GASPP Policy Briefs 1

GASPP Policy Brief
No 1 January 2003


Global Social Governance Reform 

Bob Deacon
Professor of International Social Policy
Director of GASPP
University of Sheffield, UK


This policy brief addresses the prospects for improved social governance at the global level. It concludes by focusing not on the reform of institutions or policies but on new international policy action and implementation processes that seem to be enabling international stakeholders to by-pass ossified institutional structures and the current impasse in policy debates. This is followed by suggestions and recommendations as to how Finland and other like-minded developed Northern countries might best advance globalsocial governance reform in the direction of a rule based and equitable world order in the light of this analysis.

The message of the policy brief is that while there are on theinternational policy agenda a number of desirable institutional reforms that should be implemented at the global level and while the struggle to shift global policy from its neo-liberal character to something more socially responsible continues the actual focus of much international effort to improve the world’s management of global social issues is centred upon networks, partnerships and projects The question for Finland and likemindedcountries is how it positions itself in relation to these activities. The brief concludes with four principles that might enable Finland and likeminded countries to have the influence they would wish both at the traditional levels of institutional reform and policy change and enable them to engage effectively with emerging networks, partnerships and projects. The brief argues that global political alliances need to be fashioned to enable practice in these networks to be guided by principles rather than pragmatism. These principles entail:

1 Forging alliances with global Southern country partners and groups within which southern voices are heard.

2 Supporting approaches to world regionalism within which the social dimension of trading arrangements is given due attention.

3 Working always to achieve a more equitable access to services and provision.

4 Establishing within-country policy synergy towards global questions across all Ministries.

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