The Commission on Global Governance was established in the belief that international developments had created a unique opportunity for strengthening global cooperation to meet the challenge of securing peace, achieving sustainable development, and universalizing democracy. A preliminary study led to the "Stockholm Initiative on Global Security and Governance" and the appointment of a distinguished 28-member commission serving in a private capacity independent of government or any organization. "The Commission's basic aim is to contribute to the improvement of global governance. It will analyze the main forces of global change, examine the major issues facing the world community, assess the adequacy of global institutional arrangements and suggest how they should be reformed or strengthened." The members believed that it should be possible to move the world to a higher level of cooperation than has ever been attempted, taking advantage of the growing recognition of global interdependence. Commission members divided themselves into four working groups on global values, global security, global development, and global governance, being guided by a single desire "to develop a common vision of the way forward for the world in making the transition from the cold war and in managing humanity's journey into the 21st century. We believe this report offers such a vision. The strongest message we can convey is that humanity can agree on a better way to manage its affairs and give hope to present and future generations."
Today change is very rapid and highly visible. There is a need for balance, caution and vision. Our future will depend on the extent to which people and leaders around the world develop a vision of a better world and the strategies, the institutions and the will to achieve it. Leadership is urgently needed; leadership of a different character with a commitment to public service; leadership informed by an understanding of the most important transformation of recent decades, leadership grounded in a new value system based on a commitment to care for others embodied in the metaphor of being a good neighbor. The Commission was convinced that whatever ideas it advanced in institutional and other change, must be grounded in values that speak to the tasks facing the contemporary world, including acceptance of a global ethic, and courageous leadership at all levels of society infused with that ethic. Without a global ethic, the frictions and tensions of living in the global neighborhood will multiply; without leadership, even the best designed institution and strategies will fail. Barbara Ward summed it up in these words: "The most important change that people can make is to change their way of looking at the world. We can change studies, jobs, neighborhoods, even countries and continents and still remain much as we always were. But change our fundamental angle of vision and everything changes - our priorities, our values, our judgements, our pursuits. Again and again, in the history of religion, this total upheaval in the imagination has marked the beginning of a new life ... a turning of the heart, a 'metanoia,' by which men see with new eyes and understand with new minds and turn their energies to new ways of living." Institutions respond better to these issues than governments, for whom the short-term political expediency takes precedence.
Establishing an ethical dimension to global governance requires commitment to a set of core values that can unite people of all cultural, political, religious and philosophical backgrounds; core values such as respect for life, liberty, justice, equity, mutual respect, caring, and integrity. The Commission urges the international community to unite in support of a global ethic of common rights and shared responsibilities, which encompasses the rights of all people to:
- a secure life
- equitable treatment
- an opportunity to earn a fair living and provide for their own welfare
- preservation of differences through peaceful means
- participation in governance at all levels
- free and fair petition for redress of gross injustices
- equal access to information
- equal access to the global commons
At the same time, all people share a responsibility to:
- contribute to the common good
- consider the impact of their actions on the security and welfare of others
- promote equity, including gender equity
- protect the interests of future generations by pursuing sustainable development and safeguarding the global commons
- preserve humanity's cultural and intellectual heritage
- be active participants in governance; and
- work to eliminate corruption
Mobilizing the collective power of people to shape the future to make life in the 21st century more democratic, more secure and more sustainable is the foremost challenge of our generation. The world needs a new vision that can galvanize people everywhere and leadership is the most critical factor. "In the final chapter of this report, we draw attention to what has been a pre-eminent strand in thinking of the Commission: the world's need for enlightened leadership that can inspire people to acknowledge their responsibilities to each other, and to future generations. It has to be leadership that upholds the values we need to live together as neighbors, and to preserve the neighborhood for those who follow us."
The chapters of this book are:
- A New World: The Concept of Global Governance
- Values for the Global neighborhood
- Promoting Security
- Managing Economic Interdependence: Challenges of Global Economic Governance
- Reforming the United Nations
- Strengthening the Rule of Law Worldwide
- A Call to Action: Summary of Commission Proposals; The Next Steps; The Need for Leadership
The starting point for building a better world is to have a vision of that better world and this is what this book provides. But we need ethical leaders at all levels and in all kinds of institutions with the will to implement that vision. If you are a leader or wish to become a leader, you will find this book invaluable.