Global governance

Governance describes how societies structure policy responses to the challenges they face. Governance involves government, but the two terms are not synonymous because governance often occurs outside the formal state-based institutional and legal arrangements that characterize governments. Thus, within nation states, regional and local government, and civil society and business institutions are recognized as playing important roles in governance.

Good governance is an important determinant of health; countries with the worst health outcomes face major problems of governance due to conflict and/or corruption.

Global governance describes the system of ethical values, organizations and processes through which global society responds to its challenges and responsibilities. In the post-war period, most emphasis was placed on the resolution of conflicts between states, and reconstruction and development following the war. What emerged, therefore, was a system of global interstate organizations to resolve conflicts and support development collaboration. The United Nations System comprises the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN organizations and procedures such as Security Council resolutions. These developed in response to the concerns and balance of power during this period. Since then, the international agenda has broadened and new interstate organizations have sprung up to reflect regional, trade, development and environmental concerns and changing influence structures. With increasing globalization and the ending of cold war tensions, it is also apparent that non-state international actors, including civil society and business interests, have a role to play in global governance. The emergence of global public-private partnerships to support the implementation and management of international initiatives has added a further very significant element to the architecture of global governance.