Global Governance and the UN

9780253221674: Paperback
Release Date: 23rd April 2010

Dimensions: 155 x 235

Number of Pages: 448

Indiana University Press

Global Governance and the UN

An Unfinished Journey

Paperback / £25.99

In the 21st century, the world is faced with threats of global scale that cannot be confronted without collective action. Although global government as such does not exist, formal and informal institutions, practices, and initiatives—together forming "global governance"—bring a greater measure of predictability, stability, and order to trans-border issues than might be expected. Yet, there are significant gaps between many current global problems and available solutions. Thomas G. Weiss and Ramesh Thakur analyze the UN's role in addressing such knowledge, normative, policy, institutional, and compliance lapses. The UN's relationship to these five global governance gaps is explored through case studies of some of the most burning problems of our age, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, humanitarian crises, development aid, climate change, human rights, and HIV/AIDS.

List of Boxes, Tables, and Figures
Series Editors' Foreword Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly, and Thomas G. Weiss
Foreword John Gerard Ruggie

Introduction: The Problématique of Global Governance
1. Tracing the Origins of an Idea and the UN's Contribution

Part 1. International Security
2. The Use of Force: War, Collective Security, and Peace Operations
3. Arms Control and Disarmament
4. Terrorism

Part 2. Development
5. Trade, Aid, and Finance
6. Sustainable Development
7. Saving the Environment: The Ozone Layer and Climate Change

Part 3. Human Rights
8. Generations of Rights
9. Protecting against Pandemics
10. The Responsibility to Protect

About the Authors
About the United Nations Intellectual History Project

Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor of Political Science at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies.

Ramesh Thakur is the Inaugural Director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Ontario.

"Never has a serious book on the United Nations and global governance been timelier."

John Gerard Ruggie
Harvard University Law School

"Every student of global governance, and every course on global governance, needs to have a coherent understanding of the existing UN system and its relationship to the rest of world governance, both as it now exists and as we can imagine it can be. This is simply the best book available for that purpose."

Craig Murphy
Wellesley College

"An intriguing and meaty analysis of the world's collective problem-solving arrangements.... Tom Weiss and Ramesh Thakur are the doyens of contemporary scholarship in this field, and there could be no more credible or lucid guides through these complex and important issues."

Gareth Evans
International Crisis Center, Brussels

"Global Governance and the UN will satisfy those who seek a serious grappling with the ethical aspects of international action to address the world's most pressing challenges. The book argues that the UN's evolution is an "unfinished journey":... global governance will continue to evolve, with the UN at the center, in the wake of each global crisis. dec 2011"

Ethics and International Affairs

"Weiss and Thakur have managed to perform the difficult trick of producing a work that can function as textbook, scholarly reference, policy guide, and popular reading.... Recommended."


Global governance is the latest catchphrase in discourses about international relations. It signifies 'governance without government,' or how the international community creates rules and maintains order without formal government structures, yet few serious studies of the phenomenon exist. Weiss (Graduate Center, CUNY) and Thakur (Univ. of Montreal, Canada) begin with a clear articulation of the concept as a prelude to how governance issues have played out in the UN. The book is both a history of global governance in the context of the UN as well as a report card of what gaps remain. A notable feature is the amazing breadth of the work; over 75 percent of the book is devoted to nine sets of issues across three different areas: international security (e.g., use of force, arms control, and terrorism), development (e.g., sustainable development, trade, and climate change) and human rights (e.g., rights, responsibility to protect, and health) respectively. Weiss and Thakur have managed to perform the difficult trick of producing a work that can function as textbook, scholarly reference, policy guide, and popular reading. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduate students, graduate students, and research faculty. -- Choice

P. F. Diehl, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign