The rise of populism and extreme nationalism, the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, North Korea’s nuclear weapons and many regional conflicts around the world are all evidence of a new crisis in global governance. This situation calls for a new global order characterised by equality, justice, legitimacy, participation, peace, responsibility, stability, and sustainability. It seems to me that the essence of such a new order in the process of globalisation is good governance, and that the key towards good global governance is a new global cooperation.
Globalisation has connected states in an unprecedented way and ensures that the fates of peoples across this planet are inseparably entwined. To cope with global issues, more appropriate and reasonable global governance mechanisms are urgently needed. While globalisation can provide an environment that enables the reasonable allocation of global resources and international cooperation, it can also exacerbate economic, social, and political risks across the globe. Therefore, in this new global age, it is important for states to act through consultation, cooperation, and negotiation. More specifically, we need global consensus, particularly when it comes to issues such as establishing global mechanisms, observing global norms, conducting international cooperation, and pursuing international justice.
With the advent of globalisation, there has been a growing belief that we, as human beings, have only one earth within which all nation states must coexist. Just as a community of fate binds all people across the globe tightly together, there is growing recognition of the remarkable way in which globalisation is connecting the fates of nation states. Only through global governance can we effectively tackle the issues that confront us and establish a just and reasonable global order. The emergence of global governance not only attests to people’s awareness of their shared problems and common fate in this global age, but also represents their coordinated efforts to bring about civility, common prosperity, and harmony.
In examining the realities of international political and economic processes, however, we can conclude that global governance has made great strides, but still falls far short of meeting the actual demands of globalisation.
Global governance has made encouraging headway. National governments across the globe and the international community are attaching increasing importance to this issue, and a consensus on a community of fate among humankind is taking root. Various actors are taking part in global governance apart from nation states, including country blocs and international organisations. Other actors, particularly global civil society organisations and transnational companies, are playing a more active role. Broadly speaking, global governance rules are placing more constraints on the actions of nation states and the days when several superpowers dominated international affairs are gone. International cooperation is gaining further momentum with respect to certain global issues such as addressing climate change, combating cross-border crime, controlling contagious diseases, countering global terrorism, and mitigating global financial risks. Furthermore, improvements in global governance are restructuring the global community by giving rise to new global identities.
However, global governance faces many daunting challenges. Worldwide inequality is widening rather than narrowing and the global environment is continuing to deteriorate. Threats from international terrorist attacks are increasing and a sense of insecurity is felt across the globe, which is exacerbated by the outbreak of regional conflicts that in turn threaten peace across the world. The trend toward de-globalisation, or anti-globalisation, and national protectionism is gaining momentum and having an impact on international trade which, hit hard by the global financial crisis, is far from robust. Some countries have adopted double standards on global governance, which risks the failure of global governance in certain fields or in specific countries. Globalisation, while giving rise to global governance, also engenders global risks.
How do we address these issues? In my opinion, the answer is self-evident: good global governance based on democracy, equality, justice, and transparency is the linchpin for tackling pressing global challenges. We should have an ideal condition for global governance, and I believe it should be good global governance.
Good global governance maximises the common interests of all stakeholders. In other words, it aims to maximise the common interests of the international community. Good global governance represents the ideal state of international order and can bring about substantive cooperation both among governments and among global civil society organisations. Just as good governance represents the ideal state of national governance, good global governance represents the ideal state of international governance. Therefore, this would be the key condition for a good, new global order. Expressed differently, good global governance is a long-term objective for a new good global order that can direct concrete actions in a specific direction.
To achieve good global governance and a new global order, joint efforts in a new global cooperation within the international community are vital.
A new global cooperation is the only way to achieve good global governance and a new global order. There is growing consensus that cooperation is the only means to achieve global democratic governance, alleviate global poverty, counter cross-border crime, ensuring people’s safety, mitigate global risks, realise the reasonable allocation of global resources, protect the global ecological environment, and to promote the common interests of humankind to the greatest extent possible. In summary, only cooperation among regions, nation-states, and ethnic groups can ensure peace, prosperity, and happiness for all.
A new global cooperation for good global governance and a new global order will provide important impetus for human progress. Every progressive step we have made in terms of the economy, culture, politics, and science would be unthinkable without mutual learning between different civilisations, different countries, and different ethnicities. Every civilisation has its own unique strengths and intrinsic weaknesses. Only by learning from the positive attributes of other civilisations can we make consistent progress. Whenever a great nation or great civilisation has arisen in history, its greatness has stemmed from the ability to learn from others. Global cooperation provides a vehicle for different nation-states and different civilisations to do this. Therefore, the process of global cooperation is also the process of mutual learning among nation states.
A new global cooperation for good global governance should be transcultural, aiming to promote both the common interests of all human beings and those interests of individual nation states. The global cooperation we are talking about should transcend not only differences in economic and political systems and ideological tendencies, but also cultural and ethnic differences. This global age should be marked by the harmony of different civilisations rather than be mired by cultural conflicts. As the deepest form of global cooperation, transcultural cooperation also provides important channels for the harmony of civilisations. Transcultural cooperation is the only means by which we can reconcile our national identities with global ones.
The new global cooperation for a new global order should be based on diversity. Globalisation is a historic process of worldwide transformation and is primarily manifested in and cultural pluralism, economic integration, and political democratisation. Globalisation accentuates the autonomy of nation-states rather than eliminating it. It accentuates global cultural diversity rather than wiping out cultural traditions. Globalisation is a process in which internationalisation and localisation, universalisation and particularisation, integration and fragmentation, as well as homogenisation and heterogenisation coexist. Global cooperation in the global age should not come at the cost of diversity among nation states. Instead, we should pursue global identities based on maintaining the diversity of nation states. As traditional Chinese philosophy suggests, people should be “harmonious but different”.
The new global cooperation should be reciprocal and mutually beneficial. It must be based on equality and mutual respect. For international cooperation to be effective, it must be a win-win process for relevant partners who enjoy an equal relationship. Only based on equality, mutual respect and trust, and reciprocity can international cooperation be sustainable and produce positive outcomes. Equality also maximises the benefits of international cooperation. The era of the “carrot and stick” has passed. Today, what we need is a new form of cooperation featuring democracy, equality, friendliness, justice, tolerance, trust and win-win solutions. People over the world share a common fate as well as common interests. Only through this new global cooperation mode can we steadily march toward a global community of common interests and promote the general interests of humankind to the greatest extent possible.
We need to make joint efforts to strengthen transcultural, transnational and cross-system global cooperation. Not only do nation states and intergovernmental organisations have an important responsibility in this regard, but global civil society has, too. Supportive action is needed from both governments and civil organisations alike, and the initiatives and participation of ordinary people is particularly important. As the process of globalisation deepens, every member of the international community and every individual in human society should work to consciously promote global cooperation. Only by so doing can we look forward to an optimistic and bright future.
As we share a common fate and interests, we must foster mutual trust. Mutual trust is indispensable for the existence of any community of people. Without mutual trust, there is no human community. Without worldwide mutual trust, there is no global community. Trust can reduce mutual suspicion and improve the sense of security within the international community. It can also prevent confrontation and conflict and help strengthen solidarity and cooperation. Trust can facilitate adherence to common rules among different peoples and improve global order. There would have no global consensus, global cooperation, and global security without mutual trust at the global level.