Conclusion

The current global governance discourse reveals that more theoretical debate as well as empirical research is needed. I will emphasize three needs for further discussion.

First, the debate on the very term "global governance" and its conceptualization is not yet sufficiently concluded. There are a number of conceptual approaches, which in part have been reviewed in this chapter. Yet, none of these has mustered sufficient support within the community. The second main section of this chapter has argued for an empirical understanding of global governance as a concept to denote essentially new phenomena in world politics that cannot be analyzed adequately in the framework of traditional concepts such as international relations. This does not deny that global governance is also an important political program. Yet, it remains crucial to demarcate clearly the use of the term and to state whether any given analysis employs the phenomenological or the normative notion of the term "global governance".

Both uses of the term also suggest the need for further research. The phenomenological conceptualization directly defines a research program: first, multi-actor governance requires us to understand better the behavior and the influence of the new actors of world politics. While environmentalist lobbyist groups and scientists have been studied in some detail as actors of global environmental governance, significantly less knowledge is available regarding the increasing role of intergovernmental organizations and of business actors. This is one of the exciting new research frontiers in this field.

Second, the new mechanisms of global governance, such as private-public partnerships, also point to a new research program that helps us to understand better the emergence, maintenance, effectiveness and, finally, the legitimacy of these new regulatory mechanisms. Some work on private-public and private-private cooperation in the field of global environmental governance has already been done, yet what is needed is a larger research effort that equals the substantial series of comparative studies on international environmental regimes in the 1980s and 1990s.

Third, the increasing segmentation of world politics is, again, also an empirical development in need of more research. We need to better understand in what ways governance between different levels occurs. This, in particular, requires new approaches of linking academic sub-disciplines that have been apart for a long time, i.e., international relations and comparative politics. Research programs on the international climate regime, for example, must be better integrated with comparative work on national or local energy politics. This requires a number of essentially new research programs on "interlinkages" and on the "interplay" within global environmental governance.

All this eventually needs to feed back into the actual reform debates, which have been exemplified in this chapter by the institutionalization of expert advice and the strengthening of the existing system of global environmental governance through the creation of a new world environment organization. However, these reform efforts toward a more effective and more legitimate system of environmental institutions and environmental organizations require, first and foremost, a better basic understanding of the set of phenomena that have been conceptualized in this chapter as global environmental governance.

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Negotiating Essentials

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