Four levels of governing

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Parallel to the paradigm offered by McGrew, a whole array of other attempts to provide a systemic understanding of the various forms of global governance have appeared. J. A. Scholte, for example, notes that since the end of World War Two, the global order has evolved into a several-layered system of global management that has no central authority. One of the ways to describe the system is that four different levels of governance exist: the non-national (global and regional institutions), national, transnational, and sub-national.

The non-national level

This may include the growing array of inter-governmental organisations, functioning either in their own jurisdictions, which they may from time to time apply even toward national states and their people, or as regional associations. The World Trade Organisation and the European Union, among others, fall into this category.

The national level of governance

This level is clear, as it is increasingly clear that national states – be it voluntarily or under pressure – transfer many of their functions onto the other described levels.

The transnational level

is formed primarily by the growing global civil society, which ignores national borders to an ever greater extent. Various groups, movements and initiatives co-operate ever more with inter-governmental organisations as well as networks of governmental agencies from individual national states. Their gradual integration in the global network is also enabled by technological advances in communications. A number of globally operated networks has come into existence de facto solely in the virtual space, yet they are capable of mobilisation and co-ordinating their actions by means of the modern technologies.

The ‘sub-national’ level

is represented by institutions that are established increasingly often within the process of decentralising the state authority as the national states realise that they are too large to solve certain problems. Municipalities and regional governments as well as corresponding organisations rooted in local civil societies are also ever more involved in global networks, thus practically circumventing central governments.

Another attempt at a more systemic and categorised view was developed by Cary Coglianese (in a book edited by Joseph S. Nye and John D. Donahue). He offers a summary table of the different forms of solutions to global problems.