The Role of Regions in Global Governance

In today’s interconnected and globalised world, multilateral relations are no longer exclusively built on interstate dynamics. Numerous new players have emerged that have a say in world politics and, to some extent, challenge the longstanding supremacy of the state. Nevertheless, sovereign states are still seen as the key actors in international relations. But faced with concomitant forces of globalisation and localisation, many states are either too small or too big to adequately respond to the handful of challenges. This is the reason why states build regions within, above or across their borders.

Regions therefore exist in many shapes and sizes, and more and more regions across the world gain state characteristics. Put differently, they take up competences that once belonged to a state. These competences have moved either upwards (to a supranational region) or downwards (to a subnational region). These new regional actors have developed and lead to new forms of governance with foreseeable consequences on global governance.

This research programme therefore has the following objectives:

  • critically evaluate the modes of governance that are currently observable in the existing regional arrangements around the world, and to offer comparative analyses of these distinct governance models;
  • to examine the driving forces and shaping factors that determine the regional governance arrangements, and to identify the new pressures that give rise to the emergence of multi-level systems of governance;
  • to develop an inter-disciplinary conceptual understanding and explanation of regional governance models, in order to deepen awareness and understanding of the political, economic and social relations inherent in regional cooperation; and
  • to consider normative questions related to governance, sovereignty, democratisation and policy-making under the framework of regional integration.

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