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This article provides a focused review of the current literature on global environmental governance. In the first part, we differentiate between three usages of the term "global environmental governance," which we describe as analytical, programmatic, and critical. In the second part, we highlight three key characteristics of global environmental governance that make it different, in our view, from traditional international environmental politics: first, the emergence of new types of agency and of actors in addition to national governments, the traditional core actors in international environmental politics; second, the emergence of new mechanisms and institutions of global environmental governance that go beyond traditional forms of state-led, treaty-based regimes; and third, increasing segmentation and fragmentation of the overall governance system across levels and functional spheres. In the last section, we present an outlook on future study needs in this field.
ANRV357-EG33-12 ARI 15 September 2008 16:16
Global Environmental
Governance: Taking Stock,
Moving Forward
Frank Biermann and Philipp Pattberg
Department of Environmental Policy Analysis, Institute for Environmental Studies,
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 2008. 33:277–94
First published online as a Review in Advance on
August 5, 2008
The Annual Review of Environment and Resources
is online at
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Copyright c
2008 by Annual Reviews.
All rights reserved
Key Words
institutions, interlinkages, international environmental politics,
transnational regimes
This article provides a focused review of the current literature on global
environmental governance. In the first part, we differentiate between
three usages of the term “global environmental governance,” which we
describe as analytical, programmatic, and critical. In the second part,
we highlight three key characteristics of global environmental gover-
nance that make it different, in our view, from traditional international
environmental politics: first, the emergence of new types of agency and
of actors in addition to national governments, the traditional core ac-
tors in international environmental politics; second, the emergence of
new mechanisms and institutions of global environmental governance
that go beyond traditional forms of state-led, treaty-based regimes; and
third, increasing segmentation and fragmentation of the overall gover-
nance system across levels and functional spheres. In the last section,
we present an outlook on future study needs in this field.
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1. INTRODUCTION ................ 278
GOVERNANCE? ................. 278
NETWORKS ..................... 282
FRAGMENTATION.............. 284
RESEARCH AGENDA ........... 286
“Global environmental governance” has
become a key term in environmental and
resource politics. This reflects the generally
high popularity of the governance concept
today: Whereas the Internet in 1997 had
only 3418 references to global governance, in
January 2008, 589,000 sites mentioned the
term. Almost any process or structure of en-
vironmental politics that transgresses national
boundaries has been described as part of global
environmental governance. Whether it is the
influence of nongovernmental organizations on
environmental policy making, the role of expert
networks or the increased relevance of transna-
tional environmental institutions, global
environmental governance generally serves as
overarching conceptual orientation. Yet what
global environmental governance eventually
means, and what the key elements of this recent
concept are, often remains ill defined.
This article aims to contribute to this de-
bate through a structured, focused review of
the literature on global environmental gover-
nance. In the first part, we differentiate be-
tween three usages of the term “global envi-
ronmental governance,” which we describe as
analytical, programmatic, and critical. In the
second part, we highlight three key charac-
teristics of global environmental governance
that make it different, in our view, from tradi-
tional international environmental politics. In
the last section, we present an outlook of what
we see as future study needs and core questions
that may guide renewed research efforts in this
Despite the rather recent origin of the con-
cept of global environmental governance, much
of what is framed today under this term has
predecessors, dating back to studies of in-
ternational environmental cooperation around
the 1972 United Nations Conference on the
Human Environment in Stockholm (1–2). The
most relevant precursor of the current debate
is the research program on international en-
vironmental regimes of the 1980s and 1990s
(3–5). The important questions then were the
creation of environmental regimes, their main-
tenance, and their eventual effectiveness (6–13).
Other earlier research addressed intergovern-
mental environmental organizations (14–15)
and nonstate environmental organizations (16–
18), both of which have received fresh attention
in the current global governance discourse.
The concept of “governance” itself stems
from national debates, where it is often used for
new forms of regulation that differ from tradi-
tional hierarchical state activity (19). The gov-
ernance concept generally implies some degree
of self-regulation by societal actors, private-
public cooperation in solving societal problems,
and new forms of multilevel policy. In develop-
ment policy, the governance concept has also
gained relevance in the 1990s, frequently with
the contested qualifier “good governance” (20).
The more recent notion of “global governance”
278 Biermann ·Pattberg
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builds on these earlier debates among political
scientists working on domestic issues and tries
to capture similar developments at the interna-
tional level. Clear definitions of global gover-
nance, however, have not yet been agreed upon:
Global governance means different things to
different authors (21–22). At present, one can
differentiate three broad usages of the term
“global governance,” which are also relevant for
the narrower notion of global environmental
First, many authors use the term “global
governance” analytically, to make sense of
current sociopolitical transformations. In this
usage, global governance highlights distinct
qualities of current world politics, such as non-
hierarchical steering modes and the inclusion
of private actors, both for profit and non-
profit. Within this body of literature, studies
generally differ according to the breadth of
their definitional scope. Some writers restrict
the global governance concept to problems
of foreign policy and more traditional forms
of world politics. Young, for example, sees
global governance as “the combined efforts
of international and transnational regimes”
(13, p. 11). Finkelstein defines the concept
as “governing, without sovereign authority,
relationships that transcend national frontiers”
(23, p. 369). One challenge with these narrow
phenomenological understandings of global
governance is the need to distinguish the
term from traditional international relations,
because it is often not clear what we gain by
using the term “global governance” instead of
“international relations” or “world politics.”
Other writers address this problem by
broadening the term to encompass an increas-
ing number of social and political interactions.
Rosenau, for example, contends that “the sum
of the world’s formal and informal rules sys-
tems at all levels of community amount to what
can properly be called global governance” (24,
p. 4). When transferred to the global level, how-
ever, such all-encompassing definitions hardly
leave room for anything that is not global gover-
nance. Given increasing international interde-
pendence, few political rules will have no reper-
cussions beyond the nation state. In this broad
usage, the concept thus threatens to become
synonymous with politics, and therefore rather
A second understanding of global gover-
nance starts from a perceived inadequateness
of political responses to globalization. In this
perspective, global governance is first and fore-
most a political program, to regain the neces-
sary steering capacity for problem solving in
the postmodern age. Writers in this line call for
the construction of new “global governance ar-
chitectures” as a counterweight to the negative
consequences of economic and ecological glob-
alization. They often develop and promote new
institutions, such as multilateral treaties and
conventions, new and more effective interna-
tional organizations, and new forms of financial
mechanisms to account for the dependence of
current international regimes on the goodwill
of national governments. The UN Commission
on Global Governance (25), for example, elab-
orated a plethora of reform proposals to deal
with problems of globalization. Global gover-
nance is seen here as a solution, as a tool that
politicians need to develop and employ to solve
the problems that globalization has brought
This use of the term is popular especially in
continental Europe. A commission of inquiry of
the German Parliament, for example, defined
global governance as the “problem-adequate
reorganization of the international institutional
environment” (26, pp. 415, 450). French ana-
lyst Smouts (27, p. 88) argued that global gov-
ernance is not an “analytical reflection on the
present international system [but a] standard-
setting reflection for building a better world.”
Yet this understanding of global governance as a
political program is not restricted to European
discourses. Also some U.S. academics, such as
Gordenker & Weiss (28, p. 17), see global gov-
ernance as “efforts to bring more orderly and
reliable responses to social and political issues
that go beyond capacities of states to address
Third, some writers have adopted the pro-
grammatic definition of global governance, yet Global Environmental Governance 279
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ANRV357-EG33-12 ARI 15 September 2008 16:16
without its affirmative connotation. We de-
scribe this literature here as the critical usage
of the global governance concept. For exam-
ple, some neoconservative writers see global
governance as the attempt of the United Na-
tions and other international organizations to
limit the freedom of action of powerful states,
in particular the United States. Writers in the
tradition of post-Fordism and neo-Marxism
view global governance as a project of rul-
ing elites to deal more effectively with eco-
nomic and political crises that result from post-
Fordist neoliberal social transformations (29).
