The influence of SDGs on the global network of intergovernmental organizations

Led by Maya Bogers

Over the past decades, the number of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), such as the World Health Organization or the Food and Agriculture Organization, has proliferated rapidly. IGOs are key players in global governance, occupying themselves with a variety of global topics such as environment, food and trade. Yet despite their different focus areas, IGOs do not operate in isolation. They interact with each other, forming a network of IGOs. Importantly, this network has been shown to influence processes of democratization, international trade, conflict and more. 

With the implementation of the SDGs, a distinct call was made for increased cooperation across institutions and sectoral boundaries, as an integrated approach is necessary to achieve all goals. Yet we know very little of whether SDGs influence networks of IGOs at all, let alone whether they can fulfill the ambition of more interaction across sectoral lines. 

This quantitative study seeks to unravel that: whether, and if so how, SDGs have affected IGO networks until now. Using historical internet data and network analysis tools, this study takes an ‘eagle’s eye approach’ to the global IGO network by mapping it’s evolution over the past 8 years and assessing how the SDGs affected this network.