The London Dialogue involved up to 23 participants in discussions about the role of global governance and regulation in the protection and promotion of human wellbeing in the twenty-first century. It ranged across a broad spectrum of governance and regulation issues. The discussion proceeded on the understanding that global governance and regulation is important for all our efforts to live well as individuals but that they are more significant still because they are vital to our efforts to live well together in an increasingly globalised world. The discussion started by recognising that the ecosystem of global governance and regulation was becoming ever more complex, involving a diverse range of new players, new organisations and new values. It was felt that developing a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of this new ecosystem would be an important first step in developing more effective governance and regulation.
The discussion of the problems of current global governance and regulations systems and institutions identified a lack of trust in governance institutions as critical at this time. This was related to what was perceived as weaknesses of transparency and accountability for some parts of the global governance regime. Large philanthropic organisations were not seen as being exempt from these issues of distrust, transparency and accountability. The problems of the short -term-ism of national governments (political cycles) and their focus on national priorities in global governance were discussed. The exclusion of women, girls and youth were highlighted as a particular problem of governance systems.
The discussion identified a wide range of innovation and trusted institutions of governance and regulation. A number of these involved the innovative use of new information and communication technologies to improve voice and accountability. Further initiatives demonstrated other ways in which trust can be built. These innovations appeared to provide a good foundation on which philanthropic organisations might build to contribute to rebuilding trust in global governance and regulation institutions. The discussions explored the idea that global governance problems might be better dealt with by breaking the problems and challenges into smaller, bite-sized chunks. It echoed the more profound view that there may be fundamental problems with the ideas and values on which current approaches to governance and regulation are founded.
The discussion concluded with a suggestion that philanthropic organisations might further explore what was perceived to be their unique position as intermediaries between business, government and civil society in order to explore what their comparative advantage might be in strengthening global governance and regulation in ways that better protect and promote human wellbeing in the face of growing threats and uncertainty