Other writers view global governance through
the lens of North-South power conflicts. The
Geneva-based South Centre, for example, cau-
tioned in 1996 that in “an international com-
munity ridden with inequalities and injustice,
institutionalizing ‘global governance’ without
paying careful attention to the question of
who wields power, and without adequate safe-
guards, is tantamount to sanctioning gover-
nance of the many weak by the powerful few”
(30, p. 32).
There is no clear solution to this conceptual
diversity. Yet the current coexistence of analyt-
ical and programmatic uses of the term is no
problem per se as long as authors retain clarity
as to what definition they employ. As for the an-
alytical usage of the concept, we prefer a more
restrictive usage that focuses research on the
new phenomena that make world politics to-
day different from what it used to be. We see in
particular three new broad developments at the
core of the current phenomenon of global (en-
vironmental) governance: first, the emergence
of new types of agency and of actors in addi-
tion to national governments, the traditional
core actors in international environmental poli-
tics; second, the emergence of new mechanisms
and institutions of global environmental gover-
nance that go beyond traditional forms of state-
led, treaty-based regimes; and third, increasing
segmentation and fragmentation of the overall
governance system across levels and functional
Global environmental governance describes
world politics that are no longer confined to
nation states but are characterized by increas-
ing participation of actors that have so far been
largely active at the subnational level. This mul-
tiactor governance includes private actors, such
as networks of experts, environmentalists, and
multinational corporations, but also new agen-
cies set up by governments, including inter-
governmental organizations and international
courts. Novel is not simply the increase in
numbers, but also the ability of nonstate ac-
tors to take part in steering the political sys-
tem. In our reading, agency—understood as
the power of individual and collective actors to
change the course of events or the outcome of
processes—is increasingly located in sites be-
yond the state and intergovernmental organi-
zations. Many vital institutions of global envi-
ronmental governance are today inclusive of,
or even driven by, nonstate actors. Nongovern-
mental organizations have joined governments
to put international norms into practice, for
example, as quasi-implementing agencies for
development assistance programs administered
by the World Bank or bilateral agencies. Pri-
vate actors, both for-profit and nonprofit, also
participate in global institutions to address en-
vironmental problems without being forced,
persuaded, or funded by states and other pub-
lic agencies, for example, in the area of forest
and fisheries governance. This “agency beyond
the state” sets global environmental governance
apart from more traditional international envi-
ronmental politics.
There are three elements to this new de-
velopment. First, the number of actors and the
degree of their participation in global envi-
ronmental governance have increased substan-
tially over the past decades. Second, the va-
riety of types of organizations increased too.
280 Biermann ·Pattberg
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Next to governments, intergovernmental orga-
nizations, nongovernmental organizations, and
business actors, novel forms of organizations
have emerged, such as private rule-making
organizations and public-private partnerships
in issue areas ranging from forest manage-
ment to biodiversity conservation. Third, es-
tablished organizations have adapted new roles
and responsibilities. For example, many inter-
governmental organizations have acquired a
higher degree of autonomy from their princi-
pals (i.e., the governments that have established
them), and many nongovernmental organiza-
tions today engage in agenda setting, policy for-
mulation, and the establishment of rules and
Especially, the growing role of nongovern-
mental lobbying organizations in environmen-
tal politics has been acknowledged and analyzed
in much detail. Activist groups, business associ-
ations, and policy research institutes now pro-
vide research and policy advice, monitor the
commitments of states, inform governments
and the public about the actions of their own
diplomats and those of negotiation partners,
and give diplomats at international meetings di-
rect feedback (31–32). Carefully orchestrated
campaigns of environmentalists have proved
able to change foreign policy of powerful na-
tion states.
In addition, networks of scientists have as-
sumed a new role in providing complex tech-
nical information that is indispensable for pol-
icy making on issues marked by analytic and
normative uncertainty. Although the new role
of experts in world politics is evident in many
policy areas, it is particularly prevalent in the
field of global environmental policy (33). New
transnational networks of scientists and experts
have emerged, in a mix of self-organization and
state sponsorship, to provide scientific informa-
tion on both the kind of environmental prob-
lem at stake and the options for decision mak-
ers. Such scientific advice for political decision
making is not new in world politics; negotia-
tions on fishing quotas, for example, have long
been assisted by the International Council for
the Exploration of the Sea. These early exam-
ples, however, have significantly increased in
both number and impact, which is mirrored in
the substantial academic interest in global sci-
entific networks in recent years (34–40).
Also business has taken a more prominent
direct role in international environmental deci-
sion making. Again, the influence of major com-
panies on international affairs is not new. How-
ever, in the past, the corporate sector usually in-
fluenced decisions indirectly through national
governments. Today, many corporations take a
more visible, direct role in international nego-
tiations as immediate partners of governments,
for example, in the framework of the United
Nations and of the Global Compact, which ma-
jor corporations have concluded with the world
organization (41–43). Recent research has scru-
tinized the power of business in global envi-
ronmental governance and provided a nuanced
assessment of corporate influence in global en-
vironmental governance (44–45).
Furthermore, global environmental gover-
nance is marked by an increasing influence of
intergovernmental organizations. In the field
of environmental policy, more than 200 in-
ternational organizations have been set up in
the form of secretariats to the many inter-
national environmental treaties concluded in
the past two decades. Recent scholarship has
highlighted the autonomous role of many of
these international organizations in creating
and disseminating knowledge, shaping power-
ful discourses on environmental problems and
adequate solutions to them, influencing nego-
tiations through ideas and expertise, and imple-
menting solutions on the ground (46–47). Dif-
ferent degrees of such influence on the struc-
tures and processes of global environmental
governance have been critically assessed (48).
Biermann & Siebenh¨
uner (47), for example,
suggest that the overall problem structure and
internal factors of organizations, such as lead-
ership and staff composition, can explain much
variation in the influence of international bu-
In addition, global environmental gover-
nance is characterized by the increasing rele-
vance of public actors at the subnational level. Global Environmental Governance 281
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Cities, for example, have gained prominence in
global environmental governance, in particular
through their collaboration on climate change
mitigation. In the Cities for Climate Protection
Campaign, more than 800 local governments
work together with a view to adopting policies
and implementing quantifiable measures to re-
duce local greenhouse gas emissions, improve
air quality, and enhance urban quality of life
The increasing role of nonstate actors has
not gone without friction, and it has indeed be-
come the center of major political reform de-
bates. Developing countries, in particular, of-
ten object to increases in the influence of non-
governmental organizations in international fo-
rums because they view these groups as being
more favorable to Northern agendas, perspec-
tives, and interests. Developing countries argue
that most nongovernmental organizations are
headquartered in industrialized countries, that
most public and private funds donated to their
cause come from the North, and that this sit-
uation influences the agenda of these groups
to be more accountable to Northern audiences
(30). This critique is often justified. However,
the suspected biases in the work of nongovern-
mental actors should not, we argue, lead to
a decrease in the participation of civil soci-
ety, but rather to the establishment of mech-
anisms that ensure a balance of opinions and
One such mechanism is the recent institu-
tionalization and formalization of the advice
of scientists on climate change. The key in-
stitution here is the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC). The evolution
of the IPCC is typical for the functioning of
global environmental governance: It has been
initiated not by governments but by interna-
tional organizations—the World Meteorolog-
ical Organization and the UN Environment
Programme (UNEP). It is composed of pri-
vate actors—experts, scientists, and their au-
tonomous professional organizations—which
are nonetheless engaged in a constant dialogue
with representatives from governments. For ex-
ample, the final conclusions of IPCC reports
are drafted by scientists but are reviewed line-
by-line by governmental delegates.
Typical for global environmental gover-
nance has also been the continuous struggle for
influence in this body,especially between indus-
trialized and developing countries (37, 50–55).
