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What are the main obstacles to the provision of global public goods?

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  1. The obstacles to the provision of Global public goods on the international scale, notably the free-rider problem
  2. At the national level, there are also many problems hindering the efficient allocation of global public goods
  3. The strategies that exist to improve the allocation of these goods

Global public goods are hard to define. Even though, there is a consensus about the definitions of public goods and collective goods, there exists different approaches. Public goods are supposed to be available for all and they are characterized by two principles: non-rivalry, which means that the consumption of the good by a person does not prevent its consumption by another one, and non-excludability, that means that no one can be excluded from the consumption of the good. When a good does not fulfill these two characteristics, then the public good is impure. One typical example of public good is the traffic control system or national security, which benefits all the citizens in a country. Public goods can be regional, national or even global. Thus, global public goods are a set of international goods whose benefits are supposed to be enjoyed by the governments and the people of all states. Many examples of global public goods exist, for instance, scientific knowledge leading to the discovery of a vaccine, international mechanisms ensuring financial stability, regulations for telecommunications, and so on. Still, there is not a steady consensus about what the term 'global public good' means. Indeed, even though international financial stability, peace, world security, fighting global pandemics of HIV are global public goods, we are not sure to include whether or not other principles like food security, social protection or international political stability.

[...] Finally, after studying the obstacles impeding the provision of global public goods, both on the international and national scale, it is now important to mention the strategies that exist to improve the allocation of these goods. Many new solutions were discussed to manage the production of global public goods. First, it has been thought that appointing national issue ambassadors would be a good deal to inform better the states of the importance of some global public good and would encourage their participation. [...]

[...] Hence, the ?weakest link? problem is a long-term issue of cooperation. At the national level, there are also many problems hindering the efficient allocation of global public goods. The first important issue is related to the countries sovereignty. Often, governments decide not to sign an agreement or not to respect an international rule because that would limit their sovereign power of decision making. Their sovereignty would be constrained if they accepted binding rules in a global agreement, or an international monitoring of their compliance with this agreement. [...]

[...] Moreover, as mentioned above, governments do not have the same definition of global public goods, thus it is possible that some do not include the same concepts in this definition, and obviously, that leads states to have different goals. For instance, Trade regime is a global public good for some governments, but for others having different economic stakes, it is not. Controversies exist on political, social, economic and ethical values. For instance, free trade remains controversial for many countries. What might be an important global public good for a specific government might not be for another one. [...]

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