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Bridging Research and Policy to Address World Challenges

In the post-1989 period, important changes have occurred in the organisation of the world economy and of world politics more broadly. The new global (dis)order is characterised by both interdependence and mutual vulnerability among world regions and nation-states. The intensification of linkages and connections driven by technology, trade, investment, aid, and the mobility of people and ideas is transforming states and societies around the world.

The period of uncontested American hegemony is waning; a new multipolar international system is emerging, underscored by the eclipse of the G7/G8 of western powers by the G20. The growing weight of countries such as China, India and Brazil points to a relative decline in the power and influence of the ‘West’, especially within the international political economy. Demands for the supply of public goods at both the regional and international level are rising, but significant – and in some cases rising – barriers to their provision confound policymakers.

The European Union (EU) is drawn into a web of global governance as it tries to shape – and is also shaped by – international regimes, bilateral and multilateral agreements that comprise today’s patterns of transnational governance.

Research conducted at the Global Governance Programme aims to identify the medium- and long-term challenges that the world faces, and possible ways to address them.

Global thinkers and leaders, academics and senior officials, constitute the pool of experts on whom the Programme can draw for inspired and cutting- edge debates on the problems the world currently faces. The Programme fosters dialogue between the worlds of research and policy in an objective, evidence-based manner, and seeks to contribute robust and critical thinking to important questions of policy and institutional design.

The Programme has been represented at meetings hosted by the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) to discuss a global foreign policy and security strategy for the EU. It also hosts conferences, seminars, and workshops on Europe’s external relations that bring together scholars and policymakers. In April 2016, for example, the Programme hosted a workshop on ‘China’s Rise and Europe’s Response’, a critical issue for Europe’s international relations. Speakers explored policy areas in which there has been a convergence of perspectives and policies between the EU and China, and issues on which there continues to be disagreement and discord. Individual panels were devoted to exploring the security, economic, political and normative dimensions of EU-China relations. In June 2017 a conference on ‘Terrorism and European Security Governance‘ was held in Florence and co-sponsored by NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division.

The Programme regularly organises academic and policy workshops that address major challenges related to the governance of cultural diversity in Europe and the world today. In March 2014, a policy workshop was held with all the leading international organisations that deal with minority and migrant rights and integration, including the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development  (OECD), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Commission, and the European Parliament. Similarly, in summer 2015 the Programme held a large conference on ‘secularism’ to discuss how religious diversity is managed in Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania, and what lessons Europe can draw from those experiences. In spring 2016, experts from Europe, North America, and Australia gathered to discuss how greater mobility and interconnectedness of migrants and diasporas with both countries of origin and destination affect our policies and practices of integration, as well as our models of citizenship and belonging. More recently, in May 2017, a workshop on ‘EU International Cultural Relations: a Strategic Approach‘ was organised to explore the role of culture in EU diplomacy.

The Global Governance Programme is also regularly represented in events and debates on trade and investment at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and leading think tanks. It acts for example as the knowledge partner for the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)/World Economic Forum (WEF) Expert-15 group on trade and regulatory cooperation, which brings together leading scholars and practitioners. In September 2016 the Programme hosted in Florence for the first time the World Trade Forum in collaboration with World Trade Institute.

The Programme also serves as a venue for offline deliberations between senior trade and economic development officials, including WTO Ambassadors and managers of international agencies. It maintains strong ties to Geneva-based international organisations, and in 2015 it was selected as the only European venue to reflect on the first 20 years of the operation of the WTO Appellate Body.