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  • Author or Editor: Lena Partzsch x
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Climate change has recently received a lot of attention, but global environmental governance deals with a much broader range of problems, including deforestation, ocean pollution and freshwater scarcity. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an effort to integrate environmental governance and socio-economic development. This volume provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the most important areas of global sustainability governance for the environment. Authors highlight the prevailing, but controversial, perception of the environment as a global commodity. Actors and institutions demonstrate the highly fragmented and polycentric landscape of global sustainability governance. Planetary boundaries do not contradict development goals per se. However, innovative and alternative forms of governance that integrate environmental, social and economic goals are limited to voluntary actions. There are alarming signs that governments are generally trading off the environment in implementation. There is hence a need to consider seriously what comes after the SDGs and whether to continue along the chosen paths.

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Climate change has recently received a lot of attention, but global environmental governance deals with a much broader range of problems, including deforestation, ocean pollution and freshwater scarcity. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an effort to integrate environmental governance and socio-economic development. This volume provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the most important areas of global sustainability governance for the environment. Authors highlight the prevailing, but controversial, perception of the environment as a global commodity. Actors and institutions demonstrate the highly fragmented and polycentric landscape of global sustainability governance. Planetary boundaries do not contradict development goals per se. However, innovative and alternative forms of governance that integrate environmental, social and economic goals are limited to voluntary actions. There are alarming signs that governments are generally trading off the environment in implementation. There is hence a need to consider seriously what comes after the SDGs and whether to continue along the chosen paths.

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Agenda 2030 has been characterized as universal, transformative and integrative. The introductory chapter reviews the debate on environmental sustainability in the document. Tensions between environmental governance and socio-economic development are the central conceptual concern of the book. While ecologists have long demanded that planetary stability be integrated with United Nations targets to fight poverty and secure human well-being, the response to Agenda 2030 has been mixed in this regard. Against the backdrop of this debate, this chapter identifies the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) crucial for a transition to environmentally salient sustainability. There is a broad consensus that the environmental core of Agenda 2030 consists of SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation), SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 14 (Life below water) and SDG 15 (Life on land). The chapter explains how these ‘green’ goals interact with the other SDGs. It introduces the chapters of this volume and shows how they are linked to each other.

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Comparing the chapters’ answers to the key questions, this synthesis chapter aims to bring together the many open ends in environmental governance research. There is a prevailing, but controversial, perception of the environment as a global commodity. As a result of the prevalence of this perception, socio-economic development continues to be prioritized often at the expense of ecosystem protection. With regard to actors and institutions, while the development of centralized environmental governance has failed, a polycentric world order has emerged including networks of environmental pioneers. On the one hand, scholars agree that the fragmented international landscape constitutes a challenge for coherent action and coordinated cooperation in addressing environmental issues. On the other hand, as reform is needed in response to the multiple crises of our time, there is also a chance for bottom-up initiatives to succeed. There is a broad variety of commitment by subnational units such as city networks. Great hope also lies in partnerships with business actors and civil society initiatives.

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Perceptions, Actors, Innovations
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EPDF and EPUB available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND license.

With Agenda 2030, the UN adopted wide-ranging Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that integrate development and environmental agendas. This book focuses on the political tensions between the environmental objectives and socio-economic aspects of sustainable development.

The collection provides an introduction to interlinkages, synergies and trade-offs between the ‘green’ and other goals, such as gender equality and economic growth. It also considers related goals on cities and partnerships as crucial for implementing environmentally sound sustainability. Identifying governance failures and responsibilities, it advocates for a shift towards cooperative economics and politics for the common good.

Open access

Climate change has recently received a lot of attention, but global environmental governance deals with a much broader range of problems, including deforestation, ocean pollution and freshwater scarcity. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an effort to integrate environmental governance and socio-economic development. This volume provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the most important areas of global sustainability governance for the environment. Authors highlight the prevailing, but controversial, perception of the environment as a global commodity. Actors and institutions demonstrate the highly fragmented and polycentric landscape of global sustainability governance. Planetary boundaries do not contradict development goals per se. However, innovative and alternative forms of governance that integrate environmental, social and economic goals are limited to voluntary actions. There are alarming signs that governments are generally trading off the environment in implementation. There is hence a need to consider seriously what comes after the SDGs and whether to continue along the chosen paths.

Open access

The world is facing severe levels of food insecurity and environmental degradation related to agri-food practices. Against this backdrop and building on norm research in international relations, this chapter traces the historical phases of norm development in global agri-food governance since the Second World War. The chapter outlines that food security has been at the core of a norm cluster, in addition to improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture. As a core norm, food security perpetuates approaches that are primarily designed to increase agri-food production and technological innovations and that do not inherently consider ecosystem maintenance. In this line, although SDG 2 (Zero hunger) formally integrates different agri-food norms, the dominance of food security continues to hinder environmentally salient governance approaches. Alternative policy actors, such as organic and food sovereignty movements, have not yet succeeded in their promotion of sustainable agriculture.

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