Center for Governance and Sustainability

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Issue Brief Series

The Governance and Sustainability Series

This series of short policy papers on governance and sustainability provides analytical input to contemporary political discussions on institutional reform for environment and sustainable development. The issue briefs present analytically grounded and politically plausible reform options that negotiators could consider in the run up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, and beyond.

Brief 1: Financing International Environmental Governance: Lessons from the United Nations Environment Programme (Ivanova, October 2011)

Brief 2: Overcoming Fragmented Governance: The Case of Climate Change and the MDGs (Young, November 2011)

Brief 3: Clustering Assessment: Enhancing Synergies among Multilateral Environmental Agreements (Wehlri, January 2012)

Brief 4: Lessons from the Multilateral Trading System for Reforming the Architecture of the International Environmental Regime (Cottier, Elsig,and Wehrli, February 2012)

Brief 5: Enhancing Environmental Governance for Sustainable Development: Function-Oriented Options (Scanlon, March 2012)

Brief 6: Environmental Emergencies: Challenges and Lessons for International Environmental Governance (Nijenhuis and Bruch, June 2012)

Brief 7: Building an International Court for the Environment: A Conceptual Framework (by Riches and Bruce, February 2013)

Brief 8: International Fisheries Governance that Works: The Case for a Global Fisheries Organization (Barkin, June 2013) 

Brief 9: UNDP: Reviving a Practical Human Development Organization (Murphy and Brown, January 2014)

Brief 10: How the United Nations Should Promote the Post - 2015 Development Agenda (Alaimo, September 2014)

Brief 11: Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals: Moving Beyond Women as a "Quick Fix" for Development (Denney, July 2015)

Brief 1: Financing International Environmental Governance: Lessons from the United Nations Environment Programme

by Maria Ivanova, October 2011
Financing for the global environment is scattered among many institutions and, without an overview of total financial flows, often considered scarce. This issue brief begins an analysis of the financial landscape by focusing on the anchor institution for the global environment, the UN Environment Programme. It examines the relationship between institutional form and funding and offers insights into innovative financing.

Issue Brief 1 - Ivanova

Brief 2: Overcoming Fragmented Governance: The Case of Climate Change and the MDGs

by Oran R. Young, November 2011

Fragmented governance hampers efforts to address tightly coupled challenges, like coming to grips with climate change and fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. The way forward is to launch programmatic initiatives focusing on adaptation to climate change and the transition to a green economy that appeal to many separate bodies as win-win opportunities.

Issue Brief 2 - Young

Brief 3: Clustering Assessment: Enhancing Synergies among Multilateral Environmental Agreements

by Judith Wehrli, January 2012

Against the background of a widely fragmented and diluted international environmental governance architecture, different reform options are currently being discussed. This issue brief considers whether streamlining international environmental regimes by grouping or ‘clustering’ international agreements could improve effectiveness and efficiency. It outlines the general idea of the clustering approach, draws lessons from the chemicals and waste cluster and examines the implications and potentials of clustering multilateral environmental agreements. 

Issue Brief 3 - Wehrli

Brief 4: Lessons from the Multilateral Trading System for Reforming the Architecture of the International Environmental Regime

by Thomas Cottier, Manfred Elsig and Judith Wehrli, February 2012

Recent studies on environmental regimes suggest that important lessons and policy recommendations may be drawn from the functioning of the multilateral trading regime. This brief compares the needs and goals of the trade and environment regimes, and discusses how insights from over sixty years of experience of the multilateral trading system might provide ideas for redesigning the architecture of the international environmental regime. It further calls for a better dialogue and improved complementarities between the two fields in order to enhance coherence within international law. 

Issue Brief 4 - Cottier, Elsig, Wehrli

Brief 5: Enhancing Environmental Governance for Sustainable Development: Function-Oriented Options

by John E. Scanlon, March 2012

The 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, is likely to determine the future direction of the institutional framework for sustainable development and for international environmental governance. As States move towards the ‘sharp end’ of their negotiations, it is important to analyze some of the risks and benefits of the identified options for the reform of international environmental governance and offer pragmatic ideas on how to make best use of existing resources and structures.

Issue Brief 5 - Scanlon

Brief 6: Environmental Emergencies: Challenges and Lessons for International Environmental Governance

by Rene Nijenhuis and Carl Bruch, June 2012

This brief examines the strengths and weaknesses of existing instruments and institutions and addresses the efforts to improve coordination among the international sectors of environmental emergency response. Potential operational, capacity-building, and legal options for strengthening prevailing mechanisms are identified and discussed, including the need for stronger political mandates, the need for a stronger framework to address fragmentation, and the need for procedures to support and facilitate environmental emergency responders. The lessons from this discourse can improve the field of environmental emergency response, while also informing advancements in broader context of international environmental governance.

