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International Environmental Governance

Accomplishments and Way Forward

image of International Environmental Governance

A plethora of environmental problems are ravaging the planet and its inhabitants. How well do existing structures convene governments to address these challenges? What is the role of science and civil society in this context? And, does international cooperation properly support countries with limited capacities? This report seeks to respond to these questions, based on an analysis of actions taken to renew international environmental governance to fulfill commitments made at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012. This report outlines possibilities to strengthen the UN Environment Programme and to enhance synergies among global environmental conventions to ensure that international environmental governance continues evolving and improving to secure human well-being and planetary health.

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Introduction

“Reform is not a onetime action, it is a permanent attitude”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized upon taking office (Guterres, 2016). Indeed, reform is a perpetual quest for the United Nations, because the problems the organization seeks to address evolve over time and require new approaches and actions. Systematic efforts to reform the system of international environmental governance (IEG) began in 1997 at the Rio+5 conference in New York and concluded formally in 2012 with the adoption of The Future We Want outcome document at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The reform process centered on improving coherence, coordination, and effectiveness of the institutional system for global environmental governance by improving the institutional form, functions, and financing of the UN Environment Programme—the anchor institution for the global environment—and by enhancing synergies in the operations of the various multilateral environmental agreements. These two types of reforms are articulated in paragraphs 88 and 89 of the Rio+20 outcome document.

English

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