Global Governance Institute


The Global Governance Institute: A Year in Review

29 July 2019

Throughout 2018-19, we have worked with diverse colleagues at UCL and partners across the world to drive forward our busy programme of events, research and policy engagement activities.

Tavistock Square in Spring

The post-World War II liberal international order is widely seen as in crisis. Across policy domains, intergovernmental organisations are criticised as dysfunctional and democratically unaccountable. In light of power imbalances and extreme levels of global inequality, political support for multilateralism is eroding in many countries, defying any notion of global governance as a consensual problem-solving exercise. Brexit, Trump and the rise of nationalist populism across the world appear to be symptomatic of a new global disorder. 

As Professor Amitav Acharya (American University) remarked at a recent GGI keynote lecture, many scholars and policy experts have responded to these developments with denial, depression or anger. However, he argued, rather than despairing about the apparent ‘disorder’ we should seek to explain how the world is being ‘reordered’ and what this means for the future of global governance. 

The core mission of the UCL Global Governance Institute (GGI) is to undertake in-depth, cross-disciplinary and cross-thematic research to better understand these shifts and their implications. How can we best describe the emerging multi-actor, multi-level and multi-scalar global system? What causes gridlock and contestation? And how can we move beyond this, drawing on new tools, mechanisms and theories to respond to major global public policy challenges?

To respond to these urgent questions, the GGI builds upon numerous collaborations with UCL-based, national and international partners in research, policy and practice. In 2018-19, this network has grown substantially. Participation in two new projects – on future scenarios in global governance (funded through the EU's Horizon 2020 programme) and on China/EU economic governance (funded through a Jean Monnet Network Grant) – has helped expand the GGI network beyond Europe and North America. The GGI also remains an active member of the ‘International Global Governance Network’ and the ‘UK Network on the Prohibition of Torture’ and has developed strong ties with key institutions and individuals working on various aspects of global governance.

The GGI seeks to deliver research, publications and events that are policy-relevant and impactful. In December 2018, it collaborated with the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the UCL Institute for Global Health on a high-level policy workshop that explored the role of regulation in combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In June 2019, the GGI collaborated with colleagues at the University of Birmingham and the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee (IDC) to host a policy workshop on Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. We were delighted to welcome Stephen Twigg MP to launch this new IDC Parliamentary Inquiry. Throughout the year, the GGI Thematic Directors – Professor Kristin Bakke (Global Security), Dr Barnali Choudhury (Global Justice and Ethics), Dr Julius Mugwagwa (Global Health) and Dr Lauge Poulsen (Global Economy) – have engaged policy-makers, civil society and private sector representatives through workshops and public events on a wide range of issues, such as trade policy, the business and human rights agenda, global-to-local linkages in health policy and state-citizen interactions during and after violent conflict.

The GGI’s public keynote lecture programme has been as busy as ever this year. We were delighted to be joined by many prominent scholars, policy experts and public figures, including (but not limited to) Professor Alison Brysk, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Professor Tom Farer, Professor Judith L. Goldstein, Dr Daniel Kaufmann and Professor Ilona Kickbusch. The GGI has also continued its Senior Visiting Fellowship programme and, in 2019, we were honoured to host Professor Amitav Acharya and Professor Michael Barnett, both of whom delivered a public lecture and a master class for UCL postgraduate students during their two-week stay in London. Professor Barnett also facilitated a research workshop, which brought together a group of leading academics from across the UK to discuss the future of global governance beyond multilateralism.

This year, the GGI has received major funding from UCL’s Grand Challenges for Global Health and Grand Challenges for Justice and Equality grant schemes which has allowed for major research-policy activities to be coordinated between Dr Tom Pegram (GGI) and colleagues at Laws (Professor Maria Lee, Dr Barnali Choudhury, Professor Iris Chiu), Health and Population Sciences (Professor Sarah Hawkes and Dr Lena Ciric), STEaPP (Dr Julius Mugwagwa, Professor Joanna Chataway), as well as the Institute of the Americas (Dr Par Engstrom) and the Institute of Sustainable Resources (Professor Raimund Bleischwitz).

We continue to be extremely grateful for the inspiration and support we receive from colleagues at the School of Public Policy (SPP) and across UCL as well as the MSc in Global Governance and Ethics (GEE) students who regularly support our activities by writing commentaries, conducting interviews or authoring widely circulated policy briefs. The GGI has also collaborated with the GGE student society on a number of activities and events, including a public keynote lecture with Dame Margaret Hodge, who provided fascinating insights into the work of the UK’s Public Accounts Committee. 

As the GGI's profile as a leading centre of cross-disciplinary research, learning, collaboration and policy engagement continues to grow, we look forward to building upon this year’s achievements in the months ahead. A key strategic focus for 2019-20 will be to recalibrate and expand the GGI’s research agenda, consolidate its internal and external networks and deliver on major research grants. As Professor Acharya noted during his stay at the GGI, global governance is a challenging but also ‘a fantastically rich field of study’. With your support, we hope to be at the forefront of truly innovative thinking on global governance, with the ultimate aim of devising global public policy interventions that actually work – and not just for a select few.  

Amitav Acharya speaks at the GGI

GGI Senior Visiting Fellow Professor Amitav Acharya (American University) at a GGI keynote lecture on ‘World Disorder or World Reorder?’ in June 2019. 

GGI Workshop on the role of regulation in antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

In December 2018, the GGI hosted a workshop on ‘Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): The Role of Regulation’ in collaboration with the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the UCL Institute for Global Health, supported by UCL Grand Challenges.

GGI Deputy Director Tom Pegram speaks at Jean Monnet Workshop on EU/China Economic Governance

GGI Deputy Director Dr Tom Pegram speaks at a workshop on ‘EU/China Economic Governance’, hosted in collaboration with UCL Laws and CEU San Pablo University Madrid in March 2019. The workshop was funded through a Jean Monnet Network grant.