When IPCC was set up in 1988, only a few ex-
perts and scientists from developing countries
were actively involved. This has led, as many
observers from developing countries argued, to
a substantial lack of credibility, legitimacy, and
saliency of these reports in the South. Contin-
uous complaints from delegates from develop-
ing countries led to a number of reforms, which
resulted in an increasing institutionalization of
the involvement of private actors of North and
South in this subsystem of global governance
(51). For example, IPCC rules of procedure
now require each working group of scientists
to be chaired by two scientists, one from a de-
veloped country and one developing country.
Each chapter of assessment reports must have at
least one lead author from a developing country.
IPCC’s governance structure now has a quota
system that resembles some purely public polit-
ical bodies that are governed by North-South
parity procedures, such as the meetings of par-
ties to the Montreal Protocol, the executive
committee of the Multilateral Ozone Fund, or
the Global Environment Facility.
The increased participation of nonstate actors
has given rise to new forms of institutions in ad-
dition to the traditional system of legally bind-
ing documents negotiated by states. More and
more nonstate actors become formally part of
norm-setting and norm-implementing institu-
tions and mechanisms in global governance,
which denotes a shift from intergovernmen-
tal regimes to public-private and increasingly
private-private cooperation and global policy
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ANRV357-EG33-12 ARI 15 September 2008 16:16
making (41–43, 56). Private actors became part-
ners of governments in the implementation of
international standards, for example as quasi-
implementing agencies for many programs of
development assistance administered through
the World Bank or bilateral agencies. At times,
private actors venture to negotiate their own
standards, such as in the Forest Stewardship
Council or the Marine Stewardship Council,
two standard-setting bodies created by ma-
jor corporations and environmental advocacy
groups without direct involvement of govern-
ments (57, 58). Public-private cooperation has
received even more impetus with the 2002
Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable
Development and its focus on partnerships of
governments, nongovernmental organizations,
and the private sector—the so-called Partner-
ships for Sustainable Development (59). More
than 330 such partnerships have been registered
with the United Nations around or after the
Johannesburg summit (60, 61).
A number of conceptual terms have been
suggested to analyze these new institutions
in global environmental governance. Whereas
the term “transnational environmental regime”
(62) stresses the similarity to intergovernmental
environmental regimes (with the difference that
the norms, rules, and decision-making proce-
dures derive largely from cooperation between
nonstate actors), the terms public-private part-
nership (61) or global public policy network
(63) are used to describe a more flexible and less-
institutionalized actor constellation. In spite of
these conceptual differences, the central analyt-
ical questions are similar.
There are three main strands of research on
the new institutions of global environmental
governance. One line of research studied the
emergence of novel institutional arrangements
in global environmental governance. Different
theoretical approaches and single or compara-
tive case studies offer promising explanations
for the formation of transnational institutions
that address global environmental problems
(64–66). However, most theoretical approaches
are not specifically tailored to the newly emerg-
ing phenomena, and empirical studies that ad-
dress them tend to isolate causal factors or fail
to specify their relationship and the causal path-
ways operating in the process of institution for-
mation. One common assumption, for example,
is that transnational institutions created for the
regulation of business behavior have emerged
as a reaction to increased capital flows across
borders and declining regulatory capacities of
states (67). On this account, the increasing
institutionalization of nonstate environmental
governance is analyzed predominantly in func-
tionalist terms. However, such demand-based
explanations often find difficulties in specify-
ing whose demand for transnational regulation
is sufficient for establishing new institutions.
Also, many studies fail to account for the inter-
action of larger systemic transformations (that
is, change at the macrolevel, such as discursive
and ideological shifts) and the decisive condi-
tions at the organizational level (that is, change
at the microlevel, such as new organizational
capacities and strategies). Alternative explana-
tions for the emergence of novel institutional
arrangements in global environmental gover-
nance have therefore highlighted the intercon-
nectedness of macro- and microconditions (56)
as well as the importance of resource-exchange
processes for institution building (68).
A second line of research has analyzed the
effectiveness and influence of new mechanisms
of global environmental governance. Pattberg
(69), for example, has studied the regulatory,
cognitive, and integrative functions of transna-
tional environmental regimes in forest poli-
tics and corporate environmental management.
Other comparative studies suggest that differ-
ences in influence can be explained by the types
of policies applied (market-based approaches,
such as forest certification, or information-
based approaches, such as sustainability indi-
cators), the regulatory environment of transna-
tional regimes, and the support of civil society
organizations (62).
A related line of research has addressed the
contribution of novel governance mechanisms
to closing governance gaps left by the inter-
governmental process, such as insufficient reg-
ulation, implementation, or participation (70). Global Environmental Governance 283
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For example, the present authors and colleagues
have studied this problem through a statistical
analysis of 300 public-private partnerships for
sustainable development and concluded that, at
the aggregate level, partnerships for sustainable
development fall short in closing the partici-
pation, implementation, and regulation gaps in
global environmental governance (71).
Third, scholars have addressed democratic
legitimacy and accountability within transna-
tional environmental regimes and partnerships
(72, 73). With traditional intergovernmental
policy making being more frequently replaced
by novel institutions—which some see as being
more efficient and transparent—serious ques-
tions of the legitimacy of nonstate standard set-
ting arise. For example, the World Commission
on Dams has been hailed as a new and effective
mechanism that has quickly generated widely
accepted standards, which had earlier been dif-
ficult to negotiate owing to the persistent resis-
tance of affected countries. Yet this very success
of nonstate standard setting gives rise also to
critical voices that point to inherent problems
of legitimacy in nonstate policy making (74) (see
Section 6 below).
Despite this increasing body of litera-
ture, more research is needed. In particular,
the specific and the overall effectiveness of
novel mechanisms of global environmental
governance is, in our view, insufficiently
understood. Most literature still builds on
single-disciplinary case-study research with
case selection often influenced by practical
considerations or flawed through case selection
on the dependent variable. The major effort
of the 1990s that analyzed intergovernmental
environmental regimes thus needs to be
complemented by a similar research program
on “global participatory governance” that
explores transnational institutions in global
environmental governance. Many explanatory
variables are conceivable, and some might be
similar to variables identified in the literature
on intergovernmental regimes. For example,
the effectiveness of transnational institutions
could depend upon their organizational
structure, funding mechanisms, coordination,
decision-making and management mecha-
nisms, or compliance mechanisms. Problem
structure is likely to influence the effectiveness
of transnational institutions, too. Transnational
institutions could also be more effective the
more they tailor their policies to the needs and
capacities of targeted actors and to the national
administrative and regulatory structures of
the country in which agreements shall be
implemented. Yet, no comprehensive research
findings on these hypotheses are yet available.
In sum, this field still awaits research programs
that systematically analyze the emergence, ef-
fectiveness, and legitimacy of transnational in-
stitutions in global environmental governance.
The emerging global environmental gover-
nance system is characterized by an increasing
segmentation of different layers and clusters
of rule making and rule implementing, frag-
mented both vertically between supranational,
international, national, and subnational layers
of authority (multilevel governance) and hori-
zontally between different parallel rule-making
systems maintained by different groups of ac-
tors (multipolar governance).
First, the increasing global institutionaliza-
tion of environmental politics does not occur,
and is indeed not conceivable, without con-
tinuing policy making at national and subna-
tional levels. Global standards need to be imple-
mented and put into practice locally, and global
norm setting requires local decision making and
implementation. This results in the coexistence
of policy making at the subnational, national,
regional, and global levels in more and more
issue areas, with the potential of both conflicts
and synergies between different levels of regu-
latory activity. The international regulation of
trade in genetically modified organisms serves
as a prime example for such multilevel gover-
nance (75–77).
