Global Governance | Discussion Takeaways

Understanding the Future Actors in Transnational Governance

November 2015


The number and variety of transnational actors involved in global governance has increased dramatically in recent years. To examine the challenges of global governance facing this phenomenon, a roundtable workshop of experts and policymakers was convened at the Airlie Center outside Washington, DC, as part of the Stanley Center’s 56th annual Strategy for Peace Conference held October 14-16, 2015.

The following policy memo explains the main ideas that surfaced from this roundtable about the global context of transnational governance, provides recommendations for how different actors should approach transnational governance, and looks toward the future of transnational governance in emerging policy issues and the extremes of difficult policy environments.

Experts and policymakers addressed several fundamental questions about how nonstate actors and global governance institutions should interact. Key conclusions include:

  • Nonstate actors can work with global governance processes in a variety of ways: formal and informal, top down and bottom up, oppositional, and collaborative.
  • The various types of actors in transnational governance can play many different roles and are not monolithic.
  • In formulating multistakeholder processes around a policy issue, nonstate actors, states, and international organizations should engage each other to achieve the greatest amount of legitimacy.

Increasing awareness of how nonstate actors can contribute to policy issues and how they should be engaged by states and international organizations can make a significant difference in supporting global public goods.