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Institutional Failures of the Global Environmental Governance

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  1. Abstract.
  2. Introduction.
  3. Necessity of global environmental governance.
    1. The environment: A global common.
    2. Rapid environmental awareness: Stockholm to Rio.
  4. Environmental governance within the United Nations.
    1. The UNEP: A mission beyond its bounds.
    2. Lack of coordination between UN agencies.
  5. Lack of implementation from financial organizations.
    1. The World Bank.
    2. The International Monetary Fund.
  6. Conflict between trade and environment.
    1. Relationship between the MEAs and the WTO.
    2. Case Study: Climate change versus trade measures.
  7. Behind the institutions: The member states.
    1. Divisions among Northern countries: The case of the United States.
    2. Northern dominance of governance.
    3. What about the Southern hemisphere?
  8. Conclusion.
  9. References.

Despite a great awareness of environmental questions from developed and developing countries, there is a degradation of environmental issues and an appearance of new environmental problems. This aggravation of environmental matters is due to the inefficient state of the global environmental governance. This situation where the actual global environmental governance is unable to address environmental issues is due to many factors. The fragmented governance within the United Nations, the lack of involvement from financial institutions, the proliferation of environmental agreements often in conflict with trade measures are various problems troubling the good functioning of the global environmental governance. Moreover, divisions among Northern countries and the persistent gap between developed and developing countries are also to take into account to comprehend the institutional failures of the current global environmental governance.The management of our planet and its resources relies on combined efforts and collective action. The increase of environmental issues worldwide has made this necessity even more urgent. Unfortunately for our planet, collective efforts are either weak or uncoordinated. It is what we call ineffective global environmental governance.
According to Adil Najam, ?global environmental governance (GEG) is understood as the sum of organizations, policy instruments, financing mechanisms, rules, procedures and norms that regulate the processes of global environmental protection? (Najam 2006).

[...] Therefore, instead of resulting in a constructive dialogue and collaboration among agencies, it leads to a competition that slows down the good process of global environmental governance Lack of coordination between United Nations agencies One of the great failures of the global environmental governance is the dispersion of energy and efforts to address environmental problems. The structure and organization of the United Nations agencies is the perfect example to illustrate this issue. Indeed, there are almost ten United Nations agencies dealing with the environment: the UNEP, the assigned leader body; the UNDP, promoting development; the GEF, as the financial mechanism; the CSD, encouraging sustainable development; but also the World Meteorological Organisation working on climate and atmosphere; the Food and Agriculture Organisation protecting agriculture, forests and fisheries worldwide; and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), assessing nuclear security, to mention only few (Esty 2002). [...]


[...] Even though great efforts to consider environmental issues have appeared within financial institutions in recent years, the World Bank and the IMF still have a lot to achieve in order to contribute as much as they can to global environmental governance The World Bank The first role of the World Bank is to take care of financial matters linked to economic development. As the notion of sustainable development has appeared in the World Bank's agenda and is becoming an essential part of its policies, environmental matters have started to become increasingly more important, too. [...]


[...] In order to keep going in that direction, developing countries need to be convinced of their significant environmental responsibilities and encouraged to take more action into the global environmental governance on issues such as climate change. For example, developing countries should be ready to get involved with the Kyoto protocol without waiting for ratification by the United States. Finally, to refocus on the scope of this paper, the North and the South mainly diverge on the vision they have of the global environmental governance and its institutions. [...]

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