Likewise, the increasing global institution-
alization of environmental politics does not
284 Biermann ·Pattberg
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ANRV357-EG33-12 ARI 15 September 2008 16:16
occur in a uniform manner that covers all parts
of the international community to the same ex-
tent. In the case of the 1987 Montreal Pro-
tocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone
Layer, for example, various later amendments
have provided for new standards and timetables
that are not accepted by all parties to the origi-
nal agreement from 1987. This leads to a multi-
plicity of subregimes within the overall norma-
tive framework. The most prominent example
of such horizontal fragmentation of policies is
humankind’s response to the global warming
problem. Here, we observe the emergence of
parallel policy approaches that include equally
important segments of international society and
may develop into divergent regulatory regimes
in global climate governance.
Students of global environmental gover-
nance have highlighted the significant chal-
lenges that divergent policy approaches within
such a horizontally and vertically segmented
policy arena pose. First, lack of uniform poli-
cies may jeopardize the success of the policies
adopted by individual groups of countries or at
different levels of decision making. Regarding
climate policy,for instance, the global emissions
trading regime as envisaged by the 1997 Kyoto
Protocol may create perverse incentives if the
United States is not party to the mechanism.
Also, the possibly strong economic implications
of stringent environmental policies adopted by
one group of states may have severe ramifica-
tions for other policy arenas such as the world
trade regime (78). In addition, because a seg-
mented architecture decreases entry costs for
participants, it is also conceivable that business
actors use regulatory diversity to choose among
different levels of obligation, thereby starting a
race-to-the-bottom within and across industry
sectors. A further challenge is inconsistent de-
cision making under different regimes. Power
differentials are probably also crucial. As Ben-
venisti & Downs argue, fragmentation “func-
tions to maintain and even extend the dispro-
portionate influence of a handful of powerful
states—and the domestic interests that shape
their foreign policies—on the international reg-
ulatory order” (79). Powerful states thus have
the flexibility to opt for a mechanism that best
serves their interests and can create new agree-
ments if the old ones do not fit their interest
anymore (80).
By contrast, a segmented governance archi-
tecture may also have advantages. Distinct insti-
tutions allow for the testing of innovative policy
instruments in some nations or at some levels of
decision making, with subsequent diffusion to
other regions or levels (81, 82). Regulatory di-
versity might increase innovation at the level of
the firm or public agency and eventually in the
entire governance system. Important here is the
notion of diffusion of innovation, including in-
novations of policies, technologies, procedures,
and ideas. One example of this line of thought
is the proposal of Stewart & Wiener (83) that
the United States should stay outside the Ky-
oto Protocol and seek instead to establish a new
framework with China and, possibly, other key
developing countries. In their view, this would
address the world’s two largest greenhouse gas
emitters and allow for experimentation of alter-
native regulatory frameworks.
The increasing fragmentation and segmen-
tation of global environmental governance have
led also to important debates on political and
institutional reform, notably to the proposal
of a world environment organization. One ra-
tionale for such proposals is that strong and
powerful international bodies oriented toward
economic growth—such as the World Trade
Organization, the World Bank, or the Inter-
national Monetary Fund—are hardly matched
by UNEP, the modest UN program for envi-
ronmental issues. As a mere program, UNEP
has no right to adopt treaties or any regulations
upon its own initiative, it cannot avail itself of
any regular and predictable funding, and it is
subordinated to the UN Economic and Social
This situation has led to a variety of propos-
als to grant the environment what other policy
areas have long had: a strong international or-
ganization with a sizeable mandate, significant
resources, and sufficient autonomy. The de-
bate on such a world environment organization
has been going on for some time. Lodewalk & Global Environmental Governance 285
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ANRV357-EG33-12 ARI 15 September 2008 16:16
Whalley (84) have reviewed no less than 17 pro-
posals for a new organization, and they have not
even covered all proposals that can be found in
the literature, which dates back almost 40 years
to Kennan (1, 85). Many opponents of a new
agency have also taken the floor (for example,
86, 87).
Proponents of a world environment orga-
nization can be divided into a pragmatic and
more radical camp. The more radical strand
in the literature demands the abolition of ma-
jor agencies (such as the World Meteorologi-
cal Organization), the creation of a new agency
with enforcement power (for example, through
trade sanctions), or the creation of a new agency
in addition to UNEP, which would have to
transfer many of its functions to the new or-
ganization (88, 89). Today, most of these rad-
ical designs seem unrealistic. Abolishing UN
agencies has been rare in post-1945 history
and appears politically unfeasible or unnec-
essary for most agencies. Trade sanctions to
enforce environmental treaties would unfairly
focus on less powerful developing countries
while leaving the big industrialized countries
sacrosanct (90). Pragmatists, instead, propose
to maintain the current system of decentral-
ized, issue-specific international environmen-
tal regimes along with existing specialized or-
ganizations active in the environmental field
while strengthening the interests of environ-
mental protection by upgrading UNEP from
a mere UN program to a full-fledged interna-
tional organization. This organization would
have its own budget and legal personality, in-
creased financial and staff resources, and en-
hanced legal powers. In this model, a world en-
vironment organization would function among
the other international institutions and orga-
nizations, whose member states might then be
inclined to shift some competencies related to
the environment to the new agency. The ele-
vation of UNEP to a world environment orga-
nization of this type could be modeled on the
World Health Organization and the Interna-
tional Labor Organization, which are indepen-
dent international organizations with their own
membership. A new agency of this more modest
type is currently subject of international nego-
tiations, with a recent proposal by the French
government, now supported by over 50 nations,
to upgrade UNEP to a “United Nations Envi-
ronment Organization.”
Not the least, the increasing fragmentation
and segmentation of global environmental gov-
ernance reveal a substantial research agenda.
We now have a better understanding of the cre-
ation, maintenance, and effectiveness of inter-
national environmental regimes, as well as bet-
ter methodological tools to study these ques-
tions (6–8, 77, 91–99). It has been shown that
different international norms and verification
procedures, compliance management systems,
modes of regime allocation, as well as external
factors, such as the structure of the problem,
all influence regime effectiveness. Yet most of
these studies have focused on the effectiveness
of single institutions. Only recently have the
increasing number and scope of international
environmental institutions led to new research
on their interaction, for example, in studies on
regime interlinkages, regime clusters, or regime
complexes (for example, 87, 100–105).
These approaches to understanding the ef-
fectiveness and the interaction of different insti-
tutions had to be methodologically reductionist
to be successful. Distinct institutions, and dis-
tinct elements of larger institutions, have been
analyzed regarding their effectiveness and their
relationship with other institutions or institu-
tional elements. The macrolevel—that is, the
system of institutions in global environmental
governance—has remained largely outside the
focus of the major research programs. Given
the advances in regime theory and institutional
analysis, it appears that further progress now
requires a complementary research program
that analyzes this macrolevel: the overarching
“architecture” of global environmental gover-
nance (see in more detail 55, 106).
The current discourse on global environmen-
tal governance reveals that more theoretical
286 Biermann ·Pattberg
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ANRV357-EG33-12 ARI 15 September 2008 16:16
debate as well as empirical research is needed.
We have suggested a number of new research
areas and questions in the three sections above.
In addition, we believe that the research agenda
on global environmental governance should at-
tempt to include three additional types of ques-
tions that have been only insufficiently stud-
ied so far: change, allocative outcomes, and
First, we see an important research need to
develop a better understanding of the processes
of change in global environmental governance
and more general the institutional dynamics
that play an important role in the emergence,
evolution, and eventual effectiveness of institu-
tions. In more general terms, this is the ques-
tion of the adaptiveness and resilience of social-
ecological systems (107), as well as the research
quest to better understand learning processes
in global environmental governance (for exam-
ple, 108–113). This line of research should also
pay attention to the larger discursive struggles
about what constitutes effective and legitimate
global environmental governance.
