When the G20 leaders held their first summit in late 2008, many welcomed what looked like a diverse, highly representative new forum for crafting common solutions to global problems. The group acquitted itself well in responding to the global financial crisis, and, for a while, its emergence as a forum for international policy coordination seemed like one of the only silver linings of that mess.
I was certainly among those applauding the G20’s initial achievements. Since 2001, when I identified the rise of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as a key feature of the 21st-century world economy, I had been calling for a major overhaul of global-governance structures.… Seguir leyendo »
Earlier this year, Facebook presented its plans to create an ‘oversight board for content decisions’. According to its draft charter , the purpose of this body will be to determine how content should be governed and enforced on the platform. Brent – you have been involved in the initial phases of the board – could you tell us more about the strategy and why your company feels it must look beyond its internal structures to curate online content?
The goal of the board is to extend decision making beyond the company itself and beyond Silicon Valley and hear from a wide array of people, voices and experts who stand beyond those we usually talk to.… Seguir leyendo »
The election of Volodymyr Zelenskyi as president of Ukraine has spurred hopes that an end to the war in the east of the country – pitting the Russian-backed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ (DNR) and the ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ (LNR) against the authorities in Kyiv – is possible. A Russian-speaker from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kriviy Rih and an outsider untainted with the failures of his predecessors, Zelenskyi has, according to some, a chance to reset the bilateral relationship.
Such optimism is unfounded. The principal driver of the crisis – the refusal of Russia’s leaders to accept the sovereignty of Ukraine – is unchanged.… Seguir leyendo »
Speaking to the BBC in Tokyo on 27 June, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono warned that if Britain were to embrace a ‘hard Brexit’ by leaving the European Union without a deal, many of the 1,000 or so Japanese companies based in Britain, employing some 160,000 British workers, might feel compelled to relocate their operations to other parts of Europe.
This is not an idle threat and is particularly acute in the automobile sector where Japanese companies produce some half of the 800,000 vehicles produced annually in Britain. Already, following Honda’s decision to close its British factory by 2021, and Nissan’s cancellation of plans to build its X-Trail SUV in its Sunderland factory, the shock impact of Brexit on British jobs and manufacturing strength is being keenly felt.… Seguir leyendo »
It is nearly 30 years since Rudiger Dornbusch and Sebastian Edwards published a seminal book, The Macroeconomics of Populism. Their conclusion back then was that the economic policies of populist leaders were quintessentially irresponsible. These governments, blinded by an aim to address perceived social injustices, specialised in profligacy, unbothered by budget constraints or whether they might run out of foreign exchange.
Because of this disregard for basic economic logic, their policy experiments inevitably ended badly, with some combination of inflation, capital flight, recession and default. Salvador Allende’s Chile in the 1970s, or Alan García’s Peru in the 1980s, capture this story perfectly.… Seguir leyendo »
With international trade discourse taking an increasingly transactional and sometimes belligerent tone, it would be easy to overlook the quiet revolution currently under way to bring new voices into trade policy development and monitoring. The traditional division of responsibilities between the executive and legislature – whereby treaties are negotiated and signed by the executive, and the legislature does what is necessary to implement them – may be undergoing some change.
Growing awareness of the implications of trade and investment treaties for many aspects of day-to-day life – food standards, employment opportunities, environmental quality, availability of medicines and data protection, just to name a few – is fuelling demands by people and businesses for more of a say in the way these rules are formulated and developed.… Seguir leyendo »
Joseph Nye, when writing his seminal work on soft power, defined it as the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion. The three pillars of his conception of soft power were political values, culture and foreign policy.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an intergovernmental body comprising 10 countries from the region, is an embodiment of soft power in practice. ASEAN’s consensus-oriented model offers a constructive, if limited, means of managing a membership that shares few obvious commonalities. But despite decent prospects for economic integration, how will this model cope with emerging regional challenges where more binding rules may be demanded?… Seguir leyendo »
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST) is the mainframe for space law. It recognizes the importance of the use and scientific exploration of outer space for the benefit and in the interests of all countries. It also prohibits national sovereignty in space, including of the Moon and other celestial bodies.
The OST prohibits all weapons of mass destruction in space – in orbit or on other planets and moons – and does not allow the establishment of military infrastructure, manoeuvres or the testing of any type of weapon on planets or moons. As the treaty makes clear, outer space is for peaceful purposes only.… Seguir leyendo »
Every year, owners of illicit wealth send huge sums of money from the countries where they made it to jurisdictions where they can conceal its origins. They can do so because laws, practices and intermediaries in the receiving countries make money-laundering safe and easy. These arrangements abet criminality, corruption and insecurity on a global scale. There is a clear, compelling and urgent case for closing this major governance gap.
Transnational organized crime has long relied on the ability to launder its earnings. But the issue goes much wider. Those who enrich themselves through corrupt relationships and tax evasion routinely send the proceeds to safer jurisdictions. The scale of these outflows dwarfs international aid budgets designed to support good governance.… Seguir leyendo »
Ever since the collapse of the attempt to negotiate a global agreement on forests at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (the ‘Earth Summit’) in 1992, there has been, in effect, no rules-based international order relating to forests.
Recent developments, however, hold out the prospect – faint though it may be – of the emergence of an international framework promoting forest governance and law enforcement by regulating trade in timber and agricultural commodities associated with deforestation.
