Thematic Global Governance Campaigns

The next generation of disruptive forces was largely seen in theme-specific areas such as the food crisis, the debt crisis, a biodiversity crisis, the poverty crisis, the Asian financial crisis, the climate crisis, the health crisis, etc. Each of these crises has seen the development of widespread civil society efforts to prod governments and international organizations to adopt policies and programs to address the problem. These campaigns have often included efforts to restructure the governance of that sector.

The ferment of activity around thematic governance issues has expanded considerably in the past decade. Sometimes it was provoked by the lack of equity and the resulting poor functioning of an international governance organization (e.g. IMF governance); sometimes it evolved from a recognition that the multiple governance arrangements and the resulting fragmentation of work in an area has prevented effective work (e.g. the weak relationship between multilateral environment agreements and UNEP); sometimes the governance proposals have simply evolved from the core proposal for action within that sector (e.g. plant genetics governance); and sometimes governance debates were central to the formation of a new international activity (e.g. the transfer from the Pentagon to the private sector of internet governance).

The starting point for these proposals has been the perceived limitations of the existing governance arrangements, be they at the Bretton Woods Institutions, the FAO, UNEP, or ECOSOC. As most of these specific governance issues grew out dramatic crises within that sector, they developed – and are evolving -- quite independently of each other.   

These sector governance proposals have been complemented by institutional debates on proper connection between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods Institutions and the United Nations and the specialized agencies.


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.

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