How do informal international organisations govern? The case of G20 orchestration

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Scholars of international organisations (IO) have recently begun to shift from an exclusive focus on formal IOs to consider the range of informal IOs that populate the international environment. Despite the fact that some of these organisations, such as the Group of Twenty (G20), are now at the centre of global governance debates across multiple policy domains we know very little about how they govern.

Informal IOs that have limited institutionalisation are likely to employ indirect forms of governance, such as orchestration, that rely on other IOs to carry out governance activities. Yet we do not have answers to critical questions including, to what extent informal IOs rely on indirect forms of governance? On what basis do they select IOs as intermediaries? And why do IOs choose to participate as intermediaries in such indirect governance relationships?

Drawing on an original database of G20 orchestration combined with interviews with IO officials, the data highlight the frequency of G20 orchestration, the importance of IO capabilities and indirect control over IOs in intermediary selection, and how IO efforts to solicit G20 orchestration can shape the dynamics of orchestration.

About the Speaker

Christian Downie is a political scientist and policy advisor with expertise in energy politics, climate politics, and foreign affairs.

An Associate Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University, he holds an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship and was previously a Vice Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of New South Wales. Christian has worked as an advisor to several Australian Government agencies, including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Christian holds a PhD in international relations and political science from the Australian National University, having graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours in economics.

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Image credit: G20 Facebook cover photo, uploaded 1 December 2020 (CC BY 3.0)