The integration of the global economy through the liberalisation of the trade regime, the deregulation of financial markets and the privatisation of state assets has led to what we now commonly call ‘globalisation’. These processes, however, have not been accompanied by a comparable development of the global polity. At the same time, it is increasingly recognised in policy circles that without the development of norms, institutions and processes to manage globalisation many of the advantages it has brought the world could be undone by a failure to mitigate the excesses and negative consequences that emanate from it, especially for large sections of the world's poor. This article addresses two broad questions: what might we understand by global governance in an era of increasingly contested globalisation and what role might international organisations play in making it more (democratically) legitimate? It addresses these questions in three steps. First, it proposes a heuristic definition that identifies two key strands of ‘governance’ in the contemporary debate. It is argued that global governance understood as effective and efficient collective decision-making and problem solving is insufficient for normative reasons and must, in addition, be complemented by global governance understood as the democratic legitimation of policy-making. In a second step, as an example of this latter type of governance, the article develops a deliberative two-track view of transnational legitimacy. It argues that deliberative democracy offers some fruitful theoretical tools in this context since it is equipped to address some of the qualitative problems of international decision-making as well as accommodate a plausible notion of political agency. Thirdly, from the point of view of this two-track view, the article examines the WTO and discusses its strengths and vulnerabilities, not only as a vehicle for trade liberalisation but also as an instrument of better global governance.