Issue Brief 6 - Nijenhuis and Bruch

Brief 7: Building an International Court for the Environment:
A Conceptual Framework

by Philip Riches and Stuart A. Bruce, February 2013

This issue brief considers the role and nature of existing and potential international dispute resolution fora in relation to international environmental law. It addresses impediments at the international level, such as limited access to justice by non-state actors and the lack of technical and scientific capability. As a conceptual paper, it highlights two possible remedial options: an international environmental tribunal and an international environmental court.

Issue Brief 7- Riches and Bruce

Brief 8: International Fisheries Governance that Works: The Case for a Global Fisheries Organization

by Samuel Barkin, June 2013

This brief examines the current institutional structures in place to manage international fisheries, and argues that they are inadequate to the task of preventing overexploitation. The brief argues for a new global fisheries organization that could serve the core functions of coordinating institutional participants in international fisheries governance, addressing the crisis of overcapitalization and overcapacity in the fishing industry, and overseeing a system of international individual transferable quotas.

Issue Brief 8: Barkin

Brief 9: UNDP: Reviving a Practical Human Development Organization

by Craig Murphy and Stephen Browne, January 2014

Constant reform has characterized the UN Development Programme (UNDP) throughout its existence. Change bespeaks an organization ready to adapt but also fundamentally uncertain about its proper role. It teeters between two sets of tensions—as coordinator of and competitor within the UN development system, and as exerting priorities from the center while seeking to be flexible in its program countries. These tensions should be resolved, and enable UNDP to be the UN’s sustainable human development organization. This brief lays out the options that are open for UNDP to take on; and concludes by giving inputs towards re-orientation, with implications for its substantive orientation, its funding role, and its country presence.

Issue Brief 9: Murphy and Browne

Brief 10: How the United Nations Should Promote the Post - 2015 Development Agenda

by Kara S. Alaimo, September 2014

This issue brief examines how the United Nations can most effectively communicate the post- 2015 development agenda in order to catalyze the global movements necessary for its achievement. The author, a former U.N. communications professional, argues that the U.N. should carefully calibrate expectations in advance, be transparent about the state of negotiations, retain top communications professionals to craft the name and narrative of the agenda, use clear language in the agenda, communicate in “human terms,” make the agenda globally accessible and relevant, and promote shared ownership of the agenda.

Issue Brief 10: Alaimo

Brief 11: Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals: Moving Beyond Women as a "Quick Fix" for Development

by J. Michael Denney, July 2015

In September 2015, the international community will sign on to a set of Sustainable Develop- ment Goals (SDGs), which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SDGs are applicable to all states, developing and developed alike, and are the result of a political process led by an Open Working Group comprising 70 member states in consultation with other stakeholders. This brief concerns MDG 3, Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, and the corresponding proposed SDG 5, Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls. All information about SDG 5 comes from the Open Working Group Proposal for Sustainable Development Goals.

In the first part, the author presents an analytical framework for evaluating whether the goals for female empowerment and gender equality attain the desired result. Next, the framework is applied to the targets for the proposed SDG 5. Finally, the author argues that the international community should embrace goals, targets, and indicators that advance gender equality for the sake of equality itself, rather than as a quick fix for economic underdevelopment. 

Issue Brief 11: Denney


Editor:

Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts

Managing Editor

Wondwossen S Wondemagegnehu Center for Governance and Sustainability University of Massachusetts Boston 100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125 wondwossen@environmentalgovernance.org Cell. +857 654 6237

Editorial Board:

Cinnamon Carlarne, Associate Professor of Law, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Alistair Edgar, Executive Director, Academic Council on the United Nations and Associate Professor, Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada

Amani El-Jack, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Lecturer of Women's Leadership in a Global Perspective, McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

Lorraine Elliott, Professor, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Robert Falkner, Associate Professor, London School of Economics, London, UK

Koh Kheng-Lian, Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Jimena Leiva, Delegate, Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations, New York, New York

Xolisa Mabhongo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International Organizations in Vienna, South African Embassy

Ambassador John W. McDonald (Ret.), Chairman and CEO, Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, Washington, DC

Craig Murphy, Research Professor, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

Wondwossen Tadesse, Acting Director, Environmental Laws and Standards Directorate Ministry of Environment and Forest, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Kerstin Stendahl, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Geneva, Switzerland

Oran Young, Professor Emeritus, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

Daniel Ziegerer, Director of Cooperation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, New Delhi, India