Rethinking Stakeholder Participation in International Governance

To what extent do institutional reforms and participation mechanism increase the external stakeholder input in formal and informal governance arrangements?


To address today’s highly complex and rapidly evolving cross-border problems, countries and other stakeholders are increasingly resorting to case-by-case networks, expert- driven bodies or club-like arrangements. Given the rigidity of formal treaties and formal international organisations (IOs) such new forms of governance can more efficiently respond to volatility and more easily adapt and innovate. However, one side effect of such rapid-response arrangements is that they may not sufficiently take account of external stakeholders who are outside of the arrangement but nonetheless impacted by it.

This project will, in a hands-on, practical way, identify and carefully map the different responses to legitimacy challenges raised by external stakeholders in a series of selected formal and informal governance arrangements, focusing on health and finance. The project seeks to establish and explain the variation in institutional reforms, including the lack of reforms in some cases. It aims to understand the effectiveness of institutional reforms in terms of actually increasing external stakeholder input and the perceived legitimacy of the global body’s governance among those external stakeholders. Finally, the research will assess the effect of introducing these participation mechanisms on the process and the efficiency of rule-making and, on that basis, propose a set of best practices and practical guidelines.


  • Accountability
  • Stakeholders
  • Public participation
  • International organisations
  • Global governance
  • International law
  • Soft law
  • Norms
  • Regulation
  • Private governance


  • Diplomacy
  • Health / Medicine
  • International relations
  • Law
  • Political science


International Organisations:

  • World Health Organisation
  • International Organisation for Standardisation

Non Governmental Organisations:

  • Transparency International
  • One World Trust

States & Public Collectivities:

  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)
  • Cosmetics and Medical Devices Unit (DG Health)
  • European Medicines Agency
  • International Conference on Harmonisation of Tech

Relevant Countries

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • China
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • United States of America
  • Vietnam



This project, started in 2014, has been completed.

Contact the project team

10 + 15 =

Research team

Joost Pauwelyn
Graduate Institute Geneva

Tim Büthe
Duke University

Theresa Carpenter
Graduate Institute Geneva

Martino Maggetti
Université de Lausanne

Ayelet Berman
Principal Member
Graduate Institute Geneva

Gregory Schober
Principal Member
Duke University

Gian Luca Burci
Associated Member
Graduate Institute Geneva

André de Mello e Souza
Associated Member
Institute of Applied Economic Research

Biswajit Dhar
Associated Member
Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University

Manfred Elsig
Associated Member
University of Berne


George Galindo
Associated Member
Centre Universitàrio de Brasilia

David Gartner
Associated Member
Arizona State University

Daniele Gerundino
Associated Member
International Organisation for Standardisation

Ilona Kickbusch
Associated Member
Graduate Institute Geneva

Ugo Panizza
Associated Member
Graduate Institute Geneva

Facundo Perez Aznar
Associated Member
Graduate Institute Geneva

Roxana Radu
Associated Member
Graduate Institute Geneva

Jack Sheldon
Associated Member
International Electrotechnical Commission

Bernhard Zangl
Associated Member
Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München