June 28th to July 2nd, 2009 in Glion, Switzerland
(Pictured above: the five successive UNEP Executive Directors: Achim Steiner, Klaus Töpfer, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Mostafa Tolba, Maurice Strong)
The United Nations Environmental History Initiative seeks to fill the gap in the intellectual history of environmental governance by providing both grounded historical documentation and individual oral accounts of the ways in which ideas about environmental policy were formulated, debated, and/or distorted. We have interviewed a number of individuals from the GEG Community as part of this dialogue and effort to preserve the historical record. See the Community Interviews page of the Global Environmental Governance Project (GEG Project) for list of interviewees.
This research project shares a conviction that traditional national policy and international diplomacy are no longer sufficient, either in pace, scope or substance. Retarding and reversing the damage that we are already inflicting on our environment requires an unprecedented, coordinated, long-term effort involving ambitious, innovative, and flexible coalitions of state and non-state actors, especially non-governmental organizations that tap into the resources, knowledge, and activism of citizens. An overview of the most acute and critical global environmental problems is undertaken as part of this research initiative.
The Global Environmental Governance (GEG) system suffers from structural shortcomings and has not addressed effectively the environmental problems that threaten our planet. While the number of institutions, policies, and programs charged with stewardship of the global commons has risen dramatically over the last thirty years, the state of the global environment continues to show negative trends and increasing risks. The need for meaningful reform is critical and widely recognized. This research project analyzes a range of institutional reform options and the conditions under which positive environmental results would be sustainable.