Governing the Environment: Three Motivating Factors

| December 11, 2015
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Governance arrangements have become increasingly complex over time, such that today everything from the Internet to medicine and warfare is subject to some form of governance at the global level. Notably, these changes in global governance can come slowly or quickly, depending on circumstances. For example, evolutionary change is evident in the establishment of new treaties and protocols on regulating the various aspects of war and its aftermath—an area where the list of agreements is long and growing. But change can also happen very quickly as new mechanisms—for example, for coordinating states’ responses during pandemics—are established during crises.

Global governance is organized around traditional forms of intergovernmental organizations (IOs) being delegated tasks that states will not or cannot undertake in isolation, as well as a great variety of private and hybrid governance arrangements that also include nonstate actors (individuals, regional bodies, nongovernmental organizations, and so on) as bearers of authority. This essay focuses on what motivates agents to change governance arrangements, using global environmental governance as a reference case.

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Category: Environment, Climate Change, Sustainability, Global Governance, Issue 29.4, Roundtable: Change and Continuity in Global Governance

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