Governance, in crisis

Crises can be indicative of the viability of an existing order. The COVID-19 crisis, too, has revealed many truths about the contemporary global order, which was already far from stable. It is becoming apparent that if we retain the same governance models that got us here today, the incidence and severity of future crises will outstrip our capacity to respond to them effectively. It is in this context that we need more critical reflection, across disciplinary boundaries and beyond existing paradigms, on the limits of existing governance systems to solve wicked problems and innovative ways to address future global challenges. How are existing governance systems responding to crisis, or are they themselves in crisis? Discover more below.

World Health Organization - WHO Daily Presser

How the WHO Could Avoid Getting Fooled Again

By Kit De Vriese & Dhruv Sharma

This post evaluates the possible ways to evaluate the performance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and seek accountability for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 and supply chain relationships: inclusive governance reform or break-up ahead?

By Janelle M. Diller

The threats to human and worker rights accompanying the global coronavirus pandemic reinforce the need to prioritize inclusive sector-wide dialogue and action among governments, business, workers and civil society in global value chains, aided by international standards and organizations.

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How COVID-19 challenges our notions of freedom

By Osvaldo Javier López Ruiz

Is our conception of “liberty” in the 21st century the same as that for the “moderns” of the 19th century? The coronavirus pandemic challenges our views and the idea (or ideal) of a universal concept of freedom that can be applied globally.


Crises, capital, sovereignty: Lessons from the history of crisis

By Dr Benjamin Chwistek

Crises are frequent, as is the failure of supranational bodies to respond to them effectively. Where does power lie: with capital or the political?

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Depoliticising through Expertise: The Politics of Modelling in the Governance of Covid-19

By Annabelle Littoz-Monnet

Epidemiological models have played a decisive role from the outset in determining the public policy response to Covid-19, especially in the imposition of quarantines and lockdowns. This emphasis on epidemiology, however, may have resulted in the silencing of alternative voices – from philosophers and anthropologists to general practitioners – and the possibility of alternative solutions for managing the public health emergency.


Is it possible to be prepared for a crisis?

By Adam Przeworski

This piece reflects on criticisms of governments for not being prepared for COVID-19 and revisits fundamental questions about when and why the free hand of the market or state intervention should prevail.


COVID-19, the WHO, and the failures of global governance

By Dhruv Sharma & Kit De Vriese

This piece discusses the ever-rising obstacles to global governance in the context of the reactions to the coronavirus pandemic by the WHO, the international community, and particularly the US, and identifies the potential ways forward.


COVID-19: An assessment of the WHO’s response

By Dhruv Sharma & Kit De Vriese

This post assesses the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and identifies three major limitations that precluded a more effective organizational response.


COVID-19 reveals the fragility of our values

By Adam Przeworski

Democratic governments have implemented measures similar to those by autocracies in response to the pandemic. Are these value trade-offs temporary experiments, or will they be here to stay?


NATO’s challenges amidst the coronavirus crisis : In need for a strategic turn or readjustment?

By Maria (Mary) Papageorgiou

This blog post identifies five challenges facing NATO and explores their future implications. Leadership, funding, disinformation campaigns, biosecurity threats and the relationship between the allies will determine the alliance’s direction in the emerging geostrategic environment.


COVID-19: A magnifier of social inequality

By Adam Przeworski

The coronavirus pandemic has magnified health and wealth inequality, raising important questions about ethics and the priorities of public policy interventions.


Government responses to COVID-19: Manipulation or illusion?

By Adam Przeworski

Initial responses to the COVID-19 outbreak have varied, seemingly irrespective of regime type. This pieces sheds light on the motivations of political leaders and whether they manipulated their public or held illusionary beliefs.


Life in the time of COVID: First reactions, future directions

By Adam Przeworski

This piece reflects on the various events brought on by coronavirus and speculates on their long-term consequences. It contemplates the state of our beliefs, liberalism, institutions, geopolitics, risk, and science in times of COVID-19.


Crises Reveal UN Shortcomings

By Stephen Browne

Is the UN really capable of finding timely solutions to global problems? The coronavirus pandemic and environmental crises are testing the operations of the UN system, and show there might be alternative (and better) solutions to global cooperation.


The politics of methods in the controversy over how to treat coronavirus

By Annabelle Littoz-Monnet & Juanita Uribe

The quest to find a COVID-19 treatment has incited a highly publicized debate related to longstanding questions about scientific methods and public health interventions. It calls for greater reflection on the assumptions and limitations of knowledge and its underlying political and social facets.

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What can evolution tell us about governance and the COVID-19 crisis?

By Velibor Jakovleski

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased speculation about what the future of the global order will look like. This piece attempts to makes sense of prevailing scenarios and showcases what evolutionary theory can contribute to our understanding of stability and change.


COVID-19 Exposes Gaps in Governance of Emerging Technologies

By Elisabeth Dubois

Understanding the growing trend and reliance on emerging digital technologies, and the need for their improved governance, will be critical in the response to COVID-19 and future crises.

Bellion-Jourdan blog

Democratizing international negotiations? Towards a virtual and inclusive negotiation for the world after COVID-19

By Jerome Bellion-Jourdan

This blog post explores the potential to launch a virtual and inclusive negotiation to lay the foundations for future formats of international negotiations after COVID-19, with the possible drafting of a “Shared Humanity Charter”. Using innovative technological solutions and collaborative methods, this would be a first activity of the emerging International Negotiation Platform.

Pressure to act: Covid-19 and the global governance of biological weapons

By Michelle Bentley

Covid-19 will radically change and challenge global action on biological weapons. By demonstrating the extreme consequences of biological warfare (both in terms of public health and social disruption), the pandemic will redefine the current debate and put new pressure on international actors to address the threat through global governance structures.


COVID, Crisis and Change in Global Governance

By Nico Krisch

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have serious domestic and international political consequences and to exacerbate existing trends to reshape the landscape of international and transnational institutions. These six trends, when combined, could be dangerous for the structure of global governance as we know it.


Governance, in crisis: What COVID-19 means for the present and future of global governance

By Velibor Jakovleski

Introducing a new series of think pieces to reflect critically on the limits (or untapped potential) of existing governance systems and innovative ways to solve future global challenges.

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How will the Covid-19 pandemic reshape refugee and migration governance?

By Kristin Bergtora Sandvik & Adele Garnier

In an effort to slow down  the transmission of the virus, new travel restrictions by countries have halted refugee resettlements and placed already marginalised populations at greater risk.  The blog identifies marginalisation, legal distancing and the ambiguity of care as the key characteristics of the Covid-19 pandemic response currently reshaping refugee and migration governance.


Mobility in crisis: can global governance get the world moving again?

By Christopher Szabla

The outbreak of Covid-19 has closed borders around the world, appearing to have deepened a crisis in globalization that has challenged the mobility of people, goods, and services between countries and even within them. Can global governance norms and institutions play a role in restoring or even improving movement in a post-Covid world given an ongoing hostility to them?