Center for Governance and Sustainability

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Introduction to the Readers’ Guide

This is an online Readers Guide to the outcome of the World Economic Forum’s 18 month Global Redesign Initiative (GRI) project.  The report was released as Everybody’s Business:  Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World 1 .

Prompted by world financial crisis that started in 2007/2008, the three most senior leaders of the World Economic Forum (WEF) - Klaus Schwab, 2  its Executive Chairman;  Mark Malloch-Brown, 3  then its Vice-Chairman; and Richard Samans, 4  its Managing Director – initiated and led a major re-think of global governance. 5  They used the annual sessions of Davos and the regional sessions in Asia, Europe, Africa, South-east 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 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 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 taskforces almost as an à la carte selection. 6  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 synthesis 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 final introductory essay has the Readers Guide’s concluding observations. The longest section of the Reader Guide contains extracts of key passages from the full report with detailed 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 analyses and alternative strategies for a next set of global institutions. Each page has a link to the PDF version for that section. A table of contents to all the PDFs for the entire website is available here

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

  • 1. ^ The Global Redesign Initiative report, Everybody’s Business: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World, was launched in Doha, Quatar in late 2009.  This report is subsequently cited as GRI. The page references in the Readers Guide follows the text of the report of the project, Everybody’s Business. This is the version that is provided on World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Initiative website. On November 1, 2010 WEF then issued a shortened book version under the title, Global Redesign: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World. The two versions of the text have slightly different layouts, slightly different presentations of the taskforce reports and therefore different paginations. Both versions of the document can be accessed in pdf form via the WEF website. The GRI project website links to the report  http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GRI_EverybodysBusiness_Report_2010.pdf. The book is also on available on the WEF site at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GRI_StrengtheningInternationalCooperation_Book_2010.pdf. The book form can also be found on www.scribd.com.
  • 2. ^ Klaus Schwab is the founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF. He was born in Ravensburg, Germany in 1938. He holds two Doctorates, the first in Economics from the University of Fribourg; the second is in Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Additionally, he holds a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Aside from his work at the WEF, he has served as a Professor of Business Policy at the University of Geneva (1972-2002), and has held several posts at the United Nations regarding development (Vice-chairman of the UN Committee for Development Planning, 1996-1998; member of the UN High-Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development, 1993-1995).
  • 3. ^ Lord Mark Malloch-Brown was the Vice-Chair of the WEF in 2011. He is a British-born journalist and development professional. He holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan. He started his career as a political correspondent for The Economist newspaper. From there, he moved into working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees under Kofi Annan. He has also held the post of Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (U.K. Government).
  • 4. ^ Richard Samans was the Managing Director of the WEF until March 2011 and is currently a senior advisor for the organization. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Professionally, he has served as Special Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy (USA), as Senior Director of the National Security Council’s International Economic Affairs Directorate, and has occupied a number of other roles in governmental affairs. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Global Green Growth Institute in Seoul, South Korea.
  • 5. ^ Schwab also thanks Director Michele Petochi in his introductory letter, pg 2.
  • 6. ^ Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy (2004-2005) also grappled with a very broad range of global policy issues, yet it produced far fewer recommendations and had no effective follow-up. “In its four meetings . . ., the Helsinki Group discussed issues ranging from security to human rights and from development to environmental issues.”, Helsinki, pg 5. Final Report of the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy: A Case for Multistakeholder Cooperation, Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 2008  subsequently cited as Helsinki Process

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