Whenever one thinks of ‘Global Governance’, it appears it must be an impossible task. Such a vast challenge in starting with multiple, competing interests, before ultimately ending up with one single voice, agreement or rule. Based on what we learn every day, we can see that global governance should be understood as having a plural dimension. As I often put it, the French would express the concept using a rather different formula: les nouvelles gouvernances. It is English that transforms the plural into singular. Is this why, perhaps, that when considering the issue of governance, there seems to be a natural trend to concentrate power in a few American hands?

In this issue we stood in awe, after investigating the reasons for US uproar regarding the forthcoming review of the International Telecommunications Regulations agreed in Melbourne in 1988. Almost 24 years after the treaty was accepted with a large consensus amongst member states, through the UN’s oldest body, the ITU, it was long overdue for a revision. Since 1988, the telecommunications world has seen the fabulous birth and offspring of the Internet. Today, this world is faced with another massive change, as broadband slowly comes to life in many developing countries. If the first age of the Internet relied initially on phone lines, it is now pushing to a higher gear. This means significant investments for all countries to benefit from what is to be the new digital economic el Dorado. Will the system be set in a fair and equitable manner for all players?

While the Internet began as the result of great minds from the academic world wanting to connect each other computers, it was also largely funded by American governmental grants through the Department of Defense, NASA and the National Science Foundation. Since 1998, the founding fathers of the Internet – most of them academics – have been forced to give back the power over their creation to the US government’s friendly private hands, with strict conditions and rules of control and supervision. Speaking today of decentralized Internet governance is a fairy tale. There are many venues where users can express their views. This does not equate, however, to real power. There must be hard power behind the soft power when it comes to the Internet, and this is what our cover story delves into.

With the same fresh eyes, we have also been searching for solutions addressing major global challenges over the next five years. Why five years, not one or 20? Five years is roughly equivalent to a little longer than the usual average term for most elected politicians. Five years is the time horizon that many of our politicians can never reach to achieve whatever they have received a mandate to do. Five years is a cosmic distance for a politician, when it is tomorrow for big corporations (and when it is a ‘maybe’ for citizens). Nonetheless, we met about 100 project leaders with amazing vision and the will to act and change the world. All had the ability to find a way out of gridlock and bring hope for genuine progress at the global level. We should honor and praise them for their dedication and talent in achieving their vision – something we did when presenting 19 of these project leaders to our GLOBAL+5 Jury in Geneva on 9 October. It was a great moment of celebration, and some strong messages were sent around the globe.

In this issue our eyes also paused over Mexico, through the lens of a great photographer, David Kochkind. How can such a country, with such an esteemed northern neighbor, remain mired in violence and death? Our eyes also ventured to the forgotten and forbidden northern Myanmar, where our reporter Harold Thibault was able to reach Kachin State and observe – perhaps – Burma’s last war.

To push ahead with global governance, we need to keep our eyes open, at all times.