Ruling ourselves: The deliberate evolution of global cooperation and governance

Some of our readers may have been wondering what we’ve been up to over the past year. Certainly, there haven’t been many posts to this website for quite some time. Putting aside the lack of posts for now (suffice to say we’ll be making a return soon) we’d like to share with our readers the hefty project we’ve been involved in over the past 16 months or so, and that is the Global Challenges Foundations’ New Shape Prize.

The Global Challenges Foundation is an organization whose objective is to identify and address major global threats to humanity. One avenue that this foundation uses to do this is to gather thinkers from around the world to contribute ideas towards this goal. The New Shape Prize is one such effort. The New Shape Prize is a USD 5 million competition seeking improved frameworks of global governance.

Vision of Earth is proud to announce that members of our team were part of a group that spent nearly a year working towards a submission for this prize, entitled “Ruling ourselves: The deliberate evolution of global cooperation and governance” that has been selected from nearly 3000 entries from 122 countries as a one of twenty semi-finalists. We are extremely proud of this effort and encourage our readers learn more at where more information about the paper, the team, and the objectives can be found. There, interested readers can also read the paper in its entirety.

The aim of the prize is to find models or frameworks for international cooperation which could help address global issues such as climate change, environmental damage, violent conflict (including weapons of mass destruction), and extreme poverty. The competition was open for submissions from November 2016 to September 2017.

Our paper suggests that global cooperation is limited primarily by the lack of mutual trust and similar priorities between nations. In our submission, we theorize that creating a vetoless global legal authority – which we call a “sovereign global government” – requires the ceding of unprecedented sovereignty by all nations. We feel that this is an infeasible goal for the near future. That said, improved global governance is still possible. Existing patterns of governance are capable of articulating and embodying humanity’s willingness to cooperate. Evolving effective global governance will require widespread support, steadfast determination, and a lot of time – but it is very possible.

The paper elaborates on a variety of ways that mutual trust and cooperation can be fostered between nations as well as ways that the legitimacy and effectiveness of existing global governance structures such as the UN can be strengthened.

Now that this project has drawn to a close, we look forward to posting more regularly on Vision of Earth – particularly on topics relating to global governance.

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