There are an increasing number of networks, engagements and collaborations that go beyond formal structures to try and solve global problems. These networks come in varying forms and are appropriate for different goals.
Knowledge networks may develop new thinking and ideas that help solve global problems, while a citizen’s platform may actually deliver the change that is sought through activism, technology and coordination. But, the rise of these informal structures – whether it is in the field of climate change, where continuous deadlock at the institutional level has led to a more society-centric approach, or in politics, where ordinary citizens take to the streets worldwide against poor governance structures – also raises with it some tough questions:
How do these networks get created, and how do they function?
How do they deal with issues of legitimacy, accountability, representation and transparency?
In the absence of formal structures, how can one ensure that the solutions are optimal for society?
How do traditional and new networks work together to help improve the state of the world?
The Meta Council on New Architecture of Governance investigates the role of these informal networks in global governance and decision-making.
Forum Lead: Espen Barth Eide, Head of Geopolitical Affairs, Member of the Managing Board, Espen.BarthEide@weforum.org