A New Initiative of the Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has launched a comprehensive five-year program on international institutions and global governance. The purpose of this cross-cutting initiative is to explore the institutional requirements for world order in the twenty-first century. The undertaking recognizes that the architecture of global governance—largely reflecting the world as it existed in 1945—has not kept pace with fundamental changes in the international system, including but not limited to globalization. Existing multilateral arrangements thus provide an inadequate foundation for addressing today’s most pressing threats and opportunities and for advancing U.S. national and broader global interests. The program seeks to identify critical weaknesses in current frameworks for multilateral cooperation; propose specific reforms tailored to new global circumstances; and promote constructive U.S. leadership in building the capacities of existing organizations and in sponsoring new, more effective regional and global institutions and partnerships. This program is made possible by a generous grant from the Robina Foundation.
The program draws on the resources of CFR’s David Rockefeller Studies Program to assess existing regional and global governance mechanisms and offer concrete recommendations for U.S. policymakers on specific reforms needed to improve their performance, both to advance U.S. national interests and to ensure the provision of critical global public goods. The program will take an issue area approach, focusing on arrangements governing state conduct and international cooperation in meeting four broad sets of challenges:
(1) Countering Transnational Threats, including terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and infectious disease;
(2) Protecting the Environment and Promoting Energy Security;
(3) Managing the Global Economy; and
(4) Preventing and Responding to Violent Conflict. In each of these spheres, the program will consider whether the most promising framework for governance is a formal organization with universal membership (e.g., the United Nations); a regional or sub-regional organization; a narrower, informal coalition of like-minded countries; or some combination of all three. Building on these issue-area investigations, the program will also consider the potential to adapt major bedrock institutions (e.g., the UN, G8, NATO, IMF) to meet today’s challenges, as well as the feasibility of creating new frameworks. It will also address the participation of non-state actors.
The program falls squarely within CFR’s historic mission as an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. In fulfilling its mandate, the program draws on the CFR’s unique attributes as a premier think tank on matters of foreign policy; as a prominent forum for convening American and international statesmen and opinion leaders; and as a platform for forging bipartisan consensus on the priorities, terms, and conditions of the nation’s global engagement. Throughout its activities, CFR will engage stakeholders and constituencies in the United States and abroad, including governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society representatives, and the private sector, whose input and endorsement are critical to ensure the appropriateness and feasibility of any institutional reforms. The program is led by Senior Fellow Stewart Patrick. This concept note summarizes the rationale for the program, describes potential areas of research and policy engagement, and outlines the envisioned products and activities. We believe that the research and policy agenda outlined here constitutes a potentially significant contribution to U.S. and international deliberations on the requirements for world order in the twenty-first century.
Read complete report: http://www.cfr.org/content/thinktank/CFR_Global%20_Governance_%20Program.pdf