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Author: Nanjira Sambuli

Global governance of digital technologies: A contemporary diplomacy challenge 


This dissertation addresses the challenge of global governance of digital technologies, advocating for the reform of international institutions to include non-state actors and non-western governments. It explores the growing demand for involvement of non-state actors and considers the role of diplomacy in addressing this task.

This dissertation demonstrates that global governance of digital technologies is a contemporary diplomacy challenge demanding the reform of existing and emerging international institutions and governance mechanisms, to accommodate the perspectives of non-state actors and non-western governments. It does this by mapping definitions of governance and global governance, showcasing the latter as going beyond the traditional purview of governments. Multilateralism, the existing mode of engagement on governance issues among states, is analysed, alongside the growing demand brought on by digitalisation, for the involvement of non-state actors, notably from private sector and civil society. The concepts of multistakeholderism and multistakeholder governance that have arisen thanks to this growing influence of non-state actors are explored with respect to the governance of digital technologies. The dissertation showcases that multistakeholderism is at best a supplement to the existing governance mechanisms that confer legitimacy and enforcement authority on governments. However, an urgent question for the global governance of digital technologies is whether to formally incorporate multistakeholderism into multilateralism or to pursue new global governance models that incorporate non-state actors right from the outset. This is a task that the institution of diplomacy and its functions must step up to address, as the dissertation proposes. 

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