Global Governance 2025: At a Critical Juncture

The United States’ National Intelligence Council (NIC) and the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) have joined forces to produce this assessment of the long-term prospects for global governance frameworks.


Inquiries regarding this report may be made to Mathew Burrows,Counselor to the National Intelligence Council, on (703) 482-0741 and to the EU Institute of Security Studies on 0033-1-56-89-19-51.

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Power is not only shifting from established powers to rising countries and, to some extent, the developing world, but also toward nonstate actors...

This exercise builds on the experience of the two institutions in identifying the key trends shaping the future international system. Since the mid 1990s, the NIC has produced four editions of its landmark Global Trends report. The most recent one, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, published in late 2008, noted that momentous change was ahead, with the gap between increasing disorder and weakening governance structures widening. The EUISS produced the first EU-level report on the factors affecting the evolution of the international system in 2006, The New Global Puzzle. What World for the EU in 2025? The report stressed that a multipolar system is emerging and that matching the new distribution of power with new rules and institutions will be critical to preserving international peace and stability.

The US and the EU do not always see eye to eye on every issue on the international agenda, but they share fundamental values and strategic interests to an extent not matched by any other partners in the world. Transatlantic agreement is no longer enough to effectively manage global challenges. Doing so will require renewed efforts to address governance gaps and strengthen multilateralism, in partnership with other pivotal centers of power and with the international community at large. This report provides an informal contribution to an important international debate on the way forward for global, regional, and bilateral institutions and frameworks to meet emerging challenges. It is not meant as an exhaustive report card evaluating the performance of individual institutions. While not being policy prescriptive, the report shares a strong belief—as exemplified by multilateralist approaches of the US and EU governments to resolving global problems such as the recent financial crisis—that global challenges will require global solutions.

The report does not seek to examine all the various challenges likely to require multilateralist efforts, but rather highlights several important governance gaps. We therefore do not go into depth on proliferation or cybersecurity—which we believe are receiving greater attention. Instead, we focus on such issues as intrastate conflict, resource management, migration, and biotechnology. Although recognized by many as ongoing challenges, we believe the long-term impact of these issues on the strength of the international order has not been fully appreciated.

Global Governance 2025 is the result of an inclusive process, enriched by wide-ranging consultations with government officials; as well as business, academic, NGO, and think tank leaders; and media representatives in Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, and in the Gulf region (the UAE). The diversity of the comments and insights, which we have included in the body of the text, testifies both to the richness of the debate and to the difficulty of reconciling different interests and standpoints when reforming global governance. A number of experts, acknowledged elsewhere, have contributed to the success of this project and to the high quality of this report. The Atlantic Council of the US and the Transatlantic Policy Network have been partners in supporting the project. NIC Counselor Mathew Burrows and Giovanni Grevi from the EUISS have steered this process and took charge of drafting the bulk of the report. Their work has set an excellent example of cooperation in delivering joint analysis and achieving a largely shared perspective.

The Global Governance 2025 project is innovative in many respects. This is the first time the NIC has jointly developed and produced an unclassified report with a non-US body. Global Governance 2025 provides an important step with a view to future joint projects on matters of common interest.

Download the full report from the Central Intelligence Agency Electronic Reading Room