The institutions that emerged in the immediate post-Second World War period, most notably those associated with the United Nations (UN) Bretton Woods Conference, represent an important step in international economic, social and political relations. Previously, conflicts between nations were resolved principally by means of the Westphalian model of international diplomacy, whereby state-centred sovereignty remained unchallenged. Today, this sovereignty still remains intact, but it is increasingly the subject of a system in which governments are rendered accountable to each other — albeit imperfectly — through such bodies as the UN. A whole series of covenants, treaties and declarations has also arisen between contracting states in the wake of the post-War settlement, including the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite their shortcomings, these agreements represent an attempt to redefine the national interest and protect society’s minority groups from the excesses of the state — and from each other. The result is a far more global understanding of international relations (IR), institutionally expressed through a range of such bodies as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These developments, combined with the integration of global financial activities in the post-Cold War period and the ongoing growth of information and communication technologies, have all contributed to the description of the contemporary era as one driven by the processes of globalisation.


United Nations Governance System Global Governance Sustainable Forest Management Forest Stewardship Council 
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Copyright information

© Timothy Cadman 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy Cadman
    • 1
  1. 1.Sustainable BusinessUniversity of Southern QueenslandAustralia

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