Work programme for 2015 – 2020

© Stockfoto/lightwise

The end of history has not yet arrived. On the contrary, the world is changing ever more rapidly. Transnational problems are increasing, and many of the potential solutions and cooperative structures which looked promising only a few years ago are failing to produce results. Changed power relations are bringing new actors with different interests into play. This has a direct impact on the normative bases of global governance. The rules established by the Western powers are being rejected or at least challenged, but no consensus on new rules has emerged. The content, scope and universality of human rights are as controversial as the concept of national sovereignty, and even the – hitherto widely accepted – norms of international law are coming under pressure.

In parallel, the forums in which such questions were traditionally discussed, and which in most cases reflect the former dominance of Western actors, are being called into question. In their stead, a multitude of new and often informal forums, coalitions and groupings has formed. As a result, there is very little agreement among the world’s countries about the topics that should be addressed and the objectives that should be achieved, or indeed about the arenas in which these discussions should take place.

What’s more, non-state actors are steadily gaining in importance in many fields of relevance to global public goods. The logical imperatives guiding these players’ actions and cooperation are highly diverse, further increasing the complexity of, and creating fundamental challenges for, global governance.
Through its work, the Foundation explores and addresses these crises and challenges. The Foundation also stands for visionary thinking, prompting it to analyse the extent to which current global political changes offer new opportunities and how they can be utilised.

The African continent has been a regional focus of the Foundation’s interest for many years, and this will continue in future. A stated aim of the Potsdam Spring Dialogues is to follow African regional initiatives, and the Foundation therefore attaches great importance to dialogue with African experts in its other projects and programmes as well, wherever this is compatible with its thematic agenda.

The Foundation’s work focuses on three programme areas. The first deals primarily with the normative issues outlined above, while the other two have a thematic focus:

  1. Normative Challenges in Global Governance
  2. Universal Development Goals – Regional and Local Implementation
  3. International Responsibility in Crises and Conflicts



The Development and Peace Foundation (sef:) and the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) are launching a new publications series: GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS. The new series aims to identify options for international policy action in an ever more complex world. Furthermore, it presents perspectives from different world regions. The series analyses current developments and challenges against the background of long-term political trends, and it illustrates facts with figures and tables. GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS is issued by a team of co-editors from different world regions. For more information, see our press release.

:further info here

Cooperation in a Post-Western World


The Western liberal order finds itself in deep crisis. Global power shifts are accelerating. What does this mean for the future of global cooperation? How can the wish for more national autonomy be reconciled with the need to cooperate in a globalised world? Can new forms of governance contribute to sustaining global cooperation? Michèle Roth and Cornelia Ulbert discuss these questions in the first issue of the new publication series GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS.

:further info here

How to overcome the impasse in UN Security Council reform


The urgently needed UN Security Council reform has been stuck for decades. Without a far-reaching structural change that includes the end of permanent seats and the veto, the Council is fading into irrelevance. But at a time of great power transitions, multipolarity without sufficient multilateralism is a dangerous trend. Therefore, in GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS 02|2018, Jakkie Cilliers calls for a political and intellectual leap to overcome the impasse in UN Security Council reform.

:further info here

Global Food Governance


After the food riots around the world in 2007/2008, the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was reformed. Since then, the CFS has developed into an innovative global policy forum that could be a role model for other Global Governance institutions. In the current evaluation process, however, the CFS also faces a number of challenges. What are the main characteristics of the CFS? How can it prove successful in a changing political environment? Nora McKeon answers these questions in the Global Governance Spotlight 2|2018 and exhorts member governments to value and reinforce this unique policy forum.

:further info here