The Architecture of “IEG”

The Architecture of “IEG”

Originally published on the Earth System Governance website…

Report on Conversation Café on the Architecture of International Environmental Governance

by Norichika Kanie and Michele Betsill • 25-06-2011

Conversation Café on the Architecture of International Environmental Governance, May 19, 2011, Colorado Conference on Earth System Governance, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. Funded by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnerships. Report prepared by Norichika Kanie, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Michele Betsill, Colorado State University. Conversation Café Facilitator Jessica Thompson, Colorado State University

The world café process invites stakeholders to converse about questions that matter in a small group format. This session applied the world café process to address the following questions.

  1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current architecture of International Governance?
  2. What are the key issues in transforming the architecture in international environmental governance?

The session started with the opening remarks by Dr. Surendra Shrestha, Team Leader on the International Framework for Sustainable Development in the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Secretariat. He emphasized the need to look for both top-down and bottom-up approaches, and that incremental solutions are necessary yet not sufficient. Given the current difficulties facing multilateral negotiation processes, such as CSD19 and UNFCCC COP15 which concluded without reaching effective solution to the problems, transformative change is necessary, he said. He also pointed that this group is the right group to create a vision for change.

After a few rounds of conversation, the facilitator and the workshop participants consolidated and harvested their conversations.

Top ideas voted by workshop participants:

  • seeing governance as an evolving process that has to include learning
  • visionary leadership to reimagine the economic system
  • reflexivity; aligning short and long term goals; aligning process with goals and learning how to