Center for Governance and Sustainability

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Key Third and Fourth tools

The third and fourth tools are analytically more relevant than the first two. These tools are designed to help implement one of the core concepts in GRI’s recommendations: how to engage representatives of the private-sector and civil society inside the formal institutions of international governance.    

Tool Three is to “integrate non-governmental expertise to strengthen policy formulation,” be they formal (legal) or informal (voluntary or public-private). MNCs and CSOs are encouraged to use the third tool to transform their self-perceptions such that they see themselves as part-time global governors. Civil society leaders and corporate executives now see themselves as policy advocates, as lobbyists or in one way or another a representative of their constituency to governments and the UN system.  The purpose of the Tool Three is to provide a verbal incentive to these non-state actors to finally move from the current self-image as advisors or lobbyists to the state-centric system to one with a qualitatively different role.

The strongest of WEF’s examples for Tool Three are the recommendations that non-state actors hold governing sessions parallel to the governing bodies of the FAO, 1   WHO, and UNESCO. WEF envisions using private expertise in setting standards for fishing, water management, and energy efficiency. This would extend the current institutionalization of standard setting by the international business community in the ISO 2   to new venues inside the UN system. The integration of multinational corporations in the formal decision-making process is advanced without any explicit evidence that these non-state actors can truly strengthen, as stated in Step Four, “legitimacy, participation and accountability”. 

While the Tool Three focuses on policy development, Tool Four seeks to “integrate non-governmental resources to strengthen policy implementation.” The objective of the fourth tool is to assert that private sector and civil society organizations can work under the UN system umbrella to deliver programs that IGOs seem, according to WEF, unable to deliver on their own. The assumption behind this tool is that the international secretariats are professionally weak, disinclined to carry out their jobs, or are so inadequately staffed that they require non-state ‘help’ to do their assignments properly.   

GRI’s examples for Tool Four are mostly in economic-related fields. They also have proposals involving non-state actors in program implementation in the food, health, and climate arenas.


Related ideas: Bribery; Carbon capture; Climate funds; Emissions; Energy efficient; Financial risk repository; Food redesign; Health issues; Low-carbon growth; Migration; Principled–based finance; Risk management; Water stress

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

  • 1. ^ FAO : Global Agenda Councils on Food Security and on Nutrition, Global Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Redesign Initiative, pg 193
  • 2. ^ ISO 14001: A Missed Opportunity for Sustainable Global Industrial Development, H. Gleckman and R. Krut, EarthScan, London, 1998 cited as  ISO : Missed Opportunity,  chapter 2
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