The Challenges of International Collective Action in a Changed Environment

Past Event

NCAER invited Jean Pisani-Ferry, Senior Fellow, Bruegel, for a seminar on “The Challenges of International Collective Action in a Changed Environment” on January 8, 2019. Harsha Vardhana Singh, Chairman, IKDHVAJ Advisers, and former Deputy Director-General at WTO, was the discussant at the seminar, which was organised in partnership with GDN, the Global Development Network.

In his presentation, Pisani-Ferry pointed out that the world has become too sovereignty-conscious, too heterogeneous, too multipolar, too multi-agent, too deregulated and too technology-driven for the simple restoration of the late 20th-century order. In an increasingly interdependent world replete with policy externalities, however, global public goods cannot be left unattended. To name just a few of the major challenges that the world is facing, climate preservation, biodiversity, financial stability and Internet security will not emerge from the uncoordinated action of national governments. Nor will they be engineered by a benevolent hegemon. And they cannot be left to simply be the outcome of market interaction.

He asserted that the task ahead is to define principles and procedures for international collective action in a post-Trumpian world. While problems pertaining to international collective action are not all alike, in his presentation, he discussed a few precedents to draw on for this task, and whether global governance is, in fact, passé.

In his discussant’s comments following the presentation, Dr Singh highlighted the various scenarios in which multilateralism could operate, the possible incentives for bringing people together on a common platform without coercion, implementation of universal principles of fairness, and adoption of a model combining both soft and incremental approaches for achieving sustainable solutions to conflicts pertaining to trade and climate change agreements, among others.

The presentation and discussant’s comments were followed by an animated discussion among the participants on several issues, including ways of ensuring the efficient functioning of a multipolar international system, the impact of the financial crisis on global institutions, stability of governance and governing structures and the role of a hegemon in the framework of the existing world order, characteristics of G-20 mandated institutions, and the need for an agenda for retooling global collective action.

Jean Pisani-Ferry is the Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa Chair Professor at the European University Institute in Florence and a Senior Fellow at Bruegel, the Brussels-based economic think tank. He is also a Professor of Economics with Sciences Po (Paris) and the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin). Prior to that, he was the Director for Programme and Ideas of Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign. Earlier, he has also served as Commissioner-General of France Stratégie, the ideas lab of the French Government, Founding Director of Bruegel, Executive President of the French Prime Minister’s Council of Economic Analysis, Senior Economic Adviser to the French Minister of Finance, and Economic Adviser with the European Commission. He has also taught at Université Paris-Dauphine, École Polytechnique, École Centrale, and the Free University of Brussels. His recently published book, Economic Policy: Theory and Practice, has been co-authored, among others, with Pierre Jacquet, the GDN President.

Pisani-Ferry has an advanced degree in Economics from the Centre d’études des programmes économiques, Paris, and two Masters degrees: in Mathematics from the University of Paris, and in Engineering from CentraleSupélec, Rennes, France.

  • Event Date

    08 January 2019
  • Location

    NCAER Conference Room