Global Redesign Initiative

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Harris Gleckman:

"The World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Initiative is perhaps the best reflection of how corporations and other elites envision the future of governance. It calls for marginalising intergovernmental decision-making with a system of multi-stakeholder governance, but what does this mean for democracy, accountability and the rule of law?

Prompted by the uncertainties about the stability of globalisation, in 2009 the World Economic Forum (WEF) convened an international expert group to formulate a new system of global governance. This project was led by the three most senior leaders of the World Economic Forum (WEF) – Klaus Schwab, its Executive Chairman; Mark Malloch-Brown, then its Vice-Chairman; and Richard Samans, its Managing Director. One of the concepts proposed by WEF for its aptly named Global Redesign Initiative (GRI) is a system of multi-stakeholder governance as a partial replacement for intergovernmental decision-making.

Over the 18 months of the GRI programme, WEF created 40 Global Agenda Councils and industry-sector bodies to craft a range of themespecific governance proposals. Each Council consisted of a mix of the corporate, academic, government, entertainment, religious, civil society, and academic worlds.

Their 600-page report centres on these thematic proposals, plus a series of policy essays and organising principles that lay out the WEF framework for a multi-stakeholder governance system.

What is ingenious and disturbing is that the WEF multi-stakeholder governance proposal does not require approval or disapproval by any intergovernmental body. Absent any intergovernmental action the informal transition to MSG as a partial replacement of multilateralism can just happen.

This report also built on WEF’s three decades of convening an annual series of elite global and regional multi-stakeholder conferences. In the past 20 years in the intergovernmental arena, multi-stakeholder consultations have gained wide support as an umbrella framework for bringing together diverse constituencies to develop common approaches to contemporary global challenges and to present challenging development projects." (