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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds One of the first challenge of global governance is to have a good understanding of what we mean by global governance. I have the pleasure today to have with me Arancha Gonzalez, the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, a joint institution of the UN and World Trade Organization that makes trade happen everywhere in the world. So according to you, what is global governance? Well, global governance is essentially what helps us organise our common affairs together in an orderly manner. Basically, it’s about the values that we share, the institutions that we have to organise ourselves, and the rules and principles and procedures that we have agreed to follow in order, again, to manage issues that have a supranational dimension.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second Just like in a state, you have basically values normally represented in a constitution or represented in a set of principles that the country adheres to. Just like in a country, you have institutions that are in charge of managing these common affairs, and you have rules and procedures to do that in an orderly manner, in a predictable manner. We need exactly the same thing at the supranational level, at the global level. And this is what we call a system of, let’s say, governance, global governance. But again, I don’t make a distinction of what level it is. What matters is, what binds us together? What’s our common project?

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds What are the rules and procedures that we give ourselves to manage this issue together in a predictable manner? And who is in charge of doing what to, let say, apply and implement those rules? So it’s not just rules. It’s not just institutions. It’s not just values. It’s the three things together. Which future do you see for global governance at the time where some may question the relevance of having too many institutions at the global level? Well, I think the problem we have today is the temptation to think that governance will be done by deals, and not by rules.

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 seconds I worry that we would have a temptation in the future to move into a deals-based governance as opposed to a rules-based governance. And what do I mean by that? It’s a system of governance in which when we have an issue, we’ll just deal with this issue in a particular way. And when we have a similar issue or the same issue in a different part of the world, we deal with this issue in a different way. Because this, to me, would represent a big move backwards.

Skip to 2 minutes and 48 seconds This will represent going back to the law of the jungle, to the stronger being able to twist the arm of the weaker, to take in opportunistic decisions, to not being coherent, to not sending a predictability signal to our citizens. So I do not want a deals-based system of governance. I want a rules-based system of governance because I think it’s the one that caters best to this much more multi-polar world we have today than we had at the end of the Second World War– which is when we did the last big investment in governance at the world level.

Skip to 3 minutes and 23 seconds Thank you a lot of dimension in this definition and a very clear opinion about what we should try to do and design for the future of global governance.

Listen to Arancha Gonzàlez (ITC) on global governance

Biography of guest speaker:

Arancha González, an expert in international trade issues with 20 years of experience, serves as executive director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint development agency of the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), since September 2013.

Mrs González, a Spanish national, has extensive knowledge about international trade and economics, coupled with broad experience in trade and development matters in the public and private sectors, as well as in management in multilateral organizations.

Before joining ITC, Mrs González served as chief of staff to World Trade Organization director-general Pascal Lamy from 2005 to 2013. During her tenure at the WTO, she played an active role in launching the aid for trade initiative and served as Mr Lamy’s representative (Sherpa) at the G-20. Prior to working at the WTO, Mrs González held several positions at the European Commission, conducting negotiations of trade agreements and assisting developing countries in trade-development efforts. Between 2002 and 2004, she was the European Commission spokeswoman for trade and adviser to the European Union trade commissioner.

Mrs González began her career in the private as associate in a German law firm advising companies on trade, competition and state-aid matters. Mrs González holds a degree in law from the University of Navarra and a postgraduate degree in european law from the University of Carlos III, Madrid. She co-chairs the World Economic Forum (WEF) agenda council on the future of trade and investment.

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International Affairs: Global Governance

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies