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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsYou have surely seen pictures or videos of state representatives, be they head of state or ambassadors gathering in various places in the world to address pressing ongoing problems. Understanding what they are doing only scratches the surface of global governance however. Beyond your visual reach, thousands of experts spread out in the world are working on a daily basis to develop rules and procedures to make the world safer or better interconnected. Their work, have an impact on your daily life, such as on the food you consume, the safety of your car, the frequency of the waves of your mobile phone, or your electric heating system at home or in your office. Who are those experts?

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 secondsThey may be staff members of formal international organisation, such as the United Nation or the International Telecommunication Union, but also experts working at the national level in the private and public sectors and participating in technical networks under the auspices of international bodies, such as the International Organization for Standardization. Networks or collaboration can also be smaller-- between experts from two organisation-- a multinational firms and a non-governmental organisation, for instance. Yet it would be misleading to associate the invisible part of governance only to the work of technical committees. Indeed, a large part of official intergovernmental meetings escapes public attention, whether such meetings are of political or technical nature.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 secondsIn sum, despite all the hype about selected initiatives or events, most of global governance remains largely invisible and requires a fine pair of lenses to uncover the underlying dynamics, interest, and challenges at stake.

The invisible: standard-making

After viewing this video, please search for a symbol of an internationally recognised standard in your daily environment (on your telephone, computer, postmail, refrigerator etc.)

Please describe to us the symbol you found.

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This video is from the free online course:

International Affairs: Global Governance

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies