Global Environmental Governance

Reform options for Africa

One of the two themes for discussion at Rio+20—the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to take place in June, 2012—is “Institutional Frameworks for Sustainable Development,” within which international environmental governance (IEG) reform is a key topic.

IISD, funded by the Danish government, and working closely with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), conducted a project which identified key IEG issues for Africa through two high-level consultations with African stakeholders. These included representatives from African governments, regional economic communities, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and universities.

Two priority areas for action emerged as a result: First, to identify a number of fresh and innovative ideas that Africa might pursue, beyond the options already being considered by the region in its preparatory process for Rio. Second, to emphasize that any demands for institutional reform will be most effective if they are specific. Otherwise, reforms may be made in name only, leaving the function of the IEG regime unchanged.

The project resulted in a paper, entitled “International Environmental Governance Reform: Inputs to the African preparatory process,” that IISD submitted for the consideration of representatives at the African regional preparatory meeting for Rio+20.


Background documents on GEG reform

The following documents are a good source of background information about the rationale for GEG reform and the various approaches and ideas that are already under discussion. They are intended as a useful resource for participants in IISD’s consultations, but may also be a useful reference point for students of GEG more generally.