Environmental Governance Discussions at the UN Prepare Governments for Rio+20
On November 21st, 2011, at UN headquarters in New York City, the Permanent Mission of Norway convened a discussion panel on the environmental dimension of the Institutional Framework on Sustainable Development. The panelists included environmental experts Dr. Maria Ivanova of the University of Massachusetts Boston, Dr. Ole Kristian Fauchald of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Norway, and Dr. Tariq Banuri, former Director of the Division for Sustainable Development at the United Nations.
Leading up to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (set to take place June 20-22nd, 2012 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil), the UN has hosted panel discussions on the economic, social, and environmental aspects of sustainable development. The panel on November 21st, 2011 concerned the environment and addressed the following questions: What does ‘strengthening international environmental governance’ or ‘strengthening the environment pillar’ mean? What would be the implications of the reform options in the Nairobi-Helsinki Outcome to the delivery of results in the environmental field? What does the financial, legal, and political landscape look like? What powers and actions are necessary?
Dr. Maria Ivanova spoke of the need for legitimate authority, effective policy instruments, and a sound and compelling common narrative as key factors for strengthening international environmental governance. She also analyzed statements on environmental governance made by 54 countries involved in the environmental governance reform process since 2006 (a project of the Center for Governance and Sustainability). Center Research Associates Natalia Escobar, Cecilia Nardelli, and Caroline Amollo are engaged in this project. They discovered that the highest areas of interest regarding reform were increasing and improving UN inter-agency cooperation; sufficient, predictable, and coherent funding; and capacity building and technology transfers. These findings illustrate the importance on focusing on concrete, functional areas in the reform process.