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CFR’s Global Governance Report Card: A Mismatch Between Demand and Supply

by Edward Alden
April 23, 2013

Chinese students pose for the photo with a globe during a campaign to mark World Earth Day (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters). Chinese students pose for the photo with a globe during a campaign to mark World Earth Day (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters).

This week the Council on Foreign Relations released its first Global Governance Report Card. Using input from fifty leading experts, the report card grades the response of the international community and the United States to six big challenges requiring multilateral cooperation: global warming, nuclear proliferation, violent conflict, global health, transnational terrorism, and financial instability.

The big takeaways, as my colleague Stewart Patrick writes, are two: “first, the gap between the demand for and supply of effective multilateral cooperation is a yawning one. Second, the United States remains an inconsistent global leader.”

The grades vary widely across categories. Efforts to combat global warming, for instance, get a “D” across the board, and U.S. leadership comes in at a “C-.” There are a few interesting bright spots worth noting. The international community as a whole received a “B” grade in global finance, and the United States a “B+” for leadership efforts, which helped to tow the international economy out of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Multilateral efforts also received a “B” in addressing transnational terrorism, with the United States received a “B+” for demonstrating strong overall leadership, and the only grade of “excellent” in the report card was received for the strong and consistent efforts to prevent terrorist financing.

More interesting than the grades are the detailed analyses that accompanies each entry. The report card offers a window on each of these issues that can be as concise or expansive as the reader wishes. Anyone interested in these big global challengess – and we all should be – will find their time well spent dipping in and out of the many different entries.

By standardizing evaluations of multilateral cooperation, the report card represents an effort to push the debate forward on how we tackle these issues, and it does this through a particularly navigable and compelling design. I strongly encourage you to take a look.

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