New Risks – New Paradigms for Global Governance
Statement given by Manfred Rosenberger, introducing round table discussions in Workshop 43 of CHINA-EUROPA-FORUM 2010
Having already discussed different definitions of the term "governance" today, let me just resume my view of the problem in a short description of the currant situation : "New Governance" expresses the simple fact that state structures, whose legitimacy and authority are governed by constitutions, are more and more influenced and assisted in their decision-making by informal structures.
Therefore, “paradigms” in my understanding should not become some kind of “models” or “examples” for such decision making processes, which would be imposed on a global level. They are rather a sort of “common and basic acceptation” of a possible framework for global coordination of our answers to political and social challenges.
By the way, me too, I do not view global governance as a step towards a global state or a world government. Global cooperation is the only way to master the new, asymmetric global challenges of the twenty-first century.
No nation can manage these tasks on its own, nor can the entire international community do so without the help of non-state, civil society actors. We must work together to find appropriate policy responses to the realities of the twenty-first century.
What are these realities ?
As I am a German, I can not leave it out that from our perspective, the major “paradigm shift” has taken place already 20 years ago : in 1989, hardly anyone was talking about globalization. Europe and Germany were still divided by the Iron Curtain, although globalization, like governance, had already been around for a long time, of course. But the world and the perception of threat have fundamentally changed since then.
Borders between nation-states are less and less important, as is the distinction between internal and external security. Policy-makers are forced to react appropriately to the shrinking significance of borders as well as to their active removal.
There is no longer a direct confrontation East to West, no more "balance of terror". These have been replaced by countless asymmetries, the "simultaneity of the non-simultaneous" (Ernst Bloch).
Such asymmetries can shake the foundations of our world order, for example the global economic imbalances between the US, Europe and Asia that have contributed to the ongoing global financial and economic crisis.
But in the field of security politics we also have asymmetric conflicts, failing states and ever more powerful non-state actors – such as international terrorism.
We are therefore facing altered security challenges like :
+ organized cross-border crime,
+ global migration flows,
+ cyber crime and cyber warfare against the information infrastructures of private companies or governments,
+ speculation against national and common currencies
just to mention a few of those threats.
The Internet and other media permeated national borders long ago. After all, globalization means first of all an increase in information, communication and mutual dependence.
One of the greatest challenges for security authorities around the world is international terrorism. In fact, the structure and activities of international terrorism depend on globalization, without which terrorism could not be so efficient or brutal.
Terrorists take advantage of media networks with their global coverage and rapid response times to spread their inhuman messages made available on video or the Internet. The Internet serves as a communications platform, advertising medium, distance university and think-tank all rolled into one. The strategy of international terrorism is to undermine the legitimacy of government authority by demonstrating any government’s impotence in the face of cruel attacks. For this demonstration to succeed, media are needed to transmit the message.
At the same time, terrorist networks exploit regional or religious conflicts for their own inhuman aims. International terrorism needs globalization. To put it in the language of criminology : Globalization provides motives and promotes opportunities.
Importance of international cooperation
No nation can face these immense new challenges alone.
This is why the entire global community depends on effective cooperation. We need close, trusting cooperation in bilateral partnerships and supra-national organizations such as the United Nations, regional organisations as the ASEAN, African Union and the European Union.
We have plenty of options in this regard. I am convinced there is still room for improvement in key areas of intra-governmental and supra-national cooperation. Now that almost everyone agrees that unilateral measures hardly yield satisfying results today, we must come to multilateral decisions within the framework of existing and more-over new partnerships and alliances, and then carry out these decisions multilaterally as well - by multinational military means, if absolutely necessary, or increasingly by using international police.
Up to now, the tendency has been for others to decide multilaterally what the United States is then supposed to do unilaterally. That can’t be right. Anyone who thinks that everything would be fine if we just stayed within our own national borders does not understand how globalization works.
Globalization means that no one is an island ; instead, every country must do its utmost so that international terrorism and transnational criminality do not reach it too one day.
Naturally, we Europeans still must learn how to speak with one voice. And we must learn to see the European Union not as a rival to other powerful entities nor to the United States, but as a stable and trustful pillar within the international bodies.
We need the cooperation of NGOs, private companies, welfare organizations, churches and religious groups, citizens’ initiatives, charitable foundations and aid organizations. If we want to strive for the lofty ideal of global governance, we must work together with such non-state actors in a mostly informal but cooperative and productive network.
How realistic is global governance ?
Admittedly, global governance today is more a guiding star than political reality. And as attractive as the concept of global governance is, there are still many unanswered questions. These are above all questions of transparency, efficiency and legitimacy.
Even powerful, globally active NGOs play only an advocacy role and often have no mandate, not even from those they claim to represent.
Global governance depends on a willingness to engage in dialogue and on the sincerity and trustworthiness of all actors.
It requires a certain amount of consensus and rules which all participants agree to abide by. And we know that the reliability of international agreements and conventions can sometimes be a problem. Making it easier at least for state actors to take part in global governance would require urgent changes to international law, which is still largely based on realities that have long ceased to exist.
The need to reform global governance and to set new paradigms has never been greater. Tinkering will not work. The world has changed fundamentally since 1990 and will change even more radically.
We need new thinking, not new tinkering. To arrive at the new thinking, we need to focus on three tensions that have arisen in global governance.
The first tension is between the desire to cling to sovereignty and the need to respond to globalisation. At a time when the global village needs to convene global village councils to address these issues, these very institutions are being weakened.
Sadly, the most powerful country in the world, the United States, is allergic to global governance. But paradoxically, the US has the most to gain from good global governance because the richest home in any village has the most to lose from global disorder and instability.
The second tension in global governance is between the old and new rising powers. We are coming to the end of two centuries of Western domination of world history. All the new emerging powers are non- Western. Yet, we in the West must accept that we continue to be over-represented in existing global institutions.
The United Nations’ founding fathers wisely created the veto to anchor the great powers in the UN. Sadly, they did not anticipate that the great powers of the day could become the great powers of yesterday. Britain and France could help by giving up their seats in favour of a common European seat. If they did, they would help the Asian powers to overcome one another’s bids to gain key seats in global organisations.
The rich Western powers stand to lose the most from global disorder. Hence, it should be in their interest to support a new principle that all - new and old powers - who want to occupy privileged positions in global organisations should take on responsibilities commensurate with their privileges. Hence, if genocide breaks out in Rwanda or if a financial crisis arises in Asia, all great powers must assume the responsibility to address these challenges.
This approach will also help to resolve the third tension between great power imperatives and the need to reflect the views and interests of the majority of the world’s population in global governance.
Great powers can no longer dominate global politics as they did in the 19th and 20th centuries. The majority of the world’s population has gone from being an object of world history to becoming the subject. People want to take greater control of their destinies and not have their views or interests ignored. Hence, any reform of global governance should pay attention to both institutions that respond to great power interests (like the UN Security Council and G-8) and institutions that respond to the universal interests of humanity (like the UN General Assembly).
It will not be easy to resolve these three tensions. If we are unable to do so, both rich and poor countries will become losers, and our global village might be destroyed. Therefore, there is an urgent and pressing need to discard old thinking on global governance and prepare new perspectives and paradigms.
Our governance systems must more than ever offer citizens avenues for shaping the tomorrow’s world they want their children to inherit.
In my view, the European Union remains one of the most experienced laboratory of international governance, a place where the procedures of international cooperation are constantly being tested.
Galerie Photos :