The Philosophy of Global Governance: Examining the Ethics and Significance of Global Governance in Contemporary Society


Global governance is a concept that stands for an approach aimed at regulating and managing global issues that affect humanity. Globalization and interdependency have made it necessary to have global aids and initiatives that go beyond national borders and resources. The philosophy of global governance brings together various actors working towards global peace, harmony, social justice, and the promotion of human dignity across the world. It is a complex system that involves diverse organizations, rules, and regulations aimed at achieving sustainable development.

Global governance has been receiving increasing attention in the current society. This article examines the ethics and significance of global governance, highlighting its importance in contemporary society. The article will provide insights into what global governance is, its history, and its role in promoting sustainable development. Additionally, we will examine the criticisms and limitations of global governance and its importance in ensuring global justice.

What is Global Governance?

Global governance refers to the collective efforts aimed at ensuring global justice, human rights, environmental sustainability, and social welfare. It is a concept that recognizes the interdependent role of global actors and the need for a regulatory framework that can address global issues. Global governance consists of different actors such as international organizations, non-governmental organizations, states, and civil societies.

The concept of global governance emerged at the end of the Cold War, characterized by the emergence of global issues such as environmental degradation, terrorism, transnational crime, poverty, and inequality. The proliferation of globalization and interconnectedness among states has made global governance an essential tool in managing, regulating, and resolving global issues.

Brief History of Global Governance

The concept of global governance emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War. The establishment of the United Nations (UN) and the formation of the Bretton Woods Institutions marked the beginning of global governance. The UN has played a vital role in promoting peace, security, and human rights across the world. The Bretton Woods Institutions, i.e., the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), were established to facilitate economic growth and international trade.

The 1980s and 1990s marked a period of global changes with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of new states. This era saw a shift in global governance towards neoliberalism and free-market ideology, which facilitated globalization. The 21st century has been marked by the emergence of new global issues such as climate change, pandemics, poverty, and inequality. These issues have led to the re-evaluation of the global governance system, highlighting its need to adapt and evolve to accommodate these changes.

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The Ethics of Global Governance

The ethics of global governance are deeply rooted in the principles of social justice, human rights, and human dignity. Global governance is premised on the notion that all human beings are entitled to a decent and dignified life, free from poverty, exploitation, and oppression. The ethics of global governance aspire to universal values such as democracy, transparency, accountability, and the rule of law.

Global governance has set ethical and moral standards aimed at promoting sustainable development across the world. The United Nations Global Compact is an example of such standards, which encourages businesses to adopt ethical practices in their operations. The compact calls for the promotion of universal values such as human rights, environmental sustainability, and the eradication of corruption.

The Significance of Global Governance in Contemporary Society

Global governance plays an essential role in promoting sustainable development, resolving global issues, and ensuring global justice. The following are some of the significance of global governance in contemporary society.

1. Promoting sustainable development

The concept of sustainable development recognizes the interconnectedness between economic, social, and environmental issues. Global governance is instrumental in promoting sustainable development in the face of rising environmental challenges such as climate change, deforestation, and pollution.

2. Resolving global issues

Global governance brings together different actors to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, terrorism, and transnational crime. Global governance initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim at reducing poverty and promoting economic growth across the world.

3. Ensuring global justice

Global governance plays a vital role in ensuring global justice by advocating for respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an example of a global governance initiative aimed at promoting global justice by holding individuals accountable for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Criticism and Limitations of Global Governance

Despite its immense importance, global governance faces several criticisms and limitations. The following are some of the common criticisms of global governance.

1. Lack of accountability

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Global governance lacks accountability as most global organizations have no direct mandate from the people they serve. The absence of direct accountability makes it challenging to hold global actors responsible for their actions.

2. Inadequate representation

Global governance is often criticized for the inadequate representation of developing countries in its decision-making processes. The dominance of developed countries in global governance initiatives makes it challenging to represent the needs and interests of developing countries adequately.

3. Inconsistent implementation of global policies

The implementation of global policies is inconsistent across the globe, with some countries taking advantage of weak enforcement and implementation mechanisms to avoid compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the role of the United Nations in global governance?

The United Nations plays a vital role in global governance through its work in promoting peace, security, and human rights across the world. The UN also coordinates international development efforts and provides a platform for global states and civil societies to work together towards sustainable development.

2. What are the shortcomings of global governance in promoting environmental sustainability?

Global governance is often criticized for its inability to address global environmental issues adequately, such as climate change, pollution, and deforestation. This criticism arises due to the failure of global-action on climate change and the proliferation of unsustainable policies and practices by states across the globe.


Global governance is an essential concept in promoting sustainable development, ensuring global justice, and resolving global issues. The philosophy of global governance recognizes the interconnectedness of global actors and the need for collective efforts in managing global issues. Despite its limitations and criticisms, global governance remains a crucial tool in ensuring a better future for current and future generations. It is an ongoing process involving diverse actors and stakeholders working towards achieving a common goal of a better world for all.