Global Agenda Council on the Rule of Law 2012-2013
In the search for solutions to issues that transcend national boundaries – climate change, trade, marine conservation, illicit trade and human rights – decision-makers encounter an ever-growing variety of initiatives. These often involve diverse actors and constituencies working on such issues in place of, or in conjunction with, governments. The Global Agenda Council on the Rule of Law refers to such initiatives as “coordinated governance”, as distinct from “coordinated government”, which occurs purely between states and state regulatory bodies.
It is important that coordinated governance take place through a process that operates in accordance with established guiding principles and fundamental norms, to ensure that the resulting governance is broadly regarded as legitimate. The Council has adopted the four defining rule of law principles developed by the World Justice Project:
- The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law.
- The laws are clear, publicized, stable and fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property.
- The process by which the laws are enacted, administered and enforced is accessible, fair and efficient.
- Access to justice is provided by competent, independent and ethical adjudicators, attorneys or representatives and judicial officers who are sufficient in number, have adequate resources and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.
Individual principles of the rule of law (for example, transparency) have played a significant role in cases where international problem-solving and reform have been discussed. Paradoxically, the perceived inadequacies of multilateralism and international rule-making have fostered efforts to tackle issues such as climate change through less formal and more ad hoc means, such as coordinated governance initiatives.
- Austria ranks among the top 10 in all eight dimensions of the rule of law.
- More than 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by violence and insecurity. Conflict and violence are major symptoms of the breakdown of the rule of law.2
- South Africa has the best rule of law outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country ranks well in most dimensions, including government accountability, effective regulatory enforcement and access to justice, particularly when compared with countries at similar stages of economic development.
“We live in a fast-paced world, but very often even law can’t keep up with what’s happening.”
Sam Muller, Director, Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law, Netherlands
“Law does not equal red tape; it need not be an obstacle to investment. Quite the opposite: in the green economy, law is an economic enabler and multiplier of success.”2
Irene Khan, Director-General, International Development Law Organization, Italy
Hague Institute for International Law, Annual Law of the Future Forum
1-2 November 2012
The Hague, Netherlands
University of Southern California Global Conference
23-25 May 2013
Seoul, Republic of Korea
World Justice Forum
8-11 July 2013
The Hague, Netherlands
In November 2011, the Council set itself the goal of developing a framework for analysing forms of coordinated governance, their interplay with the rule of law, and the possible guidance such a framework could provide in addressing the basic issues around these initiatives. In the process, the Council plans to identify areas and patterns of success or failure in coordinated governance and the function of the rule of law in contributing to more positive outcomes. A body of learning along these lines could help decision-makers and reformers develop creative solutions to global problems through coordinated governance informed by a rule of law ethic.
In anticipation of discussions at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, a paper was developed: “Coordinated Governance as a New Model: The Concept, Its Value, Its Relationship to Rule of Law and Global Problem Solving, and the Global Agenda Council Work Plan”. This paper, in addition to expanding on the definition of “coordinated governance” noted above, distinguishes the coordinated governance approach from two related areas: “promotion of the rule of law” and “global problem-solving”.
The impact that the Council has had within the Network of Global Agenda Councils is encouraging. Questions on governance and elements of the rule of law were welcomed in the discussions with other Councils at the 2011 Summit on the Global Agenda in Abu Dhabi; a range of specific reform policies and initiatives involving state and non-state actors was discussed. The Council’s perspective has also influenced the creation of a rule of law working group within the Professional Services Network (PSN) of the Forum.
Going forward, the Council will continue to focus on two specific projects:
- a book with the working title of Coordinated Governance and the Rule of Law: Designing Creative Solutions in a Complicated World
- a joint project with the PSN that attempts to link corporate sponsorship with specific projects aimed at improving the rule of law machinery
Research Analyst: Karen Wong, Karen.Wong@weforum.org
Council Manager: Andrea Wong, Senior Community Manager, Professional Services, email@example.com
Forum Lead: Martina Gmür, Senior Director and Head of Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org