In addition, it is important to have a stronger
focus for research on the governance of adap-
tation to widespread ecological change, notably
global warming and climate change. Most stud-
ies on international as well as national envi-
ronmental policy have focused on institutions
to mitigate environmentally harmful activities,
such as emission of pollutants, trade in harm-
ful substances or endangered species, or de-
struction of habitats. Only at the national and
local level, scholars have seriously begun to
study institutions and governance mechanisms
for adaptation to the impacts of global envi-
ronmental change and to investigate the ex-
tent to which local institutions and governance
systems allow for adaptation. Yet this research
eventually needs to evolve from local adapta-
tion research into a research program on the
core functions of global public policy. Much
research in these areas will require particular
attention to research methodology. Especially
when it comes to adaptation, global environ-
mental governance is called upon to analyze
and design governance systems that not only
respond to emergencies that are merely pre-
dicted for the future, but also are likely to ex-
ceed in scope and quality most of what is known
today. Adaptive governance systems that take
account of changes in monsoon patterns, large-
scale breakdowns of ecosystems, or modifica-
tions in thermohaline circulation will need to
deal with scales that are unprecedented. Al-
though traditional social science builds on the
development and testing of theories and hy-
potheses through historical experience, global
environmental governance, which is inherently
future oriented, increasingly has to rely on new
forms of evidence and new forms of validity and
reliability of empirical knowledge.
Second, we need to better understand the
accountability and legitimacy of global envi-
ronmental governance systems, both in their
own right and with a view of accountability and
legitimacy as intervening variables that affect
overall institutional effectiveness (114, 115).
In the twentieth century, legitimacy and ac-
countability were problems of national gov-
ernments. In the twenty-first century with its
new needs of global governance, accountabil-
ity and legitimacy appear in a different context.
Eventually, this comes down to the quest for
democratic global environmental governance.
In purely intergovernmental norm-setting pro-
cesses, legitimacy derives indirectly through the
accountability of governments to their voters.
Likewise, international bureaucracies can de-
rive legitimacy through their principals, the
governments, which are accountable to their
voters. However, such long lines of account-
ability have been questioned (116–118). Many
authors see a solution in the participation of
private actors in global governance. Problem-
atic are, however, the accountability and legit-
imacy of private actors themselves. Private or-
ganizations may derive legitimacy through their
members or donors, or from the environmental
good they seek to protect. Yet few citizens have
the means to donate time and money to philan-
thropic organizations. Given the financial re-
quirements of participation, more rights and Global Environmental Governance 287
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ANRV357-EG33-12 ARI 15 September 2008 16:16
responsibilities for nonstate actors in global en-
vironmental governance may also privilege rep-
resentatives of industry and business at the cost
of other groups. In the international context,
with its high disparities in wealth and power,
accountability and legitimacy of private actors
are even more complex.
This leads to a practical research challenge:
Because of these disparities, researchers need
to design, and practitioners to develop, institu-
tions that guarantee participation of civil society
in global environmental governance through
mechanisms that vouchsafe a balance of opin-
ions and perspectives. For example, networks of
transnational actors can seek to balance views
and interests through self-regulation, includ-
ing financial support for representatives from
developing countries. This is done, for in-
stance, through North-South quotas in meet-
ings and alliances of nonstate activists or in the
IPCC, as described above. In addition, private
rule-making organizations, such as the For-
est Stewardship Council, have institutionalized
detailed decision-making procedures that en-
sure equal consideration of social, environmen-
tal, and economic interests in sustainable for-
est management (57). Increasingly important
are also systems of transparency in global en-
vironmental governance that are still underre-
searched (119).
Third, we argue that with the increasing
relevance of global environmental governance,
allocation mechanisms and criteria—and thus
more broadly questions of equity and justice—
will become central questions to be addressed
by social scientists. More than the costs of mit-
igating global problems are at stake. Given
the large-scale and potentially disastrous conse-
quences of global environmental change, ques-
tions of fairness in adaptation will gain promi-
nence. Compensation and support through the
global community of the most affected and
most vulnerable regions, such as small island
states, will not only be a moral responsibility,
but also politically and economically prudent.
This situation calls for allocation modes that
all stakeholders in North and South perceive
as fair (120). Questions of allocation among
nations are especially contested in global en-
vironmental governance (121, 122). In partic-
ular, the causes and consequences of different
allocation mechanisms in global environmental
governance are still not sufficiently understood.
Little systematic analysis has been devoted to
studying allocation as independent variable and
to analyzing allocation mechanisms in relation
to the variant effectiveness of the core insti-
tutions of global environmental governance.
Hence, given the growing relevance of global
environmental change, allocation is certain to
become a major concern for researchers and
practitioners alike.
Last but not least, the very concept of
global environmental governance might be-
come an issue again for new debate and discus-
sion (123). Notably, a new long-term crosscut-
ting global research program on governance,
which is currently being developed under the
International Human Dimensions Programme
on Global Environmental Change, builds on
another, more recent concept: “Earth system
governance” (55). This new concept adds to
global environmental governance a new con-
notation that links institutional research to the
eventual core concern of environmental poli-
tics: the ongoing transformation of the entire
Earth system, from global warming, large-scale
changes in biogeochemical cycles to unprece-
dented rates of species loss. Earth system gover-
nance bridges levels from global to local as well
as academic communities from natural science–
oriented modeling and scenario building to po-
litical science and philosophy. Although the
concept of Earth system governance is still
fairly recent and requires more substantiation
in research, it might well emerge into a power-
ful new paradigm that describes the core gov-
ernance challenge that lies ahead: the long-
term transformation of the entire Earth system
driven by humankind.
288 Biermann ·Pattberg
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ANRV357-EG33-12 ARI 15 September 2008 16:16
1. The term global (environmental) governance is used in three different notions: as an
analytic description of current transformations of global politics, as a political program
in the affirmative sense, and as a political program in the critical sense.
2. In particular, global environmental governance describes world politics that are no longer
confined to the governments of nation states, but are characterized by increasing partic-
ipation and relevance of other actors. These nonstate actors include experts and scien-
tists, environmentalist nongovernmental organizations, business associations, cities and
provinces, as well as intergovernmental bureaucracies.
3. The increased participation of nonstate actors has also given rise to new forms of in-
stitutions in addition to the traditional system of legally binding documents negotiated
by states. More and more nonstate actors become formally part of norm-setting and
norm-implementing institutions and mechanisms in global environmental governance,
which denotes a shift from intergovernmental regimes to public-private and increasingly
private-private cooperation and global policy making.
4. The emerging global environmental governance system is finally characterized by an
increasing fragmentation and segmentation of different layers and clusters of rule making
and rule implementing.
5. Fragmentation increases both vertically—between supranational, international, national,
and subnational layers of authority (multilevel governance)—and horizontally between
different parallel rule-making systems maintained by different groups of actors (multi-
polar governance).
1. What are the overarching norms and principles of entire systems of governance that go
beyond single institutions?
2. How can such overarching systems, or architectures, of governance be best analyzed and
3. What is the relative performance of nonstate institutions and governance mechanisms?
4. How can we assess the legitimacy, accountability, and democratic quality of systems of
global environmental governance?
