Office worker holding cog wheel as unity and teamwork in corporate workplace concept

Can (and should) inter-governmental collaboration be improved?

Dec 12, 2023

There can no longer be any doubt that we live in a global village.

There are more goods, services, people, money and information moving across government borders than at any time in human history. No government alone has the power to regulate all of this activity, or the consequences of this activity, and much of it is therefore under-regulated, differently regulated, or not regulated at all. With 195 nations and countless sub-national governments, this is neither effective nor efficient.

In the global village, the actions of individuals, corporations and governments are felt far beyond individual government jurisdictions. In fact, the collective disruptive power of humanity is such that many scientists are calling this epoch the Anthropocene or the “Age of Humans.”

Collective human activity has caused climate change and other earth system disruptions, war and conflict among nations and peoples, the extinction of species at an alarming rate, inequitable access to basic necessities and human rights, and the propagation of hate and discrimination. No government acting alone can address the collective negative consequences of human activity.

While there are some examples of successful international collaboration and cooperation, such as the aviation and banking industries, most of the human activity that transcends borders is not as effectively and efficiently regulated as it can and should be! The United Nations and other international organizations are unable to solve many of the global challenges because their member nations put their own interests first. In the global village that has exploded in this century, this is the nationhood paradox. By putting the health and welfare of their own citizens first, nations jeopardize the health and welfare of all global citizens, including their own, and of the planet upon which all global citizens rely.

Consider the example of climate change, one of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. The global community, via the United Nations, is attempting to resolve it by convening regular Conference of Parties (COP) meetings to come to agreements on what actions all governments can take collectively to address the issue. Today, more than 20 years after the Rio Earth summit, global greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing, and governments have not yet even pledged sufficient reductions, let alone carried them out, to achieve the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.

Polar Bear and global warming

The United Nations model cannot, inherently, overcome the nationhood paradox. A much more collaborative approach is required among governments and people to address the reality that we live in a global village. Without some more successful form of collaboration, the problems caused by the collective activity of humanity cannot effectively and efficiently be solved.

This may seem daunting when you think about all of the different types of government around the world, including democracy, autocracy, theocracy, monarchy, and communism. Not to mention the deep divisions in opinion and ideology that are often present within and among nations. Changing the structure of governments and the ways that decision-makers come to power would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, and getting nations to agree to an effective international governance structure is not a realistic goal at this point in human history.

However, all governments, regardless of size, type, or level, have a policy-making process to inform the policy decision-makers. In many cases, it is an administrative process that can be changed relatively easily, without structural changes to the government. Such governments then can adopt a common, shared process for policy-making with other such governments, which would result in common policy recommendations for their respective policy-makers.

Civonus Inc. is providing a policy-making process, delivered via a web application, that multiple governments can use to arrive at a common set of evidence and advice for consideration by their respective policy-makers.

Civonus is also designed to provide more open, transparent, sustainable, inclusive, equitable, and evidence-informed policy making. To address the challenge of conflicts in opinion and ideology, a mass consensus-building approach is employed to encourage the participants in the process to consider other perspectives and strive for decisions that all can accept.

With the Civonus policy-making process, the structure of the government, or the way that policy-makers came to power, is not important. What is important is that they adopt a common, standardized approach to policy-making and that they collaborate on decisions across jurisdictional boundaries on common issues.

It is through a new model of policy-making that better public policy, and effective collaboration among governments for common issues, will truly be achieved.

Robert Hughes, President and CEO, Civonus Inc.

Civonus Inc. offers an online policy-making process to facilitate better public policy-making; and to enable governments and public institutions to collaborate with other governments and public institutions on policy-making for issues they have in common. It does so through the deep and meaningful engagement of citizens, government officials, subject matter experts and other stakeholders, in a process that is designed to produce more transparent, consensual, sustainable, inclusive, equitable, evidence-informed policy-making.

To find out more, visit civonus.ca.