Develoment 56.3 'The future of global governance' is out now!

'We need to make democracy and social justice something real that people experience in their daily lives and not just abstract concepts that entertain intellectuals' (Peter Anyang' Nyong'o).

At the moment when world leaders and key thinkers are discussing about the post 2015 development goals, the question of political participation, social inclusion, and economic empowerment in all sectors of life and society, both in rich and poor countries are increasingly threatened by ineffective and inadequate institutions and policy making. This age is marked by the disconnect between governance and citizenship. A widespread phenomenon, in emerging as much as in mature economies and democracies. Furthermore, people's liberties and their civic agency are increasingly and too easily traded for the economy and the state to become more efficient and for development to be achieved, with the institutional system shaping more authoritative.

How can the existing power relations within society be challenged and re-structured? How can institutions become more participatory and accountable and reconnect to the people they represent? What is the starting point for a governance renewal and what would the renewed democratic institutions look like?

Development Vol. 56.3 'The Future of Global Governance' explores the issues of citizenship, governance and partnership seeking to describe the multifaceted and complex dynamics of global and local governance today. Without pretending to capture all its aspects neither the richness of current discussions, the articles in this Journal inspire a series of reflections.

Not only governments fail to see the needs of their people; other key players within society tend to be blind or compliant as long as their interests and privileges are protected. Despite the growth of protests and the many examples of citizens agency, political participation is generally reduced to the dimension of the electoral cycles. What are then our ambitions as citizens and civil society? How can the existing forms of agency be directed towards the redesign of democratic institutions?

The authors of this journal issue, coming from different contexts and experiences - former German President Horst Köhler on the European project, Peter Anyang' Nyong'o on the African betrayal of the ideals of the independence struggle, Roberto Savio on the Italian art of perpetuating institutional paralysis, Lyndsay Stecher on the post 2015 and the negotiation process - all agree that now more than ever a radical transformation is necessary in order to deal with the challenges of this age.  

Without a profound re-architecture of power relations, societies will not achieve more equity and inclusion. But to make this new architecture possible, a combination of imagination, courage, leadership and agency are required. Are they part of us?   

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Development is the flagship publication of the Society for International Development and has been continously published for 55 years. It enjoys a broad readership within the development community and is published by Palgrave Macmillan on behalf of SID.