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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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Summary

Systematic efforts to reform the system of international environmental governance (IEG) began in 1997 at the Rio+5 conference and concluded formally in 2012 with the adoption of The Future We Want outcome document at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). These efforts centered on improving the coherence, coordination, and effectiveness of the institutional system for global environmental governance, both through reforms of the governance, financing, and functioning of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and through enhancing synergies in the operations of the various multilateral environmental agreements. The main reform elements for UNEP include: governance, financial resources, coordination in the UN system, science-policy interface, environmental information and awarenessraising, capacity building, consolidation of headquarters functions and strengthening regional presence, and stakeholder engagement.

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