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Earth System Governance: A Core Research Project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change

Secretariat Influence in Global Environmental Governance

Secretariats—the administrative arms of international treaties—-would seem simply to do the bidding of member states. And yet, Sikina Jinnah argues in Post-Treaty Politics, secretariats can play an important role in world politics. On paper, secretariats collect information, communicate with state actors, and coordinate diplomatic activity. In practice, they do much more. As Jinnah shows, they can influence the allocation of resources, structures of interstate cooperation, and the power relationships between states.

World Politics in the Anthropocene

Humans are no longer spectators who need to adapt to their natural environment. Our impact on the earth has caused changes that are outside the range of natural variability and are equivalent to such major geological disruptions as ice ages. Some scientists argue that we have entered a new epoch in planetary history: the Anthropocene. In such an era of planet-wide transformation, we need a new model for planet-wide environmental politics. In this book, Frank Biermann proposes “earth system” governance as just such a new paradigm.

Critical Perspectives

Transparency—openness, secured through greater availability of information—is increasingly seen as part of the solution to a complex array of economic, political, and ethical problems in an interconnected world. The “transparency turn” in global environmental governance in particular is seen in a range of international agreements, voluntary disclosure initiatives, and public-private partnerships.

A New Approach to Evaluation and Comparison

Evaluating the effectiveness of international regimes presents challenges that are both general and specific. What are the best methodologies for assessment within a governance area and do they enable comparison across areas? In this book, Olav Schram Stokke connects the general to the specific, developing new tools for assessing international regime effectiveness and then applying them to a particular case, governance of the Barents Sea fisheries. Stokke’s innovative disaggregate methodology makes cross-comparison possible by breaking down the problem and the relevant empirical evidence.

The notion of global governance is widely studied in academia and increasingly relevant to politics and policy making. Yet many of its fundamental elements remain unclear in both theory and practice. This book offers a fresh perspective by analyzing global governance in terms of three major trends, as exemplified by developments in global sustainability governance: the emergence of nonstate actors; new mechanisms of transnational cooperation; and increasingly segmented and overlapping layers of authority.

Emergent Patterns in International Environmental Governance

International environmental regimes—institutional arrangements that govern human-environmental interactions—are dynamic, changing continuously over time. Some regimes go from strength to strength, becoming more effective over the years, while others seem stymied from the beginning. Some regimes start strong, then decline; others are ineffective at first but become successful with the passage of time. In Institutional Dynamics, Oran Young offers the first detailed analysis of these developmental trajectories.