Special Issue "Global Environmental Policy and Governance in Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Human Geography and Social Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 March 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Maria Ivanova
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125-3393, USA
Interests: global governance; resilience and fragility; international organizations; science-policy interface; environmental conventions; climate change governance; United States foreign environmental policy; United Nations reform; sustainability on campuses and in organizations; Sustainable Development Goals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

“Reform is not a onetime action, it is a permanent attitude,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized upon taking office in 2017. Reform is indeed a perpetual state for the United Nations because the problems it seeks to address evolve over time and require new approaches and actions. However, reform also requires learning from past achievements and challenges. As the state of the global environment deteriorates progressively, governments and citizens are questioning the effectiveness of global environmental policy and governance. The system centers around the United Nations Environment Programme, the anchor institution for the global environment, and a series of multilateral environmental agreements on specific environmental issues. What have we accomplished through these institutions and why? Where have we encountered difficulties? And what can be done to improve environmental policy and governance in order to attain sustainability?

This Special Issue assesses the achievements and challenges in environmental governance globally and regionally, discusses the implementation of the reform efforts in environment and sustainable development to date, and offers a range of possible innovations in environmental policy and governance that would contribute to sustainability. It seeks to inform the reform initiatives in the United Nations and the debates within national governments and thus engages a number of scholars, policymakers, experts, and public opinion influencers from around the word.

Prof. Maria Ivanova
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • global environmental policy
  • global environmental governance
  • sustainability
  • UN reform
  • 2030 Agenda
  • science-policy interface
  • multistakeholder governance

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Outcome of the Negotiations on the Global Pact for the Environment: A Commentary
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 877; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030877 - 24 Jan 2020
Abstract
In May 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment”. This resolution established an intergovernmental working group to discuss the opportunity to open treaty negotiations to codify the fundamental principles of international environmental law into [...] Read more.
In May 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment”. This resolution established an intergovernmental working group to discuss the opportunity to open treaty negotiations to codify the fundamental principles of international environmental law into a treaty dubbed the Global Pact for the Environment. In May 2019, the intergovernmental working group completed its mandate and adopted a set of recommendations that were formally endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in August 2019. Contrarily to what the supporters of the Global Pact for the Environment project had hoped for, the working group only recommended the preparation of a “political declaration” without referring to the codification of the principles of international environmental law. This paper offers a critical commentary of the outcome of these negotiations. The analysis suggests that the decision to elaborate a Global Pact for the Environment would have entailed considerable risks for international environmental law and that if adopted, this instrument would not have necessarily helped to increase the problem-solving capacity of international environmental law. Based on the language used in the recommendation to prepare a “political declaration”, the paper also discusses some of the key elements that could shape and inform the upcoming negotiations of this declaration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Environmental Policy and Governance in Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Intergenerational Dialogue, Collaboration, Learning, and Decision-Making in Global Environmental Governance: The Case of the IUCN Intergenerational Partnership for Sustainability
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020498 - 08 Jan 2020
Abstract
This article provides evidence and a rationale based on adaptive governance studies for why creating meaningful youth engagement should be understood in terms of intergenerational dialogue, collaboration, learning, and substantive decision-making in global environmental governance. We have centered our discussion on the International [...] Read more.
This article provides evidence and a rationale based on adaptive governance studies for why creating meaningful youth engagement should be understood in terms of intergenerational dialogue, collaboration, learning, and substantive decision-making in global environmental governance. We have centered our discussion on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as the largest global conservation organization. Through an organizational ethnography approach, we have demonstrated how generational concerns within the IUCN have been framed in terms of participation, and then present the IUCN Intergenerational Partnership for Sustainability (IPS) as a case study of a grassroots movement that is focused on transforming the IUCN towards being a fully intergenerational global governance system for nature conservation. We have described the development of intergenerational thinking and action within the IUCN, and discussed intergenerational governance as being essential for addressing nature conservation challenges faced by local communities in times of increasing global uncertainty. We conclude by providing recommendations for enhancing intergenerational dialogue and building intergenerational governance structures within global conservation organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Environmental Policy and Governance in Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Earth System Law for the Anthropocene
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6796; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236796 - 29 Nov 2019
Abstract
Law has failed to address the ever-deepening socio-ecological crisis of the Anthropocene. In the light of, and as a response to, law’s failures in this respect, this paper argues in support of developing a new legal paradigm for the Anthropocene epoch called Earth [...] Read more.
Law has failed to address the ever-deepening socio-ecological crisis of the Anthropocene. In the light of, and as a response to, law’s failures in this respect, this paper argues in support of developing a new legal paradigm for the Anthropocene epoch called Earth system law. It does so first by briefly describing the Anthropocene trope and the extent and dimensions of its socio-ecological crisis. The paper then specifically focuses on international environmental law as an example of how and why law has become incapable of, and inappropriate for, addressing this crisis, and for being unable to respond to the Anthropocene’s regulatory demands. By drawing on three Earth system-related regulatory implications of the Anthropocene trope (i.e., inclusivity, interdependencies and complexity), the final part of the paper makes out a case in support of reforming law and creating a new Earth system oriented legal paradigm that is fit for purpose in the Anthropocene epoch. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Environmental Policy and Governance in Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Rethinking Institutional Knowledge for Community Participation in Co-Management
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5788; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205788 - 18 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Critics of participation often examine the undesirable consequences of state-led systems without much analysis of institutional knowledge at the local level. In this paper, we investigate whether smaller institutions could offer useful knowledge for meeting the development needs of local people. Using participation [...] Read more.
Critics of participation often examine the undesirable consequences of state-led systems without much analysis of institutional knowledge at the local level. In this paper, we investigate whether smaller institutions could offer useful knowledge for meeting the development needs of local people. Using participation theory and related literature on development and power, we investigate a co-management system in communities around Mount Cameroon National Park (MCNP), in sub-Saharan West Africa. Our study adopts a multimethod approach to survey officials in 16 agencies and locals in 17 village groups. The findings indicate factors that hinder the effectiveness of local participation and avenues by which institutional knowledge can be customized to meet local development priorities. This system of participation, we conclude, could work better through open dialogue that is explicitly accountable and transparent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Environmental Policy and Governance in Sustainability)
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