Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2008

Global Environmental Institutions: Perspectives on Reform

Duncan Brack, Joy Hyvarinen

August 2002

Chatham House


One of the key issues on the agenda of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in August/September 2002 was 'international sustainable development governance' - how international institutions concerned with the nexus of economic, social and environmental issues should be structured. There is broad consensus that the international decision-making architecture in this area needs improving, but less agreement on what it should look like.

In this paper, four sets of authors give their perspectives on the debate. The first three sections, from Dan Esty and Maria Ivanova, Lee Kimball and Adil Najam, survey the broad sweep of international environmental institutions, while reaching rather different conclusions about a possible new organisation or mechanism; while the fourth, from Konrad von Moltke, concentrates on a key component of international environmental governance, the array of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).