Center for Governance and Sustainability

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Readers’ Guide: Global Redesign Initiative

This is an online Readers’ Guide to the outcome of the World Economic Forum’s 18 month Global Redesign Initiative (GRI) project. The report released as Everybody’s Business: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World was edited by Richard Samans, Klaus Schwab, and Mark Malloch-Brown.

Prompted by the world financial crisis that started in 2007/2008, the three most senior leaders of the World Economic Forum (WEF) - Klaus Schwab, its Executive Chairman;  Mark Malloch-Brown , then its Vice-Chairman; and Richard Samans, its Managing Director – initiated and led a major re-think of global governance. They used the annual sessions of Davos and the regional sessions in Asia, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America as platforms to develop ideas. They brought the challenges of this undertaking to a series of WEF-sponsored Global Agenda Action Councils, industry workgroups, and academic researchers and policy conferences.  WEF chose Doha, Qatar in May of 2010 to launch the final report from their Global Redesign Initiative.

Undertaking this re-think was a brave undertaking and significant challenge. WEF’s leadership felt that its organization was up to the task.

The 600-page comprehensive framework seeks to expand the scope of what global governance means; integrate elements of the informal governance system into the formal governance system; and re-position the roles of the nation-state, the international private sector, and international civil society organizations in global governance.

To build acceptance of their ideas, WEF summarized their proposals in a creative marketing fashion. WEF groups their structural recommendations as Five Steps, Three Tools, Three Building Blocks and Two Special Mechanisms. Following this introduction, Everybody's Business presents their 'can-do actions' from the quasi-independent task force almost as an à la carte selection. This Readers' Guide follows a similar structure.

The Readers’ Guide first examines the demographics of the participants in the process and introduces the surrounding context for the GRI project. The first Readers Guide introductory essay is an effort to synthesizes WEF’s principles for the next iteration of global governance, one that both seeks to incorporates new actors into the global governance system and to remake the post-WWII institutional arrangements for global governance.

The second essay situates WEF’s new perspective within the context of traditional international relations and national governance frameworks. The third introductory essay appraises the assumptions inherent in WEF’s new proposals and presents a critique of its approach. The fourth and final introductory essay has offers the Readers Guide’s concluding observations. The longest section of the Readers’ Guide contains extracts of key passages from the full report with detailed line by line-by-line commentary.

Each page of the online Readers' Guide has a comment feature intended to encourage an open dialogue on WEF’s proposals and to engage government officials, academic scholars, and students to present their own analysis and alternative strategies for a next set of global institutions.

The Readers’ Guide welcomes comments with alternative examples or counter examples and commentary – critical or otherwise – of the above interpretation of the context of the GRI project.

Email inquiries about the Readers’ Guide project can be addressed to: readersguideumb@gmail.com