Center for Governance and Sustainability

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Steps Three, Four and Five

Step Three is to “deploy this augmented institutional geometry in a results-oriented push to accelerate progress on individual priority challenges.” WEF argues that the existing system of international affairs is based on an outmoded, state-centric framework that does not properly appreciate or harness the reality of all the Actors in the international system. It feels that the current powerful nation-states are no longer the dominant Actors on the world stage. Globalization has ‘pluralized’ power. Now, there are multinational corporations with profit margins that rival some national GDPs, a larger number of politically influential states, and an international civil society directly engaged in setting international political directions.

Step Three is a conceptual and ideological challenge. International relations in GRI’s view has moved from a state-based and multilateral-based global system to one that has many Actors, some of which are more powerful than nation-states. This ‘augmented institutional geometry’ creates many more ways that ‘results’ can be achieved in a new international governance system.

Step Four is an extension of Step Three. Its goal is to “undertake similarly practical, targeted initiatives to strengthen legitimacy, participation and accountability in the state-based core of the system.” In short, the third step describes the conceptual ways that non-state Actors should be inserted in the international system and the fourth step appeals for quick wins in a number of specific areas to prove that the participation of the leaderships of MNCs and CSOs increases the effective delivery of public goods.

Step Four does, however, expose a potential internal inconsistency in WEF’s approach. In the Step Four, the nation-state is depicted as the ‘core of the system.’ However, in Step One, the nation-state is ‘not the sole, and sometimes not the crucial core component’ in the global governance system.  Step One appears to be the key message – the new global multi-stakeholder governance system should take precedence over the existing state-based system. Step Four, as a pragmatic implementation device, seeks to gain acceptance of the whole package without overly antagonizing those likely to lose power as a result of the change.

Step Five is to “expand the constituency for international cooperation by cultivating a shift in values within societies and professions grounded in a deeper appreciation of the implications of global interdependence for the achievement of their objectives.”

In Step Five, WEF recognizes something that is not often acknowledged in the business world: international executives are so focused on corporate short-term interests that they have developed a detachment from the realities of the current globalized world. Step Five also recognizes that there is a disjunction between the values of international elite and the needs and realities of those impacted by a globalized economy. To overcome this institutional blindness, GRI calls for the establishment of a new corporate moral compass, modeled on the Hippocratic Oath. 

In brief, Step Five acknowledges the moral gap in the executive suites and in globalization and calls for the corporate executives themselves to create a new corporate executive code of ethics and to develop a sense of ownership and responsibility as global political leaders.

Step Three – Related Ideas: Push for Results; New Tools; Legitimacy;  New Governing Actors

Step Four – Related Ideas: Legitimacy; Reconciliation; Challenges to the UN system; Participation

Step Five – Related Ideas: Shift in Values; Global business oath; Sense of ownership;  When obligations and norms are 'not possible'Three Facets; Too prone to treat human dignity as legitimate


The Readers' Guide welcomes commentary – critical or otherwise – of the above interpretation of GRI’s perspective and the issues involved.

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