In the last few years, the world has become multipolar, with wealth, ideas and enthusiasm moving from rich countries towards the developing world. Emerging economies such as the BRICS are now the center of global policy-making, and the middle class of nations, including the CIVETS group, is growing around a vibrant network of horizontal partnerships. However, global negotiations on development appear to be resistant to change, especially when it comes to enabling affirmative roles of low- and smaller middle-income countries.
But why is it so difficult to democratize the dynamics of the global governance on development with new leadership? Where are the main barriers to effective power shares of developing countries in the international system? And indeed, how could we ensure that global processes take advantage of, and adjust to, an increasingly multipolar world?
To reflect on these questions, 30 mid-level officials from 14 ministries and 10 government agencies of El Salvador engaged last Saturday in the pilot edition of the Global Governance Game (3G). The 3G is conducted as a series of simulated high-level negotiations, for instance in the context of the G20 and the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Players act as heads of delegation of various countries and international institutions, including OECD-DAC member countries, emerging economies, low and middle-income countries, as well as multilateral organizations. Pursuing national interests, building alliances and committing to shared outcomes, the participants experience key elements of how global development decisions are made, such as power, partnerships, capacity, inter-personal and cultural comfort, as well as access to information, including rules and draft agreements.
In the Salvadoran edition, hosted at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies and Training (IEESFORD) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government officials participated in two rounds of simulated negotiations. Firstly, they had to agree on the G20 development priorities from 2012-2015, and secondly, achieve a renewed commitment for financial cooperation to be channeled through the national budgets and financial management systems of the recipients. Highly motivated and thematically well-prepared, the Salvadoran players achieved strong consensus that climate change and public sector capacities should be on top of the G20 agenda, but remained largely divided on the actual commitment to use country systems for development aid.
But most importantly, they identified a series of lessons learned on the dynamics and shortcomings of the current global governance on development:
In the next weeks, the Salvadoran government officials will elaborate on the concrete options to further boost the country’s influence on global decision-making processes. Inspired by successful experiences with El Salvador’s role in the Durban Conference on Climate Change and the Busan High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, further actions will be identified to inform the preparatory process leading to the Conference on Climate Change, to be held in Qatar in December 2012.
More info on the Global Governance Game, pictures from the El Salvador pilot and contact with the 3G facilitators are available here: www.facebook.com/GobernanzaGlobal. The author can provide more details on approaches, methodology and availability of the 3G for interested governments and institutions.