To identify the challenges to multilateral cooperation, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has launched the Global Governance Monitor, a comprehensive online guide that illustrates how the international community is addressing its most daunting transnational threats.
To date, the monitor has three components: oceans governance, nuclear nonproliferation, and global finance. Future guides are planned for climate change, violent conflict, and public health.
For each issue, the monitor provides:
- a cinematic overview of the challenge, which explains why international cooperation is needed;
- an interactive timeline that traces the world’s efforts to craft collective responses to the challenge;
- an issue brief that evaluates the overall performance of existing global arrangements and suggests potential reforms to improve international cooperation;
- a matrix that catalogs relevant international treaties, organizations, and initiatives;
- an interactive map that details critical countries and groups; and
- a resource guide for further information on the topic.
Summaries of components released thus far:
Oceans governance: The earth’s oceans are being threatened by a dizzying array of dangers, from piracy to climate change. To be good stewards of the oceans, countries around the world need to embrace more effective multilateral governance in the economic, security, and environmental realms. So far, the most comprehensive attempt to govern the oceans produced the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). But U.S. refusal to join has limited the convention’s strength, leaving a vacuum in the maritime regime. Other states that have joined the treaty sometimes ignore its guidelines or fail to coordinate policies across sovereign jurisdictions. Even if it were perfectly implemented, UNCLOS is now nearly thirty years old and in need of updating.
Global finance: Globalization has produced unprecedented levels of both economic growth and economic risk. Financial markets have become more open, which allows firms and governments to invest more freely. But as global finance grows bigger, it also grows more complex. The economic crisis that began in 2008 has underlined two major weaknesses with the current architecture of international finance. First, there are simply too many institutions and mechanisms, often with overlapping mandates but limited power. Second, despite this machinery of cooperation, getting agreement on major issues often proves impossible, given the frequent disagreements among states over both the nature of the problem and the basic features of multilateral responses.
Nuclear nonproliferation: Nuclear proliferation, whether by state or nonstate actors, poses one of the greatest threats to international security today. Iran’s apparent efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, what amounts to North Korean nuclear blackmail, and the revelation of the A.Q. Khan black market nuclear network all underscore the possibility that a terrorist group or a so-called rogue state will acquire weapons of mass destruction or materials for a dirty bomb. The problem of nuclear proliferation is global, and the most effective responses need to be multilateral as well.
The monitor is produced by CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program together with the production studio MediaStorm.
The Council on Foreign Relations is 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. CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.
The International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) program at the Council on Foreign Relations aims to identify the institutional requirements for effective multilateral cooperation in the twenty-first century.
MediaStorm is a production company whose principal aim is to usher in the next generation of multimedia storytelling by publishing social documentary projects incorporating photojournalism, interactivity, animation, audio and video for distribution across multiple media.