Agenda & Sponsors

Global Environmental Governance Forum: Reflecting on the Past, Moving into the Future

Convened by:

The Global Environmental Governance (GEG) Project of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the College of William and Mary

In cooperation with

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and The Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center (HoA-REC)

With financial support from:

The United Nations Foundation, UNEP, HoA-REC, the Governments of Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, and the University of Geneva



  • Inspire and foster renewed global environmental governance leadership
  • Inject new vigor and thinking into the contemporary negotiations on international environmental governance and on climate change
  • Generate possible options for environmental governance reform and for an institutional architecture for climate change drawing on the collective knowledge of environmental leaders from several generations


  • What were the original visions that led to the creation of the current global environmental governance system?
  • What worked, what didn’t and why?
  • What are the core contemporary needs in global environmental governance?
  • How can current needs be addressed?
  • How can momentum for action be created?


  • Lessons from the past identified, including opportunities and constraints
  • Core needs and functions of a global environmental governance system outlined
  • Pathways for renewed leadership defined


June 28

5:30 – 9 pm Opening reception and dinner, hosted by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment at the Fairmont le Montreux Palace, Montreux

Welcome address by Bruno Oberle, Director of the Federal Office for the Environment

Remarks by Maria Ivanova, Director, Global Environmental Governance Project

Remarks by collaborators: Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP; Carlos Lopes, Executive Director, UNITAR; Araya Asfaw, Director, Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center; Mohamed El-Ashry, Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation; James Gustave Speth; Dean, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

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PHASE I: Learning across Generations

June 29

8:30 – 9:45 am         Introductions of participants and setting the stage: Maria Ivanova and Dan Esty

Report from the first meeting of the consultative group of ministers on international environmental governance, Belgrade, 27-28 June 2009

Achim Steiner

9:45 –  11:15 am       Session 1 (Plenary)

Conversation with the first generation of environmental leaders

What was your vision? What was the reality? What were the ingredients for success?

Conversation starters: Maurice Strong, Mostafa Tolba, John W. McDonald, Bill Ruckelshaus

Moderator: Mohamed El-Ashry

11:45 – 1:00 pm       Session 2 (Plenary)

Open Conversation: What worked, what didn’t and why?

In this session, we will focus on understanding the successes, pinpointing the problems and distilling the core lessons from the past, which, if heeded, would have a major, long-lasting impact.

Conversation starters: Peter Maurer, David Runnalls, Michael Zammit Cutajar

Moderator: Julia Marton-Lefèvre

1:00 – 2:30 pm        Lunch

2:30 –  4:30 pm       Session 3 (Plenary): Panel with all of UNEP’s Executive Directors

Where should UNEP be beyond 2012? How can we get there?

Maurice Strong, Mostafa Tolba, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Klaus Töpfer, and Achim Steiner

Moderator: Gus Speth

5:00 –  6:00 pm      Session 4 (Plenary)

Core lessons from the first forty years and their application to contemporary environmental challenges, including climate change

We will continue the discussion with Lars-Göran Engfeldt, author of the historical study From Stockholm to Johannesburg and Beyond and draw lessons for a possible Stockholm +40 and Rio +20 event in 2012.

Commentary: Jim MacNeill, Neric Acosta

Moderator: Philippe Roch

6:30pm                       Cocktails and Dinner

Entertainment provided by Tango Sensations, Argentine Tango

Rendition of the works of Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)

June 30

8:30 – 10:30 am      Session 5

What are current needs and required functions and how can they be met?

(Convene in plenary and continue as small groups)

Working in smaller groups, participants will build on the discussions during the previous day and elaborate a core set of functions at the global level.

11:00 –  12:30 pm   Session 6 (Plenary)

Contemporary Visions

Participants will present the conclusions of their small groups and collectively identify the magnitude and direction of the change needed to move from the status quo to where we want to be.

Commentary: Adnan Amin, Stephan Contius, David Runnalls, John Scanlon

Moderator: Yolanda Kakabadse

12:30 –  1:30 pm     Lunch

1:30 – 3:00 pm        Session 7 (Small groups)

Fostering momentum and leadership for change

Working in smaller groups, participants will address options for changes needed to achieve the identified functions; how to get from today’s to tomorrow’s global environmental governance system; and how to foster effective leadership.

3:30 –  5:00 pm       Session 8 (Plenary)

Political momentum ideas

Rapporteurs from the small groups will present their conclusions setting the stage for the discussion during Phase II of the Forum.

5:00 – 6:30 pm       Closing session (Plenary)

Moving into the future

In this session, we will tease out the main rationale for change and the core ideas for reform.

Conversation starters: Franz Perrez, Khaled Irani, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes

Moderator: Dan Esty

7:00 pm                      Dinner

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PHASE II: Enhancing Future Leadership for Action and Reform

Co-Moderators: Maria Ivanova, Achim Halpaap and Araya Asfaw

July 1

8:00 – 9:30 am        Session 1 (Plenary)

Setting the stage and stocktaking of expertise

In this session, we will introduce the plan for this phase of the Forum and take stock of the expertise of participants and their proposed commitments for action.

Moderator: Achim Halpaap

10:00 – 12:00 pm   Session 2 (Plenary)

What did we learn? What is still to be done?

In this session, we will summarize key lessons from the discussions with the founding generation and current leaders, map out key points of consensus and contestation, and identify areas where new leadership can make a difference. We will also seek to learn from existing networks in terms of substance and process.

Conversation starters: Satishkumar Belliethathan, Suzanne Biegel, Clara Nobbe

Moderator: Mamie Abidi Habib

12:00 – 1:00 pm      Lunch

1:00 –  3:00 pm       Free time (hike in the Glion vicinity for those willing to participate)

3:00 – 7:00 pm       Session 3 (Small groups and Plenary)

Designing change

Working in smaller groups, participants will outline the functions of an environmental governance reform leadership network in light of the needs identified in the previous sessions, craft commitments to concrete action by topic or constituency, and draw up a timeline. We will then reconvene in plenary to discuss the plan for the network.

Moderator: Araya Asfaw

7:00 pm                      Dinner

July 2

8:00 – 10:00 am     Closing session

Leading change

During this session participants will present their action plans developed in small groups and craft a message to be delivered at the Maurice Strong/IUCN Environmental Dialogue Meeting

Moderator: Maria Ivanova

12:00 pm                   Maurice Strong/IUCN Environmental Dialogue Meeting

Phase II Participants will deliver their filmed message of personal commitment to GEG to Maurice Strong and other attendees of the IUCN Environmental Dialogue meeting at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) headquarters in Gland, Switzerland.

6:30 – 8:30 pm         High-level Panel on the Future of International Environmental Governance.

Hosted by the University of Geneva and organized by Duke University and the GEG Project.

Panelists:                    John W. McDonald, Mostafa Tolba, Lumumba Di-Aping, John Scanlon

Moderators:             Maria Ivanova and Laurence Boisson de Chazournes

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The organizers would like to thank the following nations and organizations for their generous support of the Global Environmental Governance Forum in June 2009: