Democratizing Global Economic Governance
By Didier Jacobs | May 24, 2002
Abstract: This policy option paper explores ways to increase the influence of the poor in global economic governance. Global economic governance is the set of norms and institutions along which rules are generated to manage the global economy. It involves four categories of actors: intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), states, non-governmental organizations (NGOs)2 and businesses. Among these, Southern states and NGOs are the most likely to reflect the interests of the poor. This note therefore focuses on proposals to increase the power of Southern states vis-à-vis Northern states within IGOs. The last section also briefly discusses ways to increase the influence of NGOs within IGOs.3 Although emphasis is placed on economic issues, examples are borrowed from governance mechanisms existing in other policy areas when relevant. This paper is structured around the four stages of the policy process: (i) agenda setting, (ii) policy options definition, (iii) decision, and (iv) implementation. Emphasis is put on the decision stage, which is discussed first, because power imbalances at that stage severely constrain the agenda and policy options, and undermine implementation. This note covers formal institutions (i.e., legal statutes) as well as institutional culture (i.e., customs or practice) and political reality (i.e., the balance of power behind the veil of statutes and institutional culture).
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