5. What is the role of different modes of allocation in global environmental governance,
and what are the allocative outcomes that different mechanisms of global governance
6. How can the current scope of the challenge, in particular the increasing transformation of
entire planetary biogeochemical systems, be best conceptualized in terms of governance
research? What would be the core elements, questions, and propositions of an integrated
theory of “Earth system governance”? Global Environmental Governance 289
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ANRV357-EG33-12 ARI 15 September 2008 16:16
The authors are not aware of any biases that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this
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Annual Review of
and Resources
Volume 33, 2008
Preface pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp
Who Should Read This Series? ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppvi
I. Earth’s Life Support Systems
Climate Modeling
Leo J. Donner and William G. Large ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp1
Global Carbon Emissions in the Coming Decades: The Case of China
Mark D. Levine and Nathaniel T. Aden ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp19
Restoration Ecology: Interventionist Approaches for Restoring and
Maintaining Ecosystem Function in the Face of Rapid
Environmental Change
Richard J. Hobbs and Viki A. Cramer ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp39
II. Human Use of Environment and Resources
Advanced Passenger Transport Technologies
Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp63
Giorgos Kallis pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp85
Sanitation for Unserved Populations: Technologies, Implementation
Challenges, and Opportunities
Kara L. Nelson and Ashley Murray pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp119
Forage Fish: From Ecosystems to Markets
Jacqueline Alder, Brooke Campbell, Vasiliki Karpouzi, Kristin Kaschner,
and Daniel Pauly pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp153
Urban Environments: Issues on the Peri-Urban Fringe
David Simon ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp167
Certification Schemes and the Impacts on Forests and Forestry
Graeme Auld, Lars H. Gulbrandsen, and Constance L. McDermott ppppppppppppppppppppp187
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III. Management, Guidance, and Governance of Resources and Environment
Decentralization of Natural Resource Governance Regimes
Anne M. Larson and Fernanda Soto ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp213
Enabling Sustainable Production-Consumption Systems
Louis Lebel and Sylvia Lorek ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp241
Global Environmental Governance: Taking Stock, Moving Forward
Frank Biermann and Philipp Pattberg ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp277
Land-Change Science and Political Ecology: Similarities, Differences,
and Implications for Sustainability Science
B.L. Turner II and Paul Robbins ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp295
Environmental Cost-Benefit Analysis
Giles Atkinson and Susana Mourato ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp317
A New Look at Global Forest Histories of Land Clearing
Michael Williams pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp345
Terrestrial Vegetation in the Coupled Human-Earth System:
Contributions of Remote Sensing
Ruth DeFries pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp369
A Rough Guide to Environmental Art
John E. Thornes ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp391
The New Corporate Social Responsibility
Graeme Auld, Steven Bernstein, and Benjamin Cashore ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp413
IV. Integrative Themes
Environmental Issues in Russia
Laura A. Henry and Vladimir Douhovnikoff ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp437
The Environmental Reach of Asia
James N. Galloway, Frank J. Dentener, Elina Marmer, Zucong Cai,
Yash P. Abrol, V.K. Dadhwal, and A. Vel Murugan pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp461
Cumulative Index of Contributing Authors, Volumes 24–33 ppppppppppppppppppppppppppp483
Cumulative Index of Chapter Titles, Volumes 24–33 pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp487
An online log of corrections to Annual Review of Environment and Resources articles may
be found at
viii Contents
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... First, the need to strengthen the ecosystem-based management approach (Weinstein et al., 2007) is emphasised because in ecosystem-based management the ecosystem becomes the focal point within the broader ecological, social, and economic context rather than specific sectors, projects or programmes, and management is achieved through cooperative governance across different sectors (Balchand et al., 2007;Moomaw, 1996;UNEP, 2006). Second, the implementation of the concepts of ocean zoning deriving from marine spatial planning (Agardy, 2010;Douvere, 2008;Ehler and Douvere, 2009;Gilliland and Laffoley, 2008;Halpern et al., 2008Halpern et al., , 2012Jentoft and Chuenpagdee, 2009) form a focus of attention and third, following Norse (2008) and Crowder and Norse (2008), the explicit expansion of cooperative environmental governance (Biermann and Pattberg, 2008;Cicin-Sain and Knecht, 1998;Hague and Harrop, 2007;Henocque, 2001;Paavola, 2006;Van Wyk, 2001) is identified as critical to effective ICM in future. Clearly there is a need to develop an implementation model that remains true to the conceptual underpinnings of ICM, incorporates the insights regarding the means by which implementation can be enhanced and yet accommodates the prevailing conditions of sector-based governance. ...
... The implementation of a management model is ultimately driven by people. The most important route to achieving implementation is sound institutional structures that include all relevant actors and that facilitate partnerships and collaboration between different sectors in government, business, civil society, and the scientific and professional communities (Biermann and Pattberg, 2008;Hague and Harrop, 2007;Paavola, 2006). Such institutional structures include cross-sectoral institutions (those facilitating collaboration and partnerships between the different sectors in 3 In this study compliance monitoring refers to the monitoring that is linked to a specific sector (or activity) to establish whether that sector or activity is complying with its specific strategies and action plans as well as the resource objectives of the coastal system that may be affected. ...
... In essence, the prototype model expands on the more traditional problem/issue-based approaches applied in many earlier ICM models e mostly grounded in the result-based management paradigm (Binnendijk, 2000;Dearden and Kowalski, 2003) e by incorporating elements that support the ecosystem-based management paradigm (Balchand et al., 2007;Moomaw, 1996;UNEP, 2006), the spatial planning paradigm (Agardy, 2010;Halpern et al., 2008;Jentoft and Chuenpagdee, 2009) and the cooperative environmental governance paradigm (Biermann and Pattberg, 2008;Cicin-Sain and Knecht, 1998;Hague and Harrop, 2007;Henocque, 2001;Paavola, 2006;Van Wyk, 2001). These paradigms are also identified in the literature as aspects to consider more seriously in the implementation of ICM (Crowder and Norse, 2008;Norse, 2008;Taljaard, 2011;Taljaard et al., 2011;Weinstein et al., 2007). ...
... Cette situation a créé des lacunes dans la gouvernance mondiale et a permis aux acteurs de la société civile d'assumer des rôles qui étaient autrefois le domaine exclusif des États-nations. 3 Toutefois, la prolifération des organisations sociales Chinoises 4 sur le plan national au cours des trois dernières décennies et la récente internationalisation de leurs activités suggèrent que nous devrions repenser les revendications de connaissances pour cette version conceptuelle de la société civile mondiale. Les organisations sociales Chinoises sont manifestement nées, se sont développées et ont prospéré dans un environnement institutionnel autoritaire national qui présente des caractéristiques différentes de celles de leurs homologues occidentales. ...
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La notion de société civile mondiale est née d'un langage, d'une culture et d'une définition influencés par la philosophie et le discours politiques occidentaux dominants, ainsi que par le rôle des ONG occidentales qui ont proliféré dans la dernière partie du XXe siècle. La récente montée en puissance des organisations sociales Chinoises au niveau international – qui ont vu le jour, se sont développées et ont prospéré dans un environnement institutionnel autoritaire national avec des valeurs et des normes différentes de celles de leurs homologues occidentaux – suggère de repenser la façon dont la société civile mondiale est conçue. En effet, alors que les organisations sociales Chinoises s'internationalisent, elles finissent par exporter vers les pays d'accueil leurs meilleures et pires pratiques, leurs modes de fonctionnement, leur comportement organisationnel, ainsi que leurs valeurs et normes. Cet article se penche sur les expériences des organisations sociales Chinoises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur du pays, et discerne comment leurs actions et leur comportement confirment, modifient et/ou rejettent potentiellement la compréhension conceptuelle contemporaine de la société civile mondiale.
... 153 У наукових дослідженнях Ф. Бірмана, Ф. Паттберга [322], А. Джордана, Р. Вурцела [454] та П. Невелла, П. Патберга [503] основною причиною необхідності залучення до механізму управління на рівні держави недержавних суб'єктів визначається неспроможність держави реагувати на різноманітні виклики та проблемні ситуації. Другою причиною є те, що недержавні суб'єкти об'єднуючись заради досягнення власних і спільних цілей, формують мережі суб'єктів управління, відповідно, «світова політика характеризується поширенням суб'єктів та появою нових форм глобального врядування і хоча урядові та міжурядові установи все ще можуть бути основою багатьох міжнародних політичних рішень, але недержавні суб'єкти та нові механізми управління дедалі частіше формують результати глобальної політики» [350]. ...
