SNS Democracy Council 2023: Do international organizations have what it takes to address the global problems of our time?

Four prominent researchers study the ability of intergovernmental organizations in terms of addressing serious global problems. The organizations studied include the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization and the European Union. The conclusions of this study will be presented in the SNS Democracy Council Report 2023.

Climate change, armed conflicts, refugee flows, epidemics, financial crises – there is a long list of transboundary challenges. These often call for collaboration in various forms of intergovernmental organizations.

The post-war world order – with its focus on democracy, free trade, international law and human rights – is now being challenged not only by populist movements but also by new great powers such as Russia and China. This also affects organizations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Health Organization in terms of their powers as well as to what extent the global public trusts them.

The SNS Democracy Council Report 2023 examines what this means when it comes to addressing global challenges. Headed by Jonas Tallberg, professor of political science at Stockholm University, the researchers examine the power, effectiveness and legitimacy of international institutions. The report also highlights the conditions for global collaboration related to the climate crisis.

“At the end of the day, international institutions are uniquely suited when it comes to addressing global problems. But what do their abilities to act actually look like? This is something I will now study together with colleagues from Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden,” says Jonas Tallberg, chairman of the SNS Democracy Council 2023.

The report contains concrete recommendations aimed at both national decision-makers as well as international institutions and non-state actors in civil society and the business sector.

“Intergovernmental organizations play a crucial role in addressing the crucial global issues of our times. I am very pleased that four researchers of this caliber are taking on this topic on behalf of SNS,” says Mia Horn of Rantzien, CEO of SNS.

about the authors

Jonas Tallberg is a professor of political science at Stockholm University and a research fellow at the Social Science Research Center in Berlin, Germany.

Karin Bäckstrand is a professor of environmental social science at Stockholm University. She is also an associate senior researcher at the Center for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, Canberra University, Australia.

Jan Aart Scholte is a professor of global transformations and governance challenges at Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Thomas Sommerer is a professor of international organizations at the University of Potsdam, Germany.

about the sns democracy council

Since 1995, independent researchers have presented reports on the workings and principles of democracy. The aim is to stimulate a factual debate on the conditions and development of democracy.