Global Governance | Readout and Recommendations

Multistakeholder Coalitions: Innovating or Complicating Global Governance?

August 2016


Coalitions of state, nonstate, and international actors are playing an increasingly central and contested role in global governance. In May 2016, the Stanley Center, in partnership with New America and the Stimson Center, hosted twin workshops in New York City and Washington, DC, entitled “Nonstate Actor Coalitions: Innovating or Complicating Global Governance.”

One of the main objectives of these workshops was for academics, policymakers, and advocates to explore the normative and practical challenges facing cooperative multistakeholder action. These challenges include:

  • Multistakeholder coalitions struggle to achieve and maintain legitimacy.
  • Coalitions lack reliable models for accountability, either within coalitions or to stakeholders outside them.
  • Multistakeholder coalitions often exclude de facto stakeholders.
  • Multistakeholder coalitions struggle to mobilize and maintain the political will and financial support necessary to achieve their goals.

Despite these challenges, multistakeholder coalitions have developed a diverse box of tools. Workshop participants articulated a number of good practices and lessons learned. This policy dialogue brief details their discussions and marks the beginning of a more strategic and systematic approach to maximizing the utility of cooperative multistakeholder action.