The Perspective of Global Governance for Achieving the SDGsFrom the viewpoint of sociology of domination.

13 September 2023

By Sotaro Kusumoto and Osamu Kusumoto
TOKYO, Japan, Sep 12 2023 (IPS)


SDGs and global governance

Sustainable development is the challenge of how to build a society in which humanity can live with dignity in this global environment. The SDGs set 17 goals and 169 targets to achieve sustainable development. Goals 16 and 17 are aimed precisely at building global governance through the formation of global rules. Goal 16 lists 10 specific targets, while Goal 17 lists 19 targets.

Sotaro Kusumoto

When a society functions with common values, it can be governed by non-verbal rules such as norms, but when the planet Earth, which is made up of diverse values, is regarded as a single society, it becomes necessary to govern it in the form of rules of law by explicit laws as common rules for the management of society. This is the condition for global governance by so-called global rules. However, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, there is little research on the nature of these global rules and how they should be constructed.

In order to answer this question, it is necessary to analyse the relationship between the legitimacy that defines the rules of governance in each country and the governance structure in the first place, and based on this analysis, identify issues and make proposals that can overcome these issues.

Laws of respective country and legitimacy

In modern societies, national laws are legislated under national constitutions. For example, the pros and cons of the death penalty are debated, but the essential reason why this is controversial is whether the fundamental question of on what grounds a person can deny the life of another person, even if he or she uses the institution of law, exists there. This question becomes clearer in the case of democracy. The epistemological question becomes whether the people, as sovereigns who constitute the sovereignty of the state, can take the lives of sovereigns on the basis of law, even if the law is legislated by parliamentarians elected through the system of elections.

In fact, the institution of the state is the only institution that can legally kill. International law recognises war as the final solution measures to international disputes. It is also regarded as a means of settling disputes over the sovereignty of states, recognised by international law, in the absence of any superior power.

Osamu Kusumoto

What is clear here is that the sovereignty of a state goes beyond the usual logical arguments and forms a value for the people, and the law of each country is founded on the fact that this value is not in question.

And the legitimacy of this rule is, surprisingly, provided for in the preamble of each country’s constitution. Even if there is no such statement in the preamble of the constitution, it is stipulated in the more fundamental texts of the fundamental law of each country, in the case of the UK in the Magna Carta, in the case of the US in the Declaration of Independence, and in the case of France in the Declaration of Human Rights.

The international order to date has made the values of the hegemonic powers, such as Pax Romana and Pax Britannica, the de facto rule. However, in an international community where diverse cultures and values exist, it is not possible to conduct global governance with the values of any one country as the global rules.

Possibility of global rules

Even though it is a difficult question how to set values, the legal conditions under which global rules can be established are relatively clear. Fairness, rationality, transparency, stability and predictability are required. A rule of law is established when people understand that the rule has validity.

The question is how to construct transcendental values that correspond to the sovereignty of people’s belief systems as values in the law of each country. The sociology of religion and the sociology of domination shows that the legitimacy of the transcendent rule of law, which forms the basis of the values of each country, is formed from the fact that the survival of the group is possible.

When we consider that humanity is an inhabitant of this fragile planet and that the idea of humanity as a community is at the root of the SDGs, and that our lives and the lives of others have equal value as the very basis of human rights, the legitimacy of global societal domination in the era of the SDGs must be based on sustainability, this means that the legitimacy of global society’s domination in the era of the SDGs must lie in sustainability.

Despite criticisms of idealism, the only logical solution to global governance is to create the conditions for its realisation.

Sotaro Kusumoto, Staff, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan
Osamu Kusumoto, Secretary General, Forum on Future Vison

IPS UN Bureau