One of the key current trends in global politics is the gradual shift from ‘pure’ geopolitics and the hard/soft power of sovereign states to global problems (environmental, resource, demographic, and social). The past decade saw the term ‘global problems’ itself crystallize into a new concept, the Global Commons, understood in a narrowly environmental and a broader social sense. It is discussed both at the UN in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and at various international venues. The 14th Annual Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in October 2017 included a series of discussions of these subjects (The Conflict Between Man and Nature, The Conflict Between Rich and Poor, The Conflict Between Progress and Humanism).
To be sure, interpretations of the term Global Commons diverged right from the start. In the narrow sense, it is understood as the environment, including the air (and the climate), potable water, arable land, biodiversity, and so on. In a broader sense, it comprises the common social heritage of human society at the planetary level, including access to healthcare, the minimum (and later high protein) food basket, a comfortable urban and social environment, etc. The most radical and expansive interpretation treats the Global Commons as the planetary (i.e. trans-border) unity of the human race.