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December 8, 2015

Responding To: Reflections on the Future of Global Governance

A Call to Integrate Global Project

Justin Rattey

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is right to point out that global governance needs to involve relevant institutions that meet the needs of the modern world.  The world continues to change, perhaps at a faster rate than at any other time in history.  Governance solutions need to be able to grow and change alongside technology and culture. And, global leaders need to be able to overcome the perennial institutional challenge of bureaucratic stickiness in order to meet the needs of an increasingly globalized international community. 

The Secretary-General points to the importance of integrating the four “silos” of: prevention and resilience, stronger partnerships, financing, and greater participation of women and girls.  The integration of once-separate global projects is increasingly possible through technology and new means of communication.

At least partially, it is possible through the integration of social media into the global governance conversation—not merely as a tool for disseminating information and connecting people from around the world, but also as a tool for engaging the public around public goals.  Despite the potential for misinformation, a socially connected public is a more informed public.  The best social media-based strategies will push beyond the sometimes insular communities that exist within platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.  They will both disseminate good information and dispel misinformation, strengthening the foundations of a well-informed democracy.

In addition to leveraging social media for positive change, leaders need to better integrate science and technology into long-term strategies.  Technology and science-based plans promise greater precision in reaching objectives.  This is not a call for the incorporation of every new technology into policy.  But, an overly-cautious approach to scientific discovery by the political community lends to a progress-impeded status quo. The newest problems need the best solutions, and the scientific community offers many such solutions.

Finally, policies and strategies need to be designed with change in mind.  A strong long-term project ought to be planned to allow for future upgrades and adaptations.  This should be done in such a way as to allow for the integration of new science, new technology, and new modes of communication.

For global governance to catch up with contemporaneity, as is the call of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, it must necessarily incorporate social media, science and technology, and room for future change.  As the semester-long discussion around this topic comes to a close, this need is as great as ever.

Justin Rattey is a Ph.D. candidate in Georgetown's Department of Government.

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