Global Governance Index

How do we measure (successful) global leadership?

AI, climate change, pandemics, power shifts: The international order is under pressure. The Global Governance Index assesses the commitment of governments. Our Senior Vice President Henry Alt-Haaker talks to Richard Ponzio, Director of Global Governance at the Stimson Center, about how it works and what it reveals.

Henry Alt-Haaker
Pictures$ar; Stimson Center
June 23, 2023

Richard Ponzio, Stimson Center

He holds a Ph.D. in political science and directs the Global Governance, Justice & Security Division at the Stimson Center.

Henry Alt-Haaker, Robert Bosch Stiftung

The Senior Vice President is responsible for engaging with leading think tanks and policy makers.

The rules-based international order is under great pressure. Climate change, technological change, pandemics, and shifts in economic, political, military, and demographic power demand governmental and civil society engagement to develop sustainable solutions. The Global Governance Index (GGI) is an attempt, unprecedented in the G7 and BRICS countries, to assess governments' international regulatory engagement - and to measure how the public relates to it. The index is to be presented at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin on July 6.

What is the Global Governance Index?

The Global Governance Index examines and evaluates the regulatory commitment of a group of countries using uniform, quantitative criteria. The areas evaluated are:

  • humanitarian action
  • socio-economic development
  • rule of law
  • global leadership and
  • climate policy. 

The study focuses on the G7 countries and the BRICS countries. The index is to contribute to concretising and operationalising the concepts to be included for the United Nations Future Summit 2024.

The index is a novel project. What are the key findings of the Global Governance Index and what do you see as its most important impact?

The Global Governance Index (or GGI) is the first-ever attempt to measure and compare, in a composite way, the ability and inclination of countries to manage public goods and tackle global challenges through multilateral institutions. Specifically, we rate the global leadership of the G7 and BRICS countries. These account for nearly two-thirds of global GDP and half of the world's population. 

6,53How many points did Germany score?

In terms of key findings, Germany earned the highest score among the twelve countries in the full composite GGI, with a score of 6.53 out of 10, and Russia earned the lowest, with a score of 4.29.

Germany scored highest in three of the five domains: namely, socioeconomic development, human rights, and global collective action and citizenship. It also never ranked lower than third place in the two other categories. Conversely, Russia ranked last in two domains: environmental governance and climate action, as well as global collective action, citizenship, and leadership), and it never ranked higher than the bottom three in the other three domains. The only domain not yet mentioned, international peace, security, and humanitarian action, was topped by a somewhat unexpected country – India., host of this year's G20-Summit.

Total Global Glovernance Index Scores

Total Global Governance Index Scores.

Germany had the highest score in global leadership, but its population saw this as much lower. How do you interpret this contradiction?

In Germany, people are encouraged to voice their perspectives and it’s okay to be highly critical even of one’s own government. My conclusion is that citizens may be genuinely, at times, dissatisfied with the government’s performance. They can also have extremely high expectations for what can and needs to be done to address particular global challenges. 

But in much more authoritarian countries like China, we see much higher levels of support of their countries’ performance in multilateral institutions compared to Western democracies. This could stem simply from a lack of knowledge of what their government is, in fact, doing, and may be complicated even further by mis- and disinformation trafficked through increasingly powerful social media tools. 

60 %How many of the respondents in G7 countries see themselves as global citizens?

The majority of respondents in the Global Governance Survey see themselves as global citizens, but more in the G7 countries than in the BRICS. Why do you think that is, and is it necessarily negative?
The global citizen view predominates in all G7 countries, with majorities ranging from 52 % in the UK and Germany to 78 % in Japan and 76% in Italy, and a 48 % plurality in the U.S. On average, 60 % in the G7 consider themselves global citizens.  

This is weaker in the BRICS, despite their citizens’ generally supportive views on multilateralism. In Russia and India, the global citizen label is accepted by only 36 % and 40 %, respectively. People in China are split 50-50 on this question. Majorities call themselves global citizens in South Africa (67 %) and Brazil (66 %). Across the BRICS, a narrow 52 % majority accepts this view. 

One explanation for this difference could be access to post-primary education. There are differences by education on this issue. People with a primary education are almost equally split, while a majority of those with secondary and tertiary education call themselves global citizens. But the strongest predictor of views on global citizenship is COVID-19 vaccination status: the unvaccinated are the only social group in the survey to split evenly on whether they are global citizens or not, 44% taking each view. This indicates that views of global identity are linked to acceptance of global policy measures, so I wouldn’t say this is a necessarily negative outcome.  If more citizens in the developing BRICS countries had access to benefits from the international system, they might feel a greater sense of global solidarity and citizenship. 

Some of the categories you looked at are “Global Leadership”, “Inclusive Governance” and “Socioeconomic Development”. These terms could be understood differently in different cultures and political traditions. What role do those normative and cultural differences play in the GGI?
We agree that terms like these can be understood differently in different cultures and political traditions, while at the same time being committed to the research of complex global challenges and the role of global governance. In the GGI, where we assess major countries’ performance in global governance, we attempt, as much as possible, to be sensitive to different social norms, cultures, and political traditions. Therefore, the three themes (of global engagement, financing, and national performance) and the 25 individual indicators (five per domain or thematic category) were selected with the intention that each would be relevant and apply the same standards to all 12 countries. 

More Reports

In addition to the GGI, a survey of the population was conducted, the Global Governance Survey. The results of the two studies will be presented in the Global Governance Innovations Report (GGIR) in Berlin on July 6, 2023, and are intended to stimulate evidence-based policymaking. They were funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

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