Press release

Book by IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin shares first-hand look at 20 years of environmental negotiations and diplomacy

March 5, 2012

WINNIPEG—March 6, 2012—An insider's view of how environmental diplomacy operates is revealed in a new book reviewing the accomplishments and shortcomings for sustainable development since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development—the first Rio Earth Summit.

The book is written by the International Institute for Sustainable Development's Earth Negotiations Bulletin team, and edited by ENB executive editor Pam Chasek, and Lynn Wagner, managing editor of knowledge management projects for IISD Reporting Services. It reviews the 20-year period since world leaders first gathered to construct a new sustainable development paradigm that promised to enhance environmentally sound economic and social development.

"This book captures the dynamics of international sustainable development through the eyes of the experts who have been right there with a ringside seat at negotiations, offering us a rare and valuable insight as we move forward beyond discussions to implementation," said IISD board chair Dan Gagnier.

The Roads from Rio: Lessons Learned from Twenty Years of Multilateral Environmental Negotiation (paperback, US$39.95; published by Resources for the Future Press/Routledge) offers first-hand insights by writers who have participated in most of the post-1992 negotiating processes.

"This is how international environmental diplomacy really operates. The authors apply a fine-grained level of resolution that offers new insights into the practice of international environmental politics by multiple actor groups," said Peter M. Haas, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The chapters examine the proliferation of multilateral environmental negotiations and meetings, changes in the actors and their roles (governments, nongovernmental organizations, secretariats), the interlinkages of issues, the impact of scientific advice and the challenges of implementation across UN negotiating processes, including the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Forum on Forests, the chemicals conventions (Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam), the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the Convention on Migratory Species and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The book is available at or on


For more information, please contact the editors by email: Pam Chasek and Lynn Wagner, or IISD manager, public affairs Nona Pelletier at +1 204 958-7740 or cell: +1 204 962-1303.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.