Shaping Globalization The Role Of Global Public Policy .

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Final (english version)05-16-02Shaping GlobalizationThe role of global public policy networksThorsten Benner/Wolfgang H. Reinicke/Jan Martin Witte 1Published in:Bertelsmann Foundation (eds.) Transparency: A Basis For Responsibility andCooperation (Gütersloh, Bertelsmann Foundation Publishers), (2002).1Thorsten Benner (McCloy Scholar, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, email:[email protected] ); Wolfgang H. Reinicke (Managing Director, galaxar s.a., email:[email protected]h); Jan Martin Witte (ERP Fellow, Johns Hopkins University Nitze School ofAdvanced International Studies, email: [email protected] ).1


Final (english version)05-16-021. Introduction„[Globalization] requires that we think afresh about how we manage our joint activities and ourshared interests, for many challenges that we confront today are beyond the reach of any state tomeet on its own. At the national level we must govern better, and at the international level wemust learn to govern better together. Effective states are essential for both tasks, and theircapacity for both needs strengthening. We must also adapt international institutions, throughwhich states govern together, to the realities of the new era. We must form coalitions for change,often with partners well beyond the precincts of officialdom. [ ] Mobilizing the skills and otherresources of diverse global actors, therefore, may increasingly involve forming loose andtemporary global policy networks that cut across national, institutional and disciplinary lines ”(Annan 2000: 64)From protecting the environment, fighting diseases such as malaria and AIDS toinstituting labor standards and combating corruption: many problems of thisinterconnected world cannot be tackled by traditional politics alone. Global publicpolicy networks have emerged as an innovative response, bringing together civilsociety, private business, international organizations and governments incoalitions for change. These issue-based alliances have a flexible structure thatcan react quickly to the challenges of globalization, evolving with the changingnature of the issue. As coalitions for change they not only bridge the growingdistance among policy-makers, citizens, entrepreneurs, and activists, they alsodemonstrate that with the help of modern communication and outreach,successful collective action is possible in an ever more complex andinterdependent world.This article analyzes the implications and importance of global public policynetworks for global, European and national reform debates. Why have new formsof cooperation emerged at the global level? What are the changing governancechallenges (chapter 2)? What are the characteristics and functions ofmultisectoral networks (chapter 3)? How have networks dealt with the challengesof cooperation in trying to combine legitimacy and efficiency (chapter 4)? Howcan Germany promote a networked governance agenda as a learning model(chapter 5)?Previously international politics used the experience of national policy-making;today the flow of experience can run both ways. The connected nature of theissues implies that innovation at the global level impacts national politics and viceversa. Moreover, international and national institutions can and should learn fromthe successes and failures of networked global governance. Current governancechallenges – as we argue in this article – have to be tackled across sectors andacross differe nt levels (local, regional, national, global). New forms ofgovernance embodied in networks serve as arenas for experimentation onpolitical reforms, applicable to all levels of government. We need to take3

Final (english version)05-16-02advantage of this experience for formulating sustainable, globally oriented reformpolicies in Germany. But networked governance itself is a challenge, demandingthe breaking of old modus operandi. Working together, actors from all sectors,need to adapt and to set aside old prejudice in order to effect change and toprovide the legitimacy networked governance is predicated upon. Foundationscan make a significant contribution by promoting social and politicalentrepreneurship and by supporting “learning networks”.2. Governance Challenges in the 21st centuryThe end of the Cold War as well as the intensifying wave of globalization sincethe early 90’s have fundamentally transformed the conditions for the organizationof effective and legitimate governance in the international system. [Globalizationtriggers change] Change seems to constitute the only constant in an otherwisecontinuously changing environment. Economic and political liberalization as wellas technological change are increasingly challenging states and internationalorganizations to find effective solutions to cross-border and cross-sectoralproblems.At the same time, states are no longer the only players in the international realm.Over the past two decades, NGOs as well as companies, themselves respondingto the pressures of globalization, have effectively reorganized their operations ona transnational scale and play a progressively more important role in internationalrelations. [New players in the international system] More than 40.000 nongovernmental organizations are now operating across borders, and, according toUNCTAD figures, roughly 60.000 companies have established transnational ties.NGOs and companies have thus responded to the challenge of globalization byrefocusing their operations and establishing cross-national linkages, oftentimeswith astonishing results for the effectiveness of their operations. As a result,states, international organizations, companies and NGOs now find themselves inthe same playing field – and are gradually recognizing their interdependence inshaping the environment in which they operate.This new interdependence is distinguished by four key characteristics. First, thegeographical dimension of governance has shifted as a result of economic andsocial integration. Decision-makers in states are confronted with an increasingrange of issues that can only be solved by coordinated cross-border action.Climate change is only one of the more prominent among many pressing issues.[The new geography of governance] The disconnect between the politicalgeography of the state on the one side and the new geography of economic andsocial relations on the other has a tremendous impact on almost all policy areasformerly considered to be exclusively in the domain of the nation-state.4

