The Rise of the Global South

Implications for the Provisioning of Global Public Goods

2013 Occasional Paper
By Kaul, Inge

More and more policy challenges are of a global, border-transgressing nature. Examples would be the mitigation of global climate change, communicable disease control, international financial stability, the fight against terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation. Economists categorize these challenges as global public goods – things or conditions that potentially affect many, if not all, countries, the provision of which is neglected by market actors, and which no country, however powerful, can effectively address alone, through unilateral action. Rather, they require a global policy response based on effective international cooperation.

Many of these challenges are of an increasingly urgent nature, compelling us to fundamentally rethink and reorient current growth and development strategies. Just think of the ‚closing door‘ opportunity of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius in order to stabilize the climate; the “end of oil”, and hence, the need to develop – within the next couple of decades – new alternative energy sources to achieve energy security. Or, consider the specter of land and water scarcity; ever-fiercer competition for market shares, investment and job opportunities; growing global inequity; and the still persisting problems of nuclear proliferation, world hunger and poverty.