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Critical Choices: The United Nations, Networks, and the Future of Global Governance

Wolfgang H. Reinicke, Francis Deng, Jan Martin Witte, Thorsten Benner, Beth Whitaker, and John Gershman

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The world that we live in today is changing dramatically. Economic and political liberalization, together with accelerating technological change, are driving the extraordinary process we know as "globalization." This new global environment requires new approaches, new ideas, and innovative tools to address new challenges in areas as different as weapons control, climate change, genetic engineering, and labour standards.

Critical Choices looks at one such tool: global public policy networks. In these networks, governments, international organizations, the corporate sector, and civil society join together to achieve what none can accomplish on its own. The authors explore both the promises and the limitations of this new form of global cooperation. They discuss how such networks might contribute to better manage the risks and make use of the opportunities that globalization presents. Finally, they offer provocative advice and solid recommendations on how the United Nations can foster such networks in the years ahead.

The United Nations faces a set of critical choices. It must not only be a haven for its member states but also needs to find ways to collaborate with civil society and the global business community in tackling the challenges that lie ahead. By promoting global public policy networks, the UN will more effectively serve its member states and fulfill its mission to address the problems of humanity.

Critical Choices outlines promising ways of how global public policy networks can help to meet the governance challenges of the 21st century and equips policymakers with a practical toolbox to manage globalization. It is in the interest of governments to engage in these “coalitions for change” to better be able to meet their responsibilities toward their citizens.
— Caio Koch-Weser (State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany)

Critical Choices breaks new ground on how to forge partnerships to better meet the challenge of making globalization work for all — North and South. It is a must-read for everyone concerned with building a truly inclusive system of global governance.
— Sonia Picado Sotela (National Congresswoman, Costa Rica)

Critical Choices couldn’t be more timely and helpful in drawing attention to the growing importance of cross-sectoral partnerships in meeting the multiple challenges of global governance. Members of the United Nations and concerned citizens everywhere would do well to note its findings and embrace its recommendations.
— Tadashi Yamamoto (President, Japan Center for International Exchange)

Critical Choices offers a working blueprint for addressing some of the key dilemmas facing governments and international organisations in a rapidly changing world. Tri-sectoral global public policy networks — involving governments, business, and the nonprofit sector — provide a new model for building a more dynamic, participative, and effective system of global governance.
— Thilo Bode (Executive Director, Greenpeace International)

Critical Choices reaches a simple but powerful conclusion: that global public policy networks can play an increasingly important role in addressing the governance and policy issues facing the global community. This conclusion resonates with our experience in Shell, and with that of some others in the business community, that networks of diverse stakeholders can make a positive contribution in addressing complex business and societal issues.
— Mark Moody-Stuart (Chairman, Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies)