Global Governance Values in a Hyper-Connected World

Globalization, while the most progressive force in history, can also be the cause of the most severe crisis of the 21stcentury. Consequentially, citizens will see increased integration as risky and could become xenophobic, protectionist and nationalist. The challenge is quite evident – the future is unlike the past.

Our capacity to manage current global issues has not kept pace with the growth in their complexity and danger. Global institutions like the UN, IMF, WHO and the WB which may have had great success in the 20th century may not be fit for this purpose.

At the national level, the biggest challenge for politicians and policy makers is the need to balance the enormous benefits that global openness and connectivity brings, with national politics and priorities.

There are primarily four challenges:

  • The repurposing of the values of global governance to meet new challenges is vital. Nations are divided and cannot agree on a common approach and within nations there is no consensus or leadership on critical global issues. The number of countries now involved in negotiations and the complexity of the issues, and their interconnectedness, have grown rapidly, as have the effects of instant media and other pressures on politicians.
  • Cyber-attacks could trigger massive break downs in a hyper connected world. WannaCry Ransomware was a cyber-attack outbreak that targeting machines running the Microsoft Windows operating systems. We all know that it affected companies and individuals in more than 150 countries, including government agencies and multiple large organizations globally.
  • Digital wildfires in a Hyper-connected world. The internet remains an unchartered, fast evolving territory. Social media allows information to be transmitted around the world at breakneck speed. With the benefits are obvious and well documented, our hyper connected world could also witnessed the rapid viral spread of fake news and fake narratives that are either intentionally or unintentionally misleading or provocative, with serious consequences.
  • The tragedy of Global Commons   It’s the overexploitation of common resources – like herders in the past, no single person has the motivation and responsibility to limit the number or extend of the grazing of livestock and so the resource will eventually collapse.

Global governance in a hyper-connected world has become distributed and collaborative. We are all part of a much broader problem solving network, with many high performing organizations and individuals – public and private, working on different parts of the problem or even the same part of the same problem.  Global governance is not about leaders charting their own course, they should be helping networks solve problems with the best and most current thinking available. Collaboration is the new competition and the more values-based the contributions are, the greater your influence will be.

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