There is no doubt that this is an urgent challenge. Over the last 60 years, the world has lost almost 10 per cent of its remaining forests. … Seguir leyendo »
The 1998 treaty which established the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted at a time when the world (or most of it) was willing to reach multilateral agreements on a variety of topics and was encouraging the development of international criminal justice. The two tribunals, set up by the UN Security Council, for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda had been relatively successful. The time was ripe for states to agree together to set up a permanent international court with wider scope than the two tribunals.
So the ICC was created, with jurisdiction over the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; its jurisdiction for the crime of aggression developed later.… Seguir leyendo »
There is an urgent need to bring global governance to the effort to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. The issue of increasing antibiotic resistance, and the need to use antibiotics more wisely, has gained recognition at the highest political echelons, and there is evidence for antibiotic-conserving interventions that all countries could adopt to reverse the global threat.
This confluence of factors makes the possibility of negotiating a global treaty aiming to reduce misuse and overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals more viable than ever before. It is an opportunity that should be seized.
Antibiotics are a core tool of modern medicine, but are increasingly being rendered ineffective by the ability of bacteria to develop resistance.… Seguir leyendo »
The most vexing, complicated and elusive question in international relations is how to achieve an order, based on rules, that enjoys legitimacy, rewards investments in cooperation, reconciles clashing interests and deters conflict. It is not a problem over which a magic wand can be waved. But in our own time, immense and patient efforts have been made towards that general goal, however imperfect the result.
The concept of the ‘rules-based international order’ refers today in its most general sense to arrangements put into place to allow for cooperative efforts in addressing geopolitical, economic and other global challenges, and to arbitrate disputes.… Seguir leyendo »
China’s adherence to the rules-based international system is selective, prioritizing certain rules in favour of others. States supportive of that ‘system’ – or, as some argue, systems – should identify areas of mutual strategic interest so that they can draw China further into the global rules-based order and leverage China as a constructive player that potentially also contributes to improvements in such areas. This is particularly apposite at a time when the US is in retreat from multilateralism and Russia seems bent on disrupting the rules-based international order.
There are many reasons for actively engaging with China on mutual areas of interest.… Seguir leyendo »
The World Trade Organization (WTO) faces arguably the most acute challenge in its 24-year history. Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, a US administration hostile to multilateralism and tempted by protectionism has worked to undermine the WTO by leaving the body on the brink of being unable to perform one of its central roles: adjudicating the rules of global trade.
If the immediate crisis weren’t enough, structural shifts in markets have raised questions about the long-term suitability of the WTO as a rules-based order for international commerce. What, given certain constraints inherent to the WTO system, are the options for reform?… Seguir leyendo »
State weakness and protracted conflict continue to plague Iraq and Libya. A breakdown of the unitary state, competition for power and influence, and the absence of a social contract all continue to drive conflict, while allowing a proliferation of local armed groups to flourish.
Yet while such groups in both countries are often viewed solely as security actors, many of them are better considered as ‘hybrid’ networks that also span the political, economic and social spheres. Western policies to mitigate the threats presented by these groups must therefore extend beyond security-based interventions to necessarily inclusive and political approaches focusing on accountability as a route to peace.… Seguir leyendo »
A decade of crises has generated plenty of pessimism about the European Union. It is certainly true that the EU faces structural challenges and political divisions over reforming the euro and migration policy, as well as disputes over the rule of law in some member states. But these problems should not obscure the union’s strengths.
The EU is a trade, regulation and standard-setting superpower, and even while international cooperation stalls in some areas, it can help to lead the world in regulating markets on crucial questions of privacy, competition, technology and the environment.
In 2012 Anu Bradford, a professor at Columbia Law School, christened the EU’s ability to export its regulations around the world as the ‘Brussels effect’, borrowing from a term used to describe the phenomenon in the US in which Californian regulations – often more stringent than in the rest of the country – are adopted in other US states due to California’s relative economic heft.… Seguir leyendo »
The existing rules of engagement within the international climate framework – the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – are proving inadequate for delivering the emissions reductions needed, and at the pace necessary, to meet recognized climate objectives.
The 2015 Paris Agreement established national adaptation and mitigation plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in which countries committed to decarbonize their economies over the coming decades. While procedural elements of this framework are legally binding, the crucial NDCs are voluntary.
Working within this essentially constrained rules-based order in climate policy, and given countries’ reluctance to date to translate targets into structural reforms, what can be done to uphold NDCs and raise future climate ambition?… Seguir leyendo »
The development of governance in a wide range of digital spheres – from cyberspace to internet infrastructure to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) – is failing to match rapid advances in technical capabilities or the rise in security threats. This is leaving serious regulatory gaps, which means that instruments and mechanisms essential for protecting privacy and data, tackling cybercrime or establishing common ethical standards for AI, among many other imperatives, remain largely inadequate.
A starting point for effective policy formation is to recognize the essential complexity of the digital landscape, and the consequent importance of creating a ‘common language’ for multiple stakeholders (including under-represented actors such as smaller and/or developing countries, civil society and non-for-profit organizations).… Seguir leyendo »
The European Union is the ultimate ‘rules-based order’. Since the end of the Cold War, the world has become increasingly integrated, in a process that Dani Rodrik has called ‘hyper-globalization’ to distinguish this from the more moderate form of globalization that occurred during the Cold War period.
But Europe, which was already more integrated than the rest of the world, has gone even further in removing barriers to the internal movement of capital, goods and people. The consequence of this has been the need for a more developed system of rules to govern this deep integration.
For much of this period, many Europeans – and also many outside Europe who had a liberal view of international politics – believed that the EU was a kind of blueprint for global governance.… Seguir leyendo »