Two dangers constantly threaten the world: order and disorder. Paul Valéry Whenever you are in doubt, recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man. Gandhi True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice. Martin Luther King, Jr. Henceforth, our country should be the universe. Flora Tristan *

Environmental Governance and Managing the Earth

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Environmental Governance and Managing the Earth


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Global Environmental Governance: Elements of a Reform Agenda

"Elements for a Reform Agenda" is the third and last chapter of the e-book "Global Environmental Governance: A Reform Agenda," published in 2006 by the International Institute on Sustainable Development. In this chapter, the authors suggest that there seems to be a consensus around five main goals in relation to global environmental governance (GEG): (1) leadership by outstanding and competent institutions commanding the respect and support of high-profile world leaders; (2) knowledge, whereby a GEG is a knowledge-based and knowledge-producing system; (3) coherence, through a shared global environmental vision; (4) performance, with GEG institutions that are well-managed, have the resources they need, and use these resources efficiently; and (5) mainstreaming, into other arenas of international policy
and into non-environmental institutions.

The previous two chapters of "Global Environmental Governance: A Reform Agenda" present a broad evaluation of the intense ongoing debates on the various dimensions of the challenge of global environmental governance.

The authors affirm that there seems to be an unstated but robust consensus on what should be the central goals of the global environmental governance (GEG) system. Five goals, in particular, stand out as being particularly important and command broad-based support:

1. Leadership. The GEG system should catch the attention and visible support of high-profile political leaders. The key institutions within the system should be managed by leaders of the highest professional caliber and international reputation, all working together toward the best interests of the GEG system as a whole.

2. Knowledge. Science should be the authoritative basis of sound environmental policy. The GEG system should be seen as a knowledge-based and knowledge-producing system.

3. Coherence. GEG should operate as a coherent "system" with reasonable coordination, regular communication, and a shared sense of direction among its various elements.

4. Performance. The institutions that make up the GEG system should be well-managed; they should have the resources they need and should use these resources efficiently; and they should be effective in implementation. The ultimate purpose of the GEG system is to improve the global environmental condition.

5. Mainstreaming. The GEG system should seek to incorporate environmental concerns and actions within other arenas of international policy and action, and particularly in the context of sustainable development.

There are many different pathways that could be adopted to reach these goals. The remainder of this chapter outlines one set of pathways and a set of practical recommendations for how the GEG system could be better aligned with these goals.

Source: Najam, Adil, Mihaela Papa and Nadaa Taiyab (Lead Authors); International Institute for Sustainable Development (Content Partner); Cutler J. Cleveland (Topic Editor). 2007. "Global Environmental Governance: Elements of a Reform Agenda." In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). First published April 5, 2007; Last revised May 14, 2007; Retrieved July 26, 2007.



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