Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 May 2021
The exercise of formative agency in global justice cannot be entrusted to any single category of agents exclusively, be it states, advocacy groups, or citizens. However, interactions across categories can compensate for the deficiencies of all of them. A systemic account of deliberative governance shows how formative agency can be distributed and cultivated across multiple sites, actors, and institutions. It is the deliberative capacity of the entire system that matters most. The process that yielded the Sustainable Development Goals implicitly recognized this by establishing multiple venues, decision-making groups, and negotiation tracks, infused with participatory norms. Yet there was no logic to their interaction – and links were often simply absent. This chapter supplies the logic and the links. Specific shortcomings can then be identified and corrected. For example, the absence of citizens in the interstate negotiations of the Open Working Group could be corrected by links with deliberative citizens’ assemblies. It is important to cultivate the agency of citizens and the global poor, in nodes, sites, and interactions in the system. Deliberative systems in global justice governance should develop reflexive capacity in order to reflect on and improve their own performance.