SDG & Good Governance

Environmental governance is a concept in political ecology and environmental policy that advocates sustainability as the supreme consideration for managing all political and socio-economic activities. IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) defines environmental governance as the 'multi-level interactions among local, national, international/global levels, but not limited to, three main actors, such as state, market, and civil society, which interact with one another, whether in formal and informal ways; in formulating and implementing policies in response to environment-related demands and inputs from the society; bound by rules, procedures, processes, and widely accepted behavior; possessing characteristics of “good governance”; for the purpose of attaining environmentally-sustainable development' (IUCN 2014). However, key principles of environmental governance include: embedding the environment in all levels of decision-making and action; conceptualizing cities and communities, economic and political life as a subset of the environment; emphasizing the connection of people to the ecosystems in which they live; and promoting the transition from open-loop/cradle-to-grave systems (like garbage disposal with no recycling) to closed-loop systems (like permaculture and zero waste strategies). It views natural resources and the environment as global public goods, belonging to the category of goods that are not diminished when they are shared. This means that everyone benefits from a breathable atmosphere, stable climate and stable biodiversity.
Despite a great awareness of environmental issues among the developed and developing nations, there are still environmental degradation and the advent of new environmental problems and challenges around the globe. This situation is caused by the perilous state of global environmental governance. Current state of global environmental governance is unable to address these environmental problems and challenges. There are many factors identified behind this situation that include fragmented governance within the United Nations, lack of involvement from financial institutions, proliferation of environmental agreements often in conflict with trade measures. All these factors disrupt the appropriate functioning of global environmental governance. Moreover, divisions among northern countries and the persistent gap between developed and developing nations also have to be taken into account to comprehend the institutional failures of the current global environmental governance.
Nonetheless, the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) put environmental sustainability at the core of sustainable development. There is a widespread recognition that the achievement of the SDGs implies a transformation of the global development trajectory. This transformation requires a shift from prioritizing economic growth as a foundation for social welfare to a greater emphasis on sustainability and overcoming the current trends of social inequality and environmental degradation. However, the challenges related to this transformation suggest a change in the way development is managed. Current sectoral approaches should be gradually substituted by more integrated approaches that balance at the level of public policies, social development with the sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems, as well as, inclusive and sustainable economic development. In this context the Center for Environment and Sustainability intends to work for the identification of the various problems and challenges of environmental sustainability around the globe, as well as, offer ways to overcome those to achieve the goals of sustainable development and a green world. With the adoption of the Agenda 2030 far-reaching policy goals were formulated. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) requires strong political institutions and processes. SDG 16 (“Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies”) explicitly acknowledges this need and prescribes “effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” These requirements go well beyond the performance-oriented notion of good governance and hint to democratic standards.

Good public governance is essential to achieve overall and individual goals:

Goal 2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition

Goal 9

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

Goal 5

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 11

Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 6

Available and sustainable water management and sanitation

Goal 16

Access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.


Research Group Members -