Global Rule of Law II

E-Seminar on Global Rule of Law II

The Evolution of Sovereignty

A transdisciplinary discussion of issues related to Global Governance

May 20, 2013 at 16:00 GMT [0800 PDT, 1100 EDT, 1700 CET, 2030 IST]

Concept | Paper | Report | Videos | Background Papers


In Spring 2012 WAAS conducted the first in a series of e-seminars on Global Rule of Law to mark the launching of a new World Academy program. Several papers contributed to the seminar have been subsequently published in WAAS Journals. Those pertaining to the issue of nuclear threats and security were discussed at the Academy's conference in Dubrovnik held in collaboration with the European Leadership Network last September. Other aspects of this important subject will be explored at a conference organized by the Club of Rome in Ottawa this coming September.

We are now pleased to issue a call for speakers for the second in the e-seminar series on Global Rule of Law to be conducted on May 20, 2013. The seminar seeks to address legal issues from a transdisciplinary perspective encompassing insights from the social sciences, philosophy and the humanities.

The concept of Sovereignty occupies a central position in global governance. Although it has often been claimed that national sovereignty is absolute, offsetting claims and mitigating factors have long been recognized, as indicated by the reference to "we the people" in the UN Charter. The emergence of a wide range of non-state and non-sovereign actors, the recognition of universal human rights, the growing awareness of shared threats and responsibilities for managing the global commons, the rapid expansion of global civil society, and the growing power of a borderless, global communications network raise fundamental questions regarding the meaning and adequacy of sovereignty as a basis for global rule of law.

This e-seminar will focus on the role of sovereignty in global governance, including the following important questions:

  1. What is the role of sovereignty in governance?
  2. What precisely is the relevance of the rule of law in seeking to limit unlimited sovereign competence?
  3. What is the role of authority in the exercise of sovereign competence or any form of governing competence at any level?
  4. Is the concept of sovereignty evolving? If so, what are the implications of these changes for the future of global governance?
  5. Does the UN Charter and practices under it empower the people of the earth/space community and restrain the monopolistic power of national sovereignty?
  6. Sovereignty implies unlimited competence. How does the problem of rational limits impact on the exercise of sovereignty by governing powers?
  7. Is it valid to speak of a global constitutional process? and if so, what needs to be done to  strengthen its authority foundation and its practical efficacy in securing the basic values of a humane global public order?
  8. What is the relationship of sovereignty to the processes of effective power at all levels of governance?
  9. How does the emergence of non-state actors challenge the exercise of authority in global decision making?
  10. How is the emergence of global civil society shifting authority rooted in the state to authority rooted and exercised in organizational activity that parallels the state?

Background Papers

  1. Sovereignty in Theory & Practice by Winston Nagan
  2. The Changing Character of Sovereignty in International Law and International Relations by Winston Nagan and Craig Hammer


Presentations by Winston Nagan & Garry Jacobs