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Tests of Global Governance: Canadian Diplomacy and United Nations World Conferences provides a detailed examination of UN World Conferences with respect to the interface between diplomatic method and new forms of global governance. Because of the complex dynamics involved in these large international conferences, this book highlights a number of important theoretical debates central to the study of international relations. On a case study basis the work demonstrates that global governance is a differentiated multi-spectral site of activity within which states and non-state actors alike, particularly NGOs, play vital, often conflicting roles. The role of Canada and Canadians is given special attention as both a unique and representative sample of how this dual interplay between diplomacy and global governance and state and society-craft has played out over the past decade or so with respect to the UN World Conferences. The main focus is on the span of activity from the 1992 Rio UNCED conference, through the 1993 Vienna Conference on Human Rights, the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development, the 1995 World Summit for Social Development, and the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women, to the 2001 Durban World Conference on Racism.
The picture that emerges, while not translating into a complete recipe for a shift towards democratic governance, suggests a deepening network of institutions, actors, and organizations forming the complex regimes that govern the major arenas of world politics. At a country-specific level, the analysis supports the view that a deep residue of multilateralism still exists in Canada but argues that this tradition faces on-going challenges from a variety of sources.