Readers' Guide Comment on “For this to change, policymaking processes and institutional structures themselves will need to be adapted and perhaps even fundamentally repositioned with this in mind.”
To move from an incremental, even experimental, role in multi-stakeholder partnerships to a more institutional role for multi-stakeholder governance will require more than a casual adaptation by government policymakers or a repositioning by international civil society. Such a transformation would probably require a new set of rules and procedures for acceptable governance outcomes, a new willingness by governments to step back from their presumptions of exclusivity in intergovernmental decision making, and the institutionalization of multi-stakeholder groupings to implement the outcomes of their decisions. The new set of rules and procedures would be something analogous to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The institutionalization of multi-stakeholder bodies would entail some form of ‘dues or taxes’ to support a staff to follow up on its decisions as well as an arrangement for holding members of the multi-stakeholder group accountable for their actions.
There are precedents for major industrial governments providing intergovernmental recognition to multi-stakeholder bodies. For example, the ISO established product standards under the WTO Technical Barriers To Trade Agreement, and the Financial Stability Board and the Bank for International Settlements established bank disclosure standards under the ‘authority’ of the G20. These precedents for the transfer of state authority to non-state bodies, however, all originated within the inter-state system. It would be quite different if a multi-stakeholder body called for independence in global decision making, and then expected the inter-state system to withdraw from a given thematic area.
The Readers' Guide welcomes comments with alternative examples or counter examples, supplemental assessments of the extracted GRI text or commentary – critical or otherwise – of the above interpretation of GRI’s perspective.