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Meeting Global Challenges: International Cooperation in the National Interest

Report of the International Task Force on Global Public Goods

Fall 2006

International Task Force on Global Public Goods. 2006. "Meeting Global Challenges: International Cooperation in the National Interest." Final Report. Stockholm, Sweden.


Most peoples' lives are grounded in local and national contexts and conditions. Yet, more and more, those lives are shaped by events, decisions and politics beyond national borders. People pay taxes for local and national healthcare, but some of the gravest threats to health arise from infectious diseases that respect no borders. Among other reasons, people vote for governments on the basis of their economic and fiscal policy, but those policies are heavily constrained by international financial, trade and investment circumstances. And both people and governments recognize that their "national" security is determined in large part by the actions and attitudes of groups and governments far afield.

Indeed, the world's promise can be realized and its perils restrained only through extensive and ambitious cooperation across borders. Ours is a world of shared risks and common opportunities, grounded in the realities of mutual dependence and growing interconnection. All peoples' health, security and prosperity depend in part on the quality of their international cooperation, as does the health of the environment.

Because this is so, international cooperation has evolved from being a sphere of interstate negotiations on foreign policy matters to a central part of how governments and people manage their day-to-day lives. And it has been a powerful and tangible force for progress. Past successes provide solid evidence for what can be achieved in the future. With shared vision and collective action, major accomplishments can be realized. The spread of infectious diseases can be halted, their effects cured. Climate change can be slowed, its effects mitigated. International terrorism can be deterred, and the use of weapons of mass destruction prevented. These goals are difficult, but achievable. So too is the goal of expanding the prosperity that arises from a combination of peace and security, financial stability and international trade.

These global issues pose special challenges. In broad terms the goals are widely shared, and all states have national interests in achieving them; but in most instances no state and no private actor, however rich and powerful, can achieve them alone. Only by acting together, by cooperating across borders, can problems like these be effectively and efficiently addressed. International cooperation is in the national interest of all states.

External Link: Meeting Global Challenges: International Cooperation in the National Interest

Read More: Development, Environment, Ethics, Governance, Health, Human Rights, Security, Trade, Global

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