1st Edition

Multistakeholder Governance and Democracy A Global Challenge

By Harris Gleckman Copyright 2018
    170 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    170 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Multistakeholder governance is proposed as the way forward in global governance. For some leaders in civil society and government who are frustrated with the lack of power of the UN system and multilateralism it is seen as an attractive alternative; others, particularly in the corporate world, see multistakeholder governance as offering a more direct hand and potentially a legitimate role in national and global governance.

    This book examines how the development of multistakeholderism poses a challenge to multilateralism and democracy. Using a theoretical, historical perspective it describes how the debate on global governance evolved and what working principles of multilateralism are under threat. From a sociological perspective, the book identifies the organizational beliefs of multistakeholder groups and the likely change in the roles that leaders in government, civil society, and the private sector will face as they evolve into potential global governors. From a practical perspective, the book addresses the governance issues which organizations and individuals should assess before deciding to participate in or support a particular multistakeholder group. 

    Given the current emphasis on the participation of multiple actors in the Sustainable Development Goals, this book will have wide appeal across policy-making and professional sectors involved in negotiations and governance at all levels. It will also be essential reading for students studying applied governance.

    1. Multilateralism and multistakeholderism: global governance gaps


    Structural limitations of contemporary multilateralism

    Global governance and next generation of democratic standards

    Democracy and global governance gaps

    Multistakeholderism and representative democracy

    Multistakeholderism and the rule of law

    Multilateralism and multi-constituency consultations

    From multi-constituency consultations to multistakeholder governance

    Diversity of internal structures of multistakeholder governance groups

    Types of multistakeholder governance groups

    2. How did we get here? A convergence of multiple trends

    Macro political-economic factors

    Structural transformations

    Recognition of multistakeholderism as governance form

    Macro-forces creating a new political platform for global governance

    3. Global actors from multilateralism to multistakeholderism

    Governance actors from yesterday to tomorrow

    The institutional foundation for global governance

    New actors in multistakeholder governance

    4. Structural and institutional characteristics of multistakeholderism

    Nine beliefs and their governance consequences

    Structural and institutional characteristics of multistakeholder governance

    Chapter summary

    5. A detailed guide to decision-making about a multistakeholder group

    Four questions on the composition of a multistakeholder group

    Four questions on internal governance

    Three questions on external responsibilities

    Two questions on financial responsibility

    Chapter summary

    6. Where can we go from here?

    The current state of play

    Multistakeholderism: additional structural limitations

    Next steps on the governance of multistakeholderism

    Next steps on global democratic governance

    Concluding observations


    Harris Gleckman is Senior Fellow of the Center on Governance and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Boston, and Director of Benchmark Environmental Consulting, USA. Dr Gleckman has also been a participant for over twenty years in international economic and environmental negotiations and a consultant to intergovernmental organizations, transnational corporations, and civil society organizations. He is the former Chief of the New York office of UNCTAD, Project Planning Officer for the first UN Financing for Development Conference, and Chief of the Environmental Unit of the UN Centre on Transnational Corporations.

    "The understanding of how the management of global and regional transborder issues and problems are addressed has evolved considerably over the past decade. No longer an exclusive preserve of diplomats and international lawyers focussing on formal institutional arrangements and legal instruments, the scope has widened to encompass a rapidly growing set of issue areas and multitude of new actors from civil society and the corporate world. Harris Gleckman’s book is a significant contribution in mapping the evolution from hierarchical legal exegesis and intergovernmental power play towards more supple horizontal relations between a diverse and expanding set of stakeholders. The author does this with the rare combination of the clarity of the sharp analyst and the insights of a seasoned participant in these processes. His book is essential reading for anyone involved in the changing patterns of global governance." - Peter Hansen, former Executive Director of the Commission on Global Governance and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs

    "Dr. Gleckman has written the definitive critique of the current "non-system" of international global governance, and of the emergent multistakeholder groups seeking to fill the gaps in the former. Gleckman then ventures beyond analysis to propose criteria essential for any just, inclusive, accountable and effective institutions that would address global crises. This volume is addressed to all intelligent and ethical people concerned about global problems and committed to the quality of their resolution." - Jo Marie Griesgraber, Executive Director, New Rules for Global Finance, USA

    "An invaluable and comprehensive analysis of contemporary challenges to multilateralism as the organizing principle for global governance. With piercing precision Gleckman identifies gaps and limitations in governance and questions the illusion of democracy and participation. The book offers a welcome and thoughtful guide for improving decisionmaking and assuming responsibility in a context of distributed power." - Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor of Global Governance, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA

    "Multistakeholder Governance and Democracy is a bracing journey through the rise and rise of multistakeholderism. Arguing from his unique inside experience that this new form of global governance has come not just to supplement, but to challenge, multilateralism, Harris Gleckman sounds the alarm on whether we need to radically respond to the proliferation of instruments that are neither founded on principles of inclusive democracy nor accountability. A powerful and gripping exploration of this significant yet little-known evolution in global power, which leaves readers with a powerful challenge: can we imagine a new or reform global governance system that addresses the inequities and power imbalances of globalization, while upholding principles of democracy, inclusion and accountability?" - Amelia Evans, International Human Rights Lawyer and co-founder of The Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity, USA

    "In this fascinating book, Harris Gleckman illuminates how multistakeholderism has rapidly become the go-to form of governance for global challenges, with corresponding implications on democracy, transparency, responsibility, and accountability. A must read for students and practitioners, and for citizens, whose rights and interests are increasingly subject to multistakeholder governance." - Lisa Sachs, Director, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, Columbia Law School - The Earth Institute, Columbia University, USA