Final (english version)05-16-02Second, the time dimension has become an even more critical issue in theorganization of governance. Globalization is often characterized as a process of“acceleration,” driven by rapid technological change. [The challenge of speed]The near complete integration and 24-hour operation of global financial marketsand the media, for example, severely constrains the time frame available topublic policymakers for weighing options and preparing informed decisions.Hierarchical bureaucratic structures frequently lack the knowledge and thenecessary flexibility to respond to new policy challenges in a constantly changingenvironment.Third, the complexity of public policy issues is steadily growing. [The challenge ofcomplexity] Decision-makers in states and international organizations findthemselves having to tackle more and more issues that cut across areas ofbureaucratic or disciplinary expertise. Decisions made about international trade,for example, can have profound economic, ecological, and security effects, all ofwhich must be considered in the policy debate. Furthermore, entirely new andcomplex problems have emerged that have not yet been fully understood. A casein point is the issue of how to pursue the potential benefits of genetic engineeringfor food security while minimizing the risks. Another issue that requires not onlypolitical will and tremendous financial commitment but also institutionalinnovation is how to move developing countries out of the poverty trap and onto asustainable growth path with greater current and future standards of living.Fourth, decision-makers in national and international politics find themselvesconfronted with pressing questions of legitimacy and accountability. As publicpolicy-making is increasingly shifting to international organizations and othermultilateral forums in response to the challenges described above, decisionmaking processes have become less transparent to citizens. [The challenge oflegitimacy] The increasingly contentious debate on transparency and access topublic policymaking processes in the European Union and the World TradeOrganization (WTO) certainly bear witness to these mounting pressures.Transnational NGOs have developed into an important transmission belt forcitizens who seek information about and access to international policymakingprocesses. The constructive engagement of civil society and the private sector inglobal public policy-making processes is therefore one of the key challenges inorganizing global governance.The former State Secretary of the German Federal Foreign Office and currentGerman ambassador to the United States, Wolfgang Ischinger, has recentlyemphasized the necessity to develop new tools for global governance:“States no longer hold an effective monopoly in responding to global problemsand crises. As a result, it is necessary to develop ’global governance’, [ ] Notonly governments will have to play an important role in this context. Internationalorganizations, and most of all the United Nations system, will have to play a moreproactive role. However, the other ’global players’, transnational NGOs as well astransnational companies, have to be included as well.” (Ischinger 2001)5

Final (english version)05-16-02The term ‘global governance’ might be misleading, however. [A new conceptionof ‘global governance’] Although it is suggestive of exclusive global solutionsimplemented by a quasi world government the term ’global’ is much broader inthis context, suggesting rather a global perspective. Based on the challengessketched out above, global governance primarily requires multi-level approachesto governance. Collaboration may be required at a global level, but the efficacyand success of such initiatives requires national, regional and local involvement.New challenges such as the global spread of Malaria or HIV/AIDS, thedestruction of the ozone layer, water scarcity, or transnational corruption, crimeand terrorism can only be tackled effectively if action strategies are designed andimplemented on all levels of political and social organization – local, regional,national and global. [Multi-level governance] This not only presumes theexistence of effective institutions on all those levels, but also the jointdevelopment and implementation of complementary and coordinated publicpolicy programs.But the challenge is eve n broader than that. Successful global public policies notonly have to transcend geographical levels but also need to cut across sectoralboundaries. Hierarchical approaches are increasingly losing relevance in a worldcharacterized by geographically diffuse as well as quickly changing policychallenges. [Multisectoral governance] Multisectoral policy networks will play aprogressively prominent role in shaping globalization.Governments and international organizations already cooperate with companiesas well as civil society organizations in a broad variety of global policy contexts.For example, the World Bank and the United Nations are collaborating with alarge number of non-state actors from civil society and the private sector invarious new cooperative programs, such as the ‘Roll Back Malaria Initiative’,(RBM), the ‘World Commission on Dams’, (WCD) or the ‘Global ReportingInitiative’. (GRI) The World Bank estimates that its various departments areinvolved in more than 70 such networks and programs – in various forms andformats. Three years ago, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, KofiAnnan, created the ’Global Compact’, an initiative designed to support the globalcorporate social responsibility movement and to help tie it back to the goals andmission of the United Nations. In addition, many specialized agencies in the UNsystem – such a