This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

Policy and Institutional Frameworks

International Commissions and Power of Ideas

How are good ideas for enhancing global governance converted into policy initiatives and international institutions? One major route has been via international commissions, the names of which are very well known such as Brandt, Palme, Brundtland, Kosovo, the Commission on Global Governance, and the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.

Yet, as an expression of the power of ideas, in the search for a better world, they remain under-analyzed. This study assesses how international commissions have shaped the discussion, advisory and decision-making on global issues, such as global economic order, poverty, international security, environmental degradation, and military intervention for humanitarian purposes.

Eight Commissions are examined as part of the project, indicating not only their advantages, but also their pitfalls and shortcomings, particularly when it comes to channelling ideas into action and gaining necessary political will of states. In the resulting book, commissions receive detailed analysis on an individual basis, while the generalized context and impact of International Commissions receives a rich comparative analysis.


Page last modified 2019.04.16.

Home  •  About UNU  •  UNU Institutes  •  Events  •  Online Learning  •  Publications  •  Library