Монографію присвячено теоретичним, методологічним та прикладним засадам функціонування та розвитку національної туристичної системи (НТС). На основі узагальнення ґенези НТС визначено її як соціально-економічну систему, сформовано концептуальні засади та доведено транзитивність її розвитку. Розкрито детермінанти формування національної туристичної системи та запропоновано методологічний базис управління нею. Науково обґрунтовано глобальне портфоліо НТС, визначено важелі конкурентоспроможності, інвестиційної привабливості, запропоновано портфель параметрів для оцінки її результативності. На основі методології форсайту обґрунтовано структурні пріоритети розвитку національної туристичної системи, надано праксеологічні рекомендації щодо інклюзивного зростання та імплементації краудфандингових технологій у процес розвитку НТС. Призначено для науковців, викладачів, керівників і працівників туристичної сфери та тих, хто цікавиться питаннями розвитку туризму, а також дослідників, які вивчають науковий потенціал національної туристичної системи.
... Some authors trace the history of discourses and practices of "participation" to reforms associated with the first and second waves of neoliberalism, in which the state role shifted from one of "rowing" to "steering." This led to opening spaces for multistakeholder rather than state-led governance and creating a space for civil society to increase its role in governance (Biermann and Pattberg, 2008;Holmes and Scoones, 2000;Merino Acunã, 2015). Its origins in the environmental arena are largely traced to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment & Development ("Earth Summit") and Agenda 21 (UN, 1992), and its emphasis on the need for greater public involvement in the design and implementation of environmental policy (Holmes and Scoones, 2000). ...
This paper explores the significance of current paradigms for connecting across difference in environmental governance, with a focus on dominant practices and the erasures that occur in the process. It focuses on three core concepts and corresponding practices: rights (adhering to both persons and property, procedural, and substantive); recognition (of harms done, of those harmed, or of those deserving of special recognition); and participation (in which information, decision authority, and/or benefits are shared with affected populations). The paper begins with a literature review on the history and purported benefits of each of these concepts, the environmental arenas where they occur, and the critiques that are leveraged against them. To envision what it might look like to connect across difference differently, we situate these critiques in the literature on coloniality and use this to develop a conceptual framework for evaluating efforts to connect across difference in environmental governance. We then illustrate the application of this framework in the environmental arenas of biodiversity conservation and extractivism to crystalize through lived experiences what it means to operate inside of these paradigms and to move beyond them. The paper highlights how current paradigms for connecting across difference are deeply situated in (settler) colonial logics of hierarchies of value, state sovereignty, and Indigenous erasure. We conclude with a vision of how environmental governance can move beyond its current colonial hegemony by centering decolonial and abolition ecologies scholarship that decenters settler ontologies in favor of more radical alternatives for relating with the so-called “natural” world.
... The concept of global environmental governance has gradually emerged in the discourse system of international environmental politics [4][5][6][7]. Some scholars have pointed out that there are actually three different ways of using global environmental governance [8]. The global environmental governance referred to in this article is closer to the global environmental governance in the context of international environmental politics, that is, the mechanism for promoting the improvement of the global environment mainly through cooperation between governments and international organizations. ...
Full-text available
Global environmental governance is the fundamental way to solve the human environmental crisis. With China as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the development of China’s environmental law is a key component of global environmental governance. In order to better realize the construction of an ecological civilization, the compilation of China’s Environmental Code has been officially put on the work schedule of the legislature. The compilation of the code is a sincere action, showing that China has taken the initiative to assume its own responsibility for environmental governance. In the past 50 years, China’s environmental legislation has achieved a great leap forward: from nothing to something, from something to something more comprehensive. Aside from this progress, defects such as the internal imbalance of the environmental law system, the backwardness of some environmental legislation ideas, and the inability of environmental legislation and its academic research to fully match China’s national conditions also exist. With the helping hands of conditions and times, it is most appropriate for China to start the compilation of the Environmental Code now. Environmental Codes such as the Swedish Environmental Code, the French Environmental Code and the German Environmental Code (Draft of the Committee of Experts) provide many empirical references for the compilation of China’s Environmental Code. China will make important an contribution to world environmental governance again—an Environmental Code in line with international standards while maintaining native characteristics.
... Al igual que con la noción general de gobernanza, existen diferentes visiones respecto de lo que se entiende por Gobernanza Ambiental (GA). Según De Castro et al. (2015) la GA nace de la confluencia de tres diferentes escuelas teóricas, entre ellas, el nuevo institucionalismo (Ostrom, 1990;Young, 1999;Biermann y Pattberg, 2008), los estudios sociopolíticos (Kooiman et al., 2005;Lemos y Agrawal, 2006) y los enfoques socioculturales (Cleaver, 2002;Alimonda, 2006;Gudynas, 2011); escuelas que coinciden en considerar el comportamiento social hacia los recursos naturales como un "complejo mecanismo de interacciones formales e informales entre los agentes estatales y no estatales a través de diferentes escalas, impulsados por factores ecológicos y sociales" (De Castro et al., 2015). ...
Full-text available
La laguna Torca es uno de los humedales más importantes de la región del Maule, producto de las más de 90 especies de aves en diferentes categorías de conservación que habitan en él. No obstante, entre los años 2008 y 2016 se produjo un proceso de eutrofización, que ha afectado negativamente a la avifauna, la memoria colectiva de la comunidad local y a las actividades turísticas locales. Esto, pese a que el humedal cuenta con las categorías de Santuario de la Naturaleza y Reserva Nacional y está bajo la administración de la Corporación Nacional Forestal. El presente estudio tuvo por objetivo proponer lineamientos para el fortalecimiento de la protección del humedal Laguna Torca desde la perspectiva de la gobernanza ambiental. Para ello: (1) se analizó el marco normativo e indicativo aplicable y/o potencialmente aplicable a este ecosistema; (2) se analizó la red de actores con incidencia en la protección del humedal; y (3) se identificaron oportunidades y desafíos para la protección. A nivel general, los resultados indican que existe un escenario desfavorable para la protección del humedal, debido a: una incipiente y desactualizada planificación territorial que impide otorgarle un ordenamiento al territorio, la ausencia del ecosistema en el marco indicativo regional y comunal, una administración que ha carecido de un rol protagónico en la protección, un sector privado que no se ha asociado con el sector público, una agrupación indígena que ha sido excluida de las instancias de participación, la falta de un canal de comunicación que sea reconocido por la red en su conjunto y la presencia de acuerdos infructíferos que han impedido otorgar una solución efectiva al proceso de eutrofización. No obstante, también se identificaron oportunidades de protección en: la elaboración e implementación de instrumentos normativos e indicativos sinérgicos entre sí; la inclusión del cambio climático en la planificación territorial; potenciales agentes de cambio en la sociedad civil; un nuevo gobierno local preocupado por el medioambiente; la posibilidad de postular proyectos a fondos estatales; la creación de un sistema integrado de información ambiental; y el involucramiento de la comunidad en el desarrollo de un marco regulatorio afín al resguardo del humedal. Las oportunidades y desafíos confluyeron en cinco lineamientos de protección: (1) fortalecer la planificación territorial; (2) consolidar el liderazgo y la institucionalidad; (3) asegurar la sostenibilidad y solvencia de la protección; (4) estructurar un sistema de información y de comunicación coordinado y eficiente; y (5) desarrollar espacios para la participación ciudadana y construcción de acuerdos. Se sugiere que las orientaciones sean adoptadas desde una mirada estratégica e integral y no de forma separada. Este estudio conforma un insumo para mejorar la gobernanza del humedal Laguna Torca y un set de aprendizajes para el resguardo de los humedales del país. Finalmente, se recomienda a próximos investigadores adoptar nuevas perspectivas en la proposición de orientaciones, tal como podría ser un enfoque de gobernanza climática.
... A first wave of key literature explored two decades ago the (new) role and performance of nation states with regard to global environmental changes. Some authors argued that due to globalization pressures, nation states need to internationalize by engaging more in international cooperation, particularly in the field of environmental governance [23,24]. Others observed the greening of states through civil society pressure and discussed the interrelationship of ecological modernization and the (new) role of the environmental state [25], and a further perspective was directed towards analyzing the institutionalization of the environmental state by looking at the status of environmental capacity-building, comparing the development of the ecological state with the welfare state and making the argument for strengthening the state with regard to the (global) ecological crisis [15]. ...
