Part Two Global Environmental Organizations and Institutions

Part Two looks at global environmental organizations and institutions. It begins with Frank Biermann's chapter on global environmental governance regimes. Biermann begins by defining the term "global governance" as new forms of regulation that differ from traditional hierarchical state activity ("government"). Governance, the author suggests, implies self-regulation, public-private cooperation, and new forms of multilevel policy efforts. The chapter reviews some of the disagreement in terms of how governance is defined, with normative approaches differing from phenomenological ones. From a phenomenological framework, global governance is an emerging new phenomenon in world politics that can be described and analyzed. From a normative framework, global environmental governance is a political program that is coping (or failing to cope) with contemporary problems associated with modern environmental issues. Biermann describes three features that make global governance different from traditional international relations: increased segmentation of policy making, increased participation of nonstate and intergovernmental actors, and increased influence of private organizations in policy making. The chapter concludes with two examples of reform in the existing system of global environmental governance: the United Nations Environment Organization and institutionalizing civil society involvement.

In "The Role of the United Nations: From Stockholm to Johannesburg," Lisa Nelson explores the role the United Nations has played as the world moved toward globalization and began to consider seriously the interconnection between development and environmental deterioration. The author argues that the UN first recognized the potential conflict between development and the environment in the early 1970s, and since then has woven a concern for the environment into all development programs and a concern for development into all environment programs. In addition, acknowledgment of global interdependence and transnational environmental issues has led to a series of international conventions or treaties that are administered by the UN. Despite the lack of enforcement capability, Nelson suggests that the UN has successfully constructed a world environmental regime that addresses long-term issues of environmental degradation. In addition, the UN has not only been the force behind defining sustainable development, it also has served as the driving force for demanding an integration of social, economic, and environmental factors. The chapter reviews the sustainable development efforts undertaken by the UN from the 1972 meeting in Stockholm to the 2002 meeting in Johannesburg.

One obvious manifestation of globalization is trade, and with trade comes environmental impact. Helping to shape these issues are international institutions like the WTO—the focus of Fariborz Zelli's contribution to this handbook. The relationship between trade and the environment and the role of the WTO in mediating that relationship is not all at once clear. Skeptics contend that the WTO and international trade liberalization will harm the environment by, for example, creating a race to the bottom in environmental standards, shifting environmental risks to less-developed countries, and encouraging economic growth and the concomitant exploitation of resources. On the other hand, those holding more optimistic views suggest that the WTO can positively affect environmental performance in global trade by raising environmental awareness and facilitating the dissemination of environmentally preferable technologies and products. Zelli's chapter provides a comprehensive examination of this trade-environment nexus. First, he presents various (and, at times, conflicting) assumptions about trade-environment compatibility. Next, he reviews the WTO's environmentally-related organizational arrangements and their record, to date, in handling environmentally related trade disputes. The chapter concludes with a discussion of potential strategies for improving WTO compatibility with environmental law. In its totality, Zelli's chapter vividly illustrates the complexity of sorting out the relationship between global trade and the environment, as well as the need for additional empirical evidence to serve as the basis for future informed action.

Nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, are playing increasingly important roles in a variety of policy domains, including environmental. Kyle Farmbry and Aroon Manorahan examine this emergence of NGOs in their chapter "United Nations Conferences and the Legitimization of Environmental NGOs." The authors describe the confluence of events that served to increase the legitimacy and prominence of NGOs during the latter part of the twentieth century. Using the framework of the United Nations' environmental conferences, the evolutionary development of NGOs' roles is explicated. The authors argue that this development now places NGOs at a critical juncture in terms of the scope of their roles and activities relative to other legitimate players. They suggest that a model of NGOs as partners in change, as opposed to drivers of change, may be emerging. Building on this suggestion, Farmbry and Manor-ahan develop a prescriptive framework for furthering the discourse on the nongovernmental sector, with emphasis placed on issues of capacity development and long-term sustainability, and ensuring states maintain their environmental responsibilities.

Brent S. Steel and Rebecca L. Warner's chapter analyzes the state of global environmental knowledge and awareness from an international and comparative perspective. They begin by noting contributing factors (e.g., socioeconomic status, sources of environmental information, formal environmental educational) to a perceived knowledge gap in worldwide ecological science literacy. Next, Steel and Warner assess the current state of global environmental awareness and knowledge. They present survey data that suggest both are high regardless of type of country (i.e., developing, current/former communist, industrial/postindustrial), a finding that augers well for global environmental education efforts. Speaking of such efforts, the authors submit that a one-size-fits-all approach to environmental education will be ineffective. Some countries (e.g., postcommunist countries with high literacy and education participation rates but underdeveloped civil societies) may benefit most from formal education approaches through schools, while others (e.g., developing countries) may benefit most from "hybrid" approaches that combine both formal and informal elements, including indigenous knowledge. Whether the approach be formal, informal, or hybrid, the authors note the existing general agreement that environmental education should contain four components: providing information on ecological concepts, raising awareness of how human behavior affects the environment, offering opportunities for investigating and evaluating environmental solutions, and developing skills to implement those solutions. Steel and Warner conclude by posing the challenge of translating environmental awareness, knowledge, and education into behavior supporting sustainability if the "attitude-behavior gap" is to be closed.

Negotiating Essentials

Negotiating Essentials

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