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.
International Environmental Governance Reform: Inputs to the African preparatory process
This paper draws from the two consultations to offer a number of key options for consideration by participants in the Africa Regional Preparatory Conference for Rio+20 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on October 20-25, 2011.
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.
Issues Brief #1 – The Importance of the Environmental Pillar to IFSD (PDF - 170 KB)
This UNEP issue brief provides a concise outline of decisions regarding global environmental governance at previous high-level sustainable development summits and outlines the argument for ambitious reform.
Global Governance in the 21st Century: Rethinking the environmental pillar (PDF - 150 KB)
Maria Ivanova’s Stakeholder Forum “think piece” offers a critical overview of the success and failures of the GEG system to date. It also summarizes and analyzes the reform options put forward by the UNEP-led Consultative Group of Ministers or High-level Representatives on International Environmental Governance, also known as the Nairobi-Helsinki Outcome.
Beyond Rio+20: Governance for a green economy
In 2010, Henrik Selin and Adil Najam convened a task force of experts to discuss different institutional aspects of actualizing a green economy in the context of sustainable development. The resulting report consists of a number of essays of relevance to GEG, including papers on accountability, international trade and the role of civil society.
Global Environmental Governance: A reform agenda
This book by Adil Najam, Mihaela Papa and Nadaa Taiyab identifies a number of steps that can foster more efficient and effective global environmental governance. It focuses on practical interventions that make better use of the resources that are already available and will be more helpful to the implementation of international environmental agreements.