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Thirty years after the seminal UN conference on environment and development, where the global agenda for sustainable development was agreed upon by the international community, uncountable initiatives in public policy, business and civil society have been activated. Despite all efforts, pressure on life-supporting Earth systems remain on an ecologically, socially and economically unsustainable pathway. Global collective action for sustainable development has so far been insufficient regarding the scientifically well-diagnosed need for substantial transformation. Given that the world remains a world of nation states, notwithstanding processes of globalization and transnationalization, internationalization and subnationalization, the quest for sustainable statehood is of utmost importance. Based on the expectations of nation states expressed in the UN Transformation Agenda 2030, it is argued that underlying and cross-cutting structures, procedures and instruments of statehood, which precede decision-making processes and policy-making in specific fields of sustainable development, such as climate change or biodiversity, are of key relevance. In this regard critical requirements and (pre-)conditions for sustainable statehood are discussed and design options for sustainable statehood in the Anthropocene are proposed.
... Many have also noted a broader structural shift in climate finance, whereby a proliferation of actors and intensification of interaction across governance levels is leading to a reconfiguration of agency and authority (Biermann & Pattberg, 2008;Bracking & Leffel, 2021). One way this manifests is in climate-relevant ministries taking the lead in new financial entities intended to capture and direct climate finance at the national level. ...
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International public finance plays an increasingly prominent role in global efforts to combat climate change and, as it grows, it faces a familiar challenge: governance. Global organizations not only disburse climate funding, but are also expected to ensure the “good governance” of climate programs in recipient countries. Many of these same organizations faced similar challenges in disbursing development finance. In what became known as the “institutionalist turn,” they sought to reform governance and build effective institutions in recipient countries. At first glance, the approach to governance in climate finance appears to be a continuation of these largely ineffective policies. I argue, however, that important structural differences between climate finance and development finance have been overlooked, and that these differences create space for alternatives approaches to governance. I first examine the literature on what led to the ineffectiveness of governance reforms tied to development finance, concluding that global organizations have been consistently unable to recognize and grapple with how power actually works in recipient countries, especially informal power. I then highlight three new principles underlying climate finance: (1) that it is restitution not aid, (2) that recipient countries should control resource allocation, and (3) that funding should support mitigation and adaptation. I demonstrate how each new principle has produced shifts in decision‐making authority away from contributors and toward recipient countries. I discuss how alternative approaches could emerge both from forums where recipient countries exercise newfound authority, and from experimentation on the part of multilateral organizations. This article is categorized under: Climate and Development > Social Justice and the Politics of Development Policy and Governance > Multilevel and Transnational Climate Change Governance
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Mineral resources as natural capital can be transformed into human, social and physical capital, that guarantees the sustainable development of a country, exclusively through professional public management. Public management of a country's mineral resource potential is seen as an element of transnational governance. Regulation involves the use of laws, rules and regulations within the jurisdictional and sectoral capabilities of the state, minimizing its involvement as a producer. The features of the ideology of economic liberalism, which polarizes the societies of raw material producing countries by imposing austerity, as well as lowering trade barriers have been studied. The analysis of the influence of the radical new order of neoliberal world ideology on the development of the extractive sector and the strengthening of state regulation has been presented.
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In this article we offer an initial critical assessment of the partnership strategy, based largely on an examination of the partnerships that emerged from the WSSD. The analysis starts with an overview of theoretical conjectures on the role of partnerships in global governance. It then proceeds to evaluate empirically the patterns of WSSD partnership structure and country participation and the implications for effective governance. Our primary conclusions can be summarized as follows: 1) The rationale for partnerships, in particular their comparative advantage, is underspecified, and the strategy is unlikely to be effective over time unless a more coherent understanding is developed; 2) the benefits of using the WSSD as a device to promote partnerships was very poorly articulated, and opportunities for more effective leadership were lost; 3) on balance the partnerships that emerged at the WSSD are supply driven rather than demand driven—they reflect ongoing implementation efforts more than new ideas for bridging core implementation gaps; 4) the promise of relying on partnerships to support a transition to ‘outcome-based’ decision making will fall flat unless a mechanism can be found to steer the partnership activity in a more demand-driven direction; 5) participation in the WSSD partnerships is uneven and mirrors rather than challenges prevailing patterns --disparities in power and priorities that have dominated intergovernmental discourse over the past decade are quite visible in these partnerships; 6) the question of how best to follow up on partnerships deserves much more critical thought than was possible leading up to Johannesburg -- effective follow-up will be constrained by divergent preferences among major stakeholders.
Dieser Bericht stellt die großen ökonomischen, ökologischen, gesellschaftlichen und politischen Herausforderungen der Zeit in klarer Sprache dar und gibt der Politik Handlungsempfehlungen. Alle wichtigen Bereiche werden dabei angesprochen. Jenseits der emotionalen Auseinadersetzung um die Auswirkungen der Globalisierung vermittelt der Bericht ein Bild von den Aufgaben, denen sich die deutsche und internationale Politik stellen müssen.
In their comprehensive analysis of the Kyoto Protocol and climate policy, Richard B. Stewart and Jonathan B. Wiener examine the current impasse in climate policy and the potential steps nations can take to reduce greenhouse gases. They summarize the current state of information regarding the extent of global warming that would be caused by increasing uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions. They explain why participation by all major greenhouse gas-emitting countries is essential to curb future greenhouse gas emissions and also note the significant obstacles to obtaining such participation. Stewart and Wiener argue it is in the national interest of the United States to participate in such a regime, provided that it is well designed. They discuss the elements of sound climate regulatory design, including maximum use of economic incentives, the comprehensive approach, and other flexibility mechanisms; participation by all major emitting countries, including developing countries; regulatory targets based on longer-term emissions pathways set to maximize net social benefits; and effective arrangements to ensure compliance with regulatory obligations by nations and sources. After evaluating the successes and failures of the Kyoto Protocol in light of those elements, the authors propose a series of U.S. initiatives at the international and domestic levels, with the aim of engaging the United States and major developing country emitters such as China in the global greenhouse gas regulatory effort and correcting the remaining defects in the design of the Kyoto Protocol. Although several alternatives to the current Kyoto Protocol regime have been proposed, Stewart and Wiener argue that the best approach for surmounting the current global climate policy impasse is a new strategy that would lead, sooner or later, to simultaneous accession by the United States and China (and other major developing country emitters) to a modified and improved version of the Kyoto Protocol agreement.
Climate change is one of the most challenging issues of our time. As key sites in the production and management of emissions of greenhouse gases, cities will be crucial for the implementation of international agreements and national policies on climate change. This book provides a critical analysis of the role of cities in addressing climate change and the prospects for urban sustainability. Cities and Climate Change is the first in-depth analysis of the role of cities in addressing climate change. The book argues that key challenges concerning the resources and powers of local government, as well as conflicts between local goals for economic development and climate change mitigation, have restricted the level of local action on climate change. These findings have significant implications for the prospects of mitigating climate change and achieving urban sustainability. This book provides a valuable interdisciplinary analysis of these issues, and will appeal to students and researchers interested in sustainability at local and global scales. © 2003 Harriet Bulkeley and Michele M. Betsill. All rights reserved.
Governance and sustainability are inextricably linked. In this chapter we discuss how different disciplinary approaches have framed the relationship between sustainability and governance. We identify and discuss two dominant perspectives: socio-political and socio-ecological. We argue that these two perspectives have structured debates on the alternative ways in which sustainable development and sustainability transitions can be promoted through “governance”. Each perspective has provided a particular conceptualization of governance by placing different emphases on power, scale, management, participation and solutions. However, the recent emergence of sustainability science has put forth the need to transcend these two dominant perspectives and re-think governance along a solution-oriented approach that promotes structural transformations, both socio-politically and socio-ecologically.
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