Global governance requires local influence

Global challenges such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic or international migration call for effective global governance. The Centre of Expertise for Global Governance aims to use practical research to strengthen the involvement and influence of citizens and professionals in international institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union. “Tackling global issues requires involvement at the local level”.

“Global problems can only be solved through global governance. But with increasingly complex and formal procedures, laws and regulations, many citizens and professionals find themselves at a distance from global institutions. That hinders the implementation of policies”, said Leading Professor Barbara Warwas.

Far away

“The image that many people have of Global Governance is that of institutions housed in large buildings inhabited by world leaders, diplomats and lobbyists. Places where big decisions are made, far away from them. That image of grey men in suits is persistent and perhaps true to some extent. And yet, there are many hidden actors who are also part of global governance,” says Programme Coordinator Remmelt de Weerd.

A big issue

Large institutions can come up with all kinds of ideas, but they cannot bring about change unless citizens, businesses and local authorities can implement their decisions or even support them at all. “Think of the Paris Agreement on climate change”, Remmelt continues. “This Agreement was supported by most of the UN Member States and their Heads of Government. However, those Heads of Government and their diplomats are not the ones who ultimately implement the Agreement. That is up to businesses, citizens and governments at local and regional level. This makes them important players in global governance”.

The cow in the field

Increasingly complex decision-making processes are also increasing the distance to local realities. Due to advancing globalisation, in addition to national power, administrative power emerges at other levels and among other parties. Barbara: “Think of the regulations surrounding food safety. The cow in the field is subject to many levels of regulation: international standards as well as United Nations, European, national and local regulations”. This leads to confusion, scepticism and a decline in confidence in global governance.

Too small a voice

At local level, people often feel that they have no say in global governance. Remmelt: “When it comes to global governance, people do not know they can have a real influence and think that their voice is too small. But that is not necessarily the case”. This year, a group of THUAS students from the United Nations Studies in Peace & Justice research group took part in the UN75 Dialogues project to strengthen young people’s involvement in the UN. The method developed to bring young people into direct contact with the UN can be used again in the future.


The Centre of Expertise conducts research and works on projects to increase involvement in and access to global governance for new and under-represented groups. Its mission is to provide local governments and the business community with knowledge and skills to get a better grip on global policies. For example, the Centre of Expertise develops training courses for professionals with the intention of including the knowledge acquired in the curriculum of programmes such as Public Administration, International and European Law and European Studies.

Getting started

The Centre of Expertise will also carry out practice-oriented research within municipalities in order to provide civil servants with tools to respond effectively to Europeanisation. Within the Community of Practice on Applied Global Governance, various topics are discussed between researchers and professionals. In 2021, the Academy for Global Governance in Practice will be inaugurated. Professionals working in the field of Global Governance will share their challenges with students, who will then start working on a solution.

3 research groups

The Centre of Expertise houses three research groups: The Changing role of Europe (CREU), UN studies in Peace and Justice (UNPJ) and Multilevel Regulation (MLR). The research groups have their own theme as well as their own expertise: political-administrative, historical and legal. In research and education, this broad perspective should contribute to strengthening confidence in and the functioning of effective global governance.