About the Program

The International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) Program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is supported by a generous grant from the Robina Foundation. It aims to identify the institutional requirements for effective multilateral cooperation in the twenty-first century. The program is motivated by recognition 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. These shifts include the spread of transnational challenges, the rise of new powers, and the mounting influence of nonstate actors. Existing multilateral arrangements thus provide an inadequate foundation for addressing many of today's most pressing threats and opportunities and for advancing U.S. national and broader global interests.

Given these trends, U.S. policymakers and other interested actors require rigorous, independent analysis of current structures of multilateral cooperation, and of the promises and pitfalls of alternative institutional arrangements. The IIGG program meets these needs by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of existing multilateral institutions and proposing reforms tailored to new international circumstances.

The IIGG program fulfills its mandate by:

  • Engaging CFR fellows in research on improving existing and building new frameworks to address specific global challenges-including climate change, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, transnational terrorism, and global health-and disseminating the research through books, articles, Council Special Reports, and other outlets;
  • Bringing together influential foreign policymakers, scholars, and CFR members to debate the merits of international regimes and frameworks at meetings in New York, Washington, DC, and other select cities;
  • Hosting roundtable series whose objectives are to inform the foreign policy community of today's international governance challenges and breed inventive solutions to strengthen the world's multilateral bodies; and
  • Providing a state-of-the-art Web presence as a resource to the wider foreign policy community on issues related to the future of global governance.

The attached concept note summarizes the rationale for the program on global governance, 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 significant contribution to U.S. and international deliberations on the requirements for world order in the twenty-first century.

Concept Document (PDF)