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Launch of the Global Governance Innovation Network

Project Note

Contributed by ACUNS, Leiden University, Plataforma CIPÓ, Stimson Center

Posted 8 July 2021

Launch of the Global Governance Innovation Network

 Event Summary
Hosted on 24 June 2021
Watch the event recording
On 24 June 2021, the Stimson Center, the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS), Plataforma CIPÓ, and Leiden University launched the Global Governance Innovation Network (GGIN) at the 2021 ACUNS Annual Meeting. The GGIN brings world-class scholarship together with international policy-making to address fundamental global governance challenges, threats, and opportunities. Research will focus on the development of institutional, policy, legal, and normative improvements in the international global governance architecture.
Lead-off speakers for the event included Professor Lise Howard, President of ACUNS and Professor at Georgetown University, and Dr. Richard Ponzio, Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Governance, Justice and Security Program at the Stimson Center. Panelists included Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to Nigerian President Muhammudu Buhari, Founding Chairman of the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, and former UN Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs and Foreign Minister of Nigeria; Professor Thomas G. Weiss, Presidential Professor of the Graduate Center at the City University of New York and former President and Executive Director of ACUNS; Dr. Marie McAuliffe, Head, Migration Research Division, International Organization for Migration; and Professor Joris Larik, Assistant Professor of Comparative, EU, and International Law at Leiden University. The session was moderated by Dr. Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Plataforma CIPÓ.

Key Speaker Quotes

“This initiative is bringing together ACUNS, the Stimson Center, Plataforma CIPO, and the University of Leiden. With these four partners today, we are launching this network, uniting policy workers and scholars to better understand how to govern our world.” – Professor Lise Howard
“The Global Governance Innovation Network is meant to bring together voices from the Global South and North along with UN representatives. It will focus on issue areas such as post-COVID recovery, rethinking the UN’s approach to peace and security, strengthening human rights, and climate governance.” – Dr. Richard Ponzio
“We are putting together this network, GGIN, to grow quantitatively and qualitatively in order to promote knowledge production about global governance, including by Global South actors, and to improve policy and make it more democratic.” – Dr. Adriana Erthal Abdenur
“Incentive structures and the way in which policy spheres and scholarly spheres operate are different; different outputs, forms of communications, etc. It’s not easy. That’s why we’re here, launching the network to bridge the divide in all sorts of spheres.” – Dr. Marie McAuliffe
“We have to communicate our academic expertise that’s based on serious research. You have to be able to do both to survive in the peer review arena. … Rules based governance in recent years proved more resilient than the world has given it credit for. Some governments have tried to kill it, but somehow it won’t die, which is a cause for hope and optimism.” – Professor Joris Larik
“Scholars have the opportunity to introduce ideas for collaboration and cooperation, and  to integrate them into the policy mainstream on a global stage. The impact of scholars must be made in a forceful manner, we have to interject ourselves into the policy debates.” – Professor Ibrahim Gambari
“Set aside all theories … the GGIN should draw upon the spirit of the book Emerging Powers and the UN, and call into question the shibboleths about the Global North in the Global South.” –  Professor Thomas G. Weiss

Major Points Voiced by the Speakers

  • It is important to bring together scholarship and policymaking in order to inform each other and bridge knowledge gaps.
  • The Global Governance Innovation Network aims to bridge the North-South divide we see in scholarship and policymaking.
  • There are significant gaps in knowledge, as research and data are not usually the priority for policymakers who should take informed decisions. The GGIN aims to bridge this gap by offering a space for creating and disseminating evidence-based and objective analysis.
  • The GGIN’s main emphasis is on innovation and on bringing together the ideas, resources, and capabilities of the global community to create solutions for addressing the new century’s global challenges.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals permeate the four different thematic priorities of the GGIN: 1) Enhancing Post-COVID Recovery and Global Economic & Social Governance; 2) Rethinking the UN’s Approach to Peace, Security & Humanitarian Action; 3) Strengthening Rules-Based Governance, Human Rights & Inclusive Governance; and 4) Innovating Climate Governance: The Paris Agreement & Beyond.
  • The GGIN is positioned to become an important community within the “Third UN.”
  • International law and rules-based governance have been more resilient than perhaps we give it credit for. Despite the rise of populism in the Western world, many states still follow the rule of law.
  • While multilateralism has seen some success in previous years, significant agreements such as the Paris Agreement are not legally binding, and thus, states are not taking adequate action to address the full magnitude of the climate crisis.
  • There are many benefits and drawbacks to the expansion of digital connectivity. On the one hand, it has the potential to erode privacy, but it has also given the world opportunities to advance economies and address the consequences of the pandemic.
  • Global governance was meant to be different from earlier, top-down governance approaches, and to prioritize interdependent global challenges.
  • We are moving away from the US-centric, unipolar world that the end of the Cold War ushered in. Now we must embrace a more multipolar world.
  • The proliferation of non-state actors generates the need for a more central authority to bring this diverse variety of actors together.
  • Countries implement international law differently, and this is not conducive to a cohesive governance system worldwide. Foreign relations law must be a new type of law that governs every nation equally.
  • There needs to be a reckoning of the concept of international law. It is a necessary exercise to problematize and discuss it to make international law more inclusive.
  • Scholars and academics should work together with policymakers to design collaborative solutions that seek to influence positive change.
  • Within the next three-to-five years, scholars should focus greater attention on technology, the human impact on the environment, and heightened competition between states.


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