France Prepares for Rio+20
On January 30 and 31, two conferences dealing with environmental governance took place in Paris, France. At the Institute of Political Science in Paris (SciencePo), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations hosted a workship entitled, “The Role of International Environmental Governance in Strengthening Stustainable Development Reform in the Run Up to Rio+20.” Simultaneously, the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transportation and Housing and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs hosted a conference entitled, “Towards New Global Governance for the Environment.”
Both conferences come at a time when governments are preparing their foreign and environmental ministries for the negotiations at Rio+20 in June. The French government, in particular, has been vocal in its support for creating a UN Specialized Agency for the Environment capable of centralizing international efforts for environmental protection and sustainable development. Fittingly, the conference at the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs centered on three topics: how to structure the new environmental system, how to ensure that valid scientific findings are integrated into global environmental policy, and how to ensure a democratic, multi-level model of governance.
At both conferences, scientific and governance policy experts, representatives from civil society organizations, and government officials were involved in the dialogue. Notable participants at “Towards New Global Governance for the Environtment” included Prof. Maria Ivanova, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, President of the UN General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, and Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO.