The Quest for Global Sustainability: International Efforts on Linking Environment and Development
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CitationSelin, Henrik, and Björn-Ola Linnér. “The Quest for Global Sustainability: International Efforts on Linking Environment and Development.” CID Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Working Paper Series 2005.5, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, January 2005.
AbstractThis paper analyzes global cooperation and policy making on the integration of environment and development issues over the 20th century up until the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The paper applies four analytical perspectives to these issues: the emergence and influence of an international environment and development discourse; an international political push for more multilateralism and building of new multilateral institutions; power politics including the influence of Cold War relations; and North-South politics and conflicts. These analytical perspectives are applied through four historical periods. First, we study how early international action on species protection and natural resource management were expanded into a broader environment and development agenda in the 1960s. Second, we examine the preparations for, holding of and outcomes of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Third, we study the international debate and policy actions on environment and development issues in the early 1970s to early 1980s. Fourth, we examine environment and development events and actions in the early 1980s through to the decision by the UN General Assembly to organize UNCED.
Much of the existing literature on international cooperation and policy making on sustainable development looks at this issue from a comparatively short historical perspective. In this paper, we argue that there is a need for a much more detailed examination of pre-UNCED events on environment and development, which are an important part of international politics that have not yet been subject to much sustained analytical attention and in-depth analysis. Studying these early efforts on environment and development issues in more detail will help us better understand conceptual and political backgrounds to UNCED and ongoing efforts on sustainable development. We argue that all four analytical perspectives provide important insights into global cooperation and policy making on environment and development issues through all four historical periods. There are moreover often strong connections between different policy efforts over time, as one event is shaped by and builds on earlier ones. Examining specific explanatory factors, North-South politics and conflicts are increasingly important in the post-WWII
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37366427