From Global Governance to Global Government: Fixing the United Nations

Published date01 January 2015
Date01 January 2015
AuthorFrancesco Frova
174 Public Administration Review • January | February 2015
Francesco Frova is chief research off‌i cer
at 2gno¯ ME (to know me), a 360-degree
feedback platform; graduate student in the
Graduate Center, City University of New
York; and temporary worker at the United
Nations. His current research interests
include international organizations, per-
sonal assessments, and leadership.
perspective, that is, the relationships between the UN
and individual states. He then looks at the relation-
ships between groups of states within the UN and
continues one level down to focus on the clashes
between the agencies and various components of the
UN. Finally, he looks at the micro level of UN per-
sonnel, its of‌f‌i cers, and civil servants.
roughout the book, Weiss picks examples from
three of the most important f‌i elds of action of the
UN, namely, international peace and security, human
rights, and sustainable development. His aim is to
illustrate the UN’s shortcomings and to of‌f er partial
solutions.  e level of insight that he of‌f ers through-
out the book is a clear ref‌l ection of Weiss’s 10 years of
f‌i eld and of‌f‌i ce service in the UN and his engagement
in a few UN academic research branches over the last
decade. Indeed, Weiss was codirector of the United
Nations Intellectual History Project (2009–10),
chair of the Academic Council on the UN System
(2006–09), and research director of the international
Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty
Weiss’s opening quote, Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Serenity
Prayer,” hints at a theme that is recurrent through-
out the book: no change to the UN can happen
omas G. Weiss, What’s Wrong with the United
Nations and How to Fix It (Malden, MA: Polity
Press, 2012). 288 pp. $22.95 (paper), ISBN:
The United Nations (UN) is arguably the most
important organization in the landscape of
international relations and global governance.
e purpose of  omas G. Weiss’s What’s Wrong with
the United Nations and How to Fix It is to spell out
a diagnosis of the fundamental shortcomings of this
institution, as well as to use its history to illustrate
with specif‌i c examples that substantial change for the
better is possible.  e assumption is that in its past
lies the answers to some of its most hoary problems.
In doing this diagnosis, the book actually addresses
the bigger question of how international relations are
structured and how interactions between states should
be organized so as to tackle current global issues, such
as conf‌l icts, human rights protection, and environ-
mentally sustainable development. In the concluding
chapter, Weiss contextualizes this book within the
broader public administration debate on global gover-
nance (see also Weiss and  akur 2010).
Weiss considers four levels of analysis in doing his
diagnosis. He starts from the most macroscopic
From Global Governance to Global Government: Fixing
the United Nations
Sonia M. Ospina and Rogan Kersh, Editors
Francesco Frova
2gno¯ ME
City University of New York
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 75, Iss. 1, pp. 174–178. © 2014 by
The American Society for Public Administration.
DOI: 10.1111/puar.12322.

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