Founded in 1998 at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, the Global Environmental Governance Project explores strategies for addressing existing and emerging environmental problems at the global level. Supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the initial phase of the project convened an informal group of individuals interested in the performance of the international environmental architecture.

Comprising government officials, leaders of non-governmental and international organizations, and members of the business and academic communities, all in their individual capacities, the group discussed the range of challenges and opportunities in making the international response to environmental challenges more effective and efficient. The group explored options for consolidating, streamlining, and strengthening existing elements of UN systems devoted to the environment and set the stage for a sustained dialogue on the analytics and politics of global environmental governance reform.

Over the years, the group has expanded in numbers and outreach as well as deepened its analysis of the problems at hand and the strategies for moving forward. From 2005 to 2010, while Project Director Dr. Maria Ivanova served on the faculty at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, the Global Environmental Governance Project operated as a joint initiative between the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the College of William and Mary.

Engaging researchers and students at Yale, William and Mary, and other institutions around the world, the GEG Project conducts research that is theoretically based, empirically tested, and policy relevant.

From 1 September 2010, the Global Environmental Governance Project will operate at the University of Massachusetts Boston.