UNDP: China and other developing countries should be given a bigger say in the global decision-making process

Aug 29, 2013

A report published today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China and the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) calls for significant reform to global governance institutions to afford better representation to emerging nations. Entitled “Reconfiguring Global Governance – Effectiveness, Inclusiveness, and China’s Global Role”,  the Report captures the essence of the first High-Level Policy Forum on Global Governance which saw UNDP convene over 100 academics and policy practitioners from five different continents in Beijing to discuss the present state of international governance in December 2012.

The report identifies three main challenges to global governance: the altered geography of global power caused by the economic rise of emerging nations such as China; the proliferation of globally-shared issues such as climate change and financial instability; and a need to ensure the legitimacy and accountability of global public goods. It provides in-depth analysis of these issues and the context in which we find them, and takes a detailed look at China’s growing role in international affairs.

Speaking at the launch of the report in Beijing, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark welcomed the report’s findings, noting that “As global citizens, we face an unprecedented number of shared environmental, social, and economic challenges, from global warming to the spread of pandemics, to cyber-war and transnational crime, trade barriers, and the flow of refugees and others seeking a better, safer life. We depend on effective global governance to address such challenges.”

The report suggests that China can serve as bridge between developed and developing countries, and help developing countries to be better-heard in the dialogue on global issues. It argues that China has emerged as one of the leading voices of reform to spur collective action on various global issues, and as a champion of the United Nations and its attendant efforts to advance global peace and prosperity.     

A number of recommendations are made by the report based on its analysis, offering suggestions for policy reform to help global governance institutions balance inclusiveness and effectiveness to secure the provision of much-needed global public goods. These recommendations include calls for:

  • Instituting multilateral reforms that instil greater transparency and accountability within international organisations and by tying leadership agendas and institutional mandates of these organisations to a clearly designated set of objectives.
  • Expanding global mindsets by conducting more multilateral dialogues and forums that enhance the awareness of, and coordination between, the positions of major powers on key global issues like humanitarian intervention, climate change and financial stability.
  • Enhancing policy coordination by bolstering linkages between regional, mini-lateral, and multi-stakeholder governance arrangements and their multilateral counterparts to ensure existing policy goals and objectives are broadly aligned, reducing the potential for policy incoherence.
  • Heeding global voices from the south by creating special mechanisms that include the most disadvantaged and vulnerable nations in processes of global governance.

In particular, the report emphasises that in an increasingly global society, more acceptance needs to be given to global governance institutions as being the bodies capable of coordinating multilateral responses to issues that cut across national boundaries, but affect all nations equally. For example, a more robust Economic and Social Council would strengthen the UN’s ability to coordinate global economic governance at a time when financial stability is of great concern.

As well as providing a faithful account of the groundbreaking discussions at the Forum, the report also includes expanded insights from a selection of the experts who attended the forum, written specially for this report. These provide a detailed explanation of some of the Forum’s key outputs and offer the reader a more comprehensive understanding of the report’s findings.

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