The management of world affairs has intensified and at the same time become more complex.
Intensified, because with the advent of globalisation, almost everything is now the concerne of everybody. Just think for a moment about the questions of climate, commerce, humanitarian problems, security, health, sport, sustainable development or even religions.
More complex, because the number of players involved in discussions or negociations has grown exponentially over recent decades. NGOs, the media, think tanks, lobbyists, companies, the unions and more generally civil society now all challenge the monopoly of national governments in the managment of world affairs. From the on, we find ourselves confronted with a paradox without prededent : a weakening role for nation-states and a significant growth in the influence of civil society on international relations. Something we have never seen before ! And yet as it develops, this new approach of « soft governance » offers a partial solution to the paradox, in that it gives everyone the opportunity to sit down at the same table and negotiate.
By encouraging processes that deliberately seek consensus, « soft governance » is progressively establishing itself as a real alternative to the coercive methods too often used in the past.
Understanding these new practices is thus vital to those, whether active participants or not, who take an interest in possible future scenarios for our world.
Booklet n°1 « Soft « governance by Xavier Comtesse