Issues Surrounding Global, Or Transnational, Governance

With the expansion of globalization into most aspects of life comes the expansion of global, or transnational, governance.

Once closely identified with international diplomacy and intergovernmental organizations, transnational governance now impacts business to business transactions as well as the way industries operate at a more global scale.

A special issue of Regulation & Governance recently focused on this aspect of transnational governance — with articles dealing with such issues as global supply chains and how states responded to “forest and fisheries certificate programs.”


Certified timber in Indonesia. Image via CIFOR (Flickr Creative Commons).

Framing Fellow Tim Bartley of Ohio State University published an article in the issue.

In Transnational governance and the re-centered state: Sustainability or legality? Bartley explores how “the rise of the timber legality regime” impacts the “space for global private authority.” 

 The recent rise of binding timber legality rules, occurring in the midst of private efforts to certify sustainability, leaves us with an important set of puzzles: How did regulatory strategies that had apparently been foreclosed in the 1990s become realities in the 2000s? How should we understand the co-evolution of legality verification and sustainability certification?

In addition to environmental and business regulations, global governance can have a more direct impact on people’s lives.

Katja Franko Aas explores the governance of bodies in her article ‘Crimmigrant’ bodies and bona fide travelers: Surveillance, citizenship and global governance.

Grounding her research in the European Union, Aas suggests “Transnational surveillance practices are increasingly addressing a public which is no longer defined exclusively as the citizenry of the nation state.”

Julio Frank and Suerie Moon view the issue of governance through the lens of global health while Frank Biermann and Ingrid Boas explore the intersection of global governance and climate refugees.

Several news stories have been published recently that frame their narratives with governance issues.

In a piece published at a writer suggests the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are victims of global governance.

There are many contributing factors to this mass kidnapping but there primary reason these girls were not rescued immediately or shortly thereafter is the world’s persistence acceptance of ‘national sovereignty’ as the dominant paradigm of global governance.


In other words, humanity still accepts the right of every national government, to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants to whomever it wants within its own borders. This barbaric paradigm was established nearly 400 years ago by the Treaty of Westphalia and remains today as the primary agreement between nations.

Stories about the situation in Ukraine and about the rise of Brazil have also framed the topics explored as governance issues.

As far as the future of governance goes, on World Telecommuication and Information Society Day the United Nations highlighted broadband as an important in creating sustainable development. Communication technologies are crucial to improving various aspects of our lives — including governance the UN suggests.

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