfaction with the benefits of increasing globalization permeated political parties, prompting policies that focus inward, rather than outward. However, some elements of the connectedness of the global community cannot be changed, regardless of political trends. All states have a stake in some shared resources, namely, the global commons.
Without these basic resources, people can neither survive nor thrive. But effective protection and allocation depends on active cooperation. Unfortunately, when faced with the management and stewardship of common resources, actors tend to act independently and rationally according to their own self-interests and contrary to the interests of the whole community. Many of the most pressing transnational problems faced today have to do with the management of common resources and spaces.
Though the tragedy of the commons presents high barriers for collective action, prospects for collaboration are improving. In an age of relentlessly increasing connectivity, shared resources have moved to the forefront. As United Nations Environment Programme Director of Division of Environmental Law and Conventions Elizabeth Mrema notes in this issue, successes such as the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change demonstrate the international community’s recognition of the need for solutions.
In this issue of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, the Forum section highlights just a few of the resource management challenges facing the global community today. Modern technologies have influenced the conception of international resource wealth, and John Garrity describes the power of the Internet to serve as a global public good. Digging deeper into the new opportunities and challenges created by the latest technological advances, Cassandra Steer explores military use of outer space. In a more traditional take on the global commons, Madeline Baer and Janice Gray offer insight on successful water governance strategies in countries around the world.
Additional contributions to this publication include articles about the role of sanctions in preventing the financing of terrorist groups, the political rise of the radical right in Eastern Europe, the economic consequences of maritime piracy, and the illicit drug trade in Latin America.
We would like to thank our incredible staff whose dedicated work made this edition possible. As always, we are grateful to our expert contributors who afforded us the opportunity to feature their work. Finally, this issue would not have been possible without the tireless support of our advisor Dean Jennifer Long and the School of Foreign Service. It has been a true privilege to serve as editors of the past two issues of the Journal.
Margaret Schaack and Will Evans [End Page 1]