about this project

‘The Possibility of Global Governance’ is a research and ‘philosophical activism’ project that develops on three interrelated and cross-fertilising tracks:

(1) A research track about the global ethics of sustainable development governance, starting from a specific characterisation of the complexity of our complex social problems, with the aim to formulate a specific ethics of care for our modern co-existence. The research develops along the following three consecutive lines of reasoning.

1 – Fair and effective governance of our complex social problems requires a fair dealing with their complexity.

2 – Our traditional governing methods of representative democracy, science, the market and education are no longer able to ‘grasp’ the complexity of the complex social problems we face.

3 – Fair and effective global governance requires advanced approaches to democratic decision making, policy supportive research and education that would have the capacity to enable and enforce the attitudes of reflexivity and intellectual solidarity as a way to fairly deal with the complexity of our complex social problems and to generate societal trust based on their methods instead of on promised outcomes.

See The Possibility of Global Governance – introduction and summary

(2) A process of engagement in civil society activities on issues relevant to my work on the human rights principle presented in (1). I rely on experiences with working as researcher-observer in the climate change negotiation process around the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (since Kyoto 1997) and in the United Nations processes on sustainable development (since 2001). I ‘test’ my ideas with those of other civil society representatives and collaborate in civil society work on human rights. As a major example: in (the preparations of) the Rio+20 conference, I served as the draft author and moderator of the ‘human rights for sustainability’ treaty as part of the People’s Sustainability Treaties initiative, an initiative driven by an international network of NGO’s. In that context, I also participate in work on the topics of equity and ecological democracy (see http://sustainabilitytreaties.org/draft-treaties/rights-for-sustainability/).

See the page on the work with civil society.

(3) An academic research project in the form of a PhD in moral philosophy with the Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of the University of Ghent. In that research, I work on a set of academic papers that  focus on specific ‘hinge points’ in the rationale about the human rights principle presented in (1). I share with the other researchers of the Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry an interest in researching a secular-pragmatic but critical ‘ethics of method’ to deal with the ‘complexity of our world’. I think academia have a very important contribution to make but I am also convinced that they should not do this only by talking among themselves and by writing high-brow academic papers from out of their comfortable office or library.

See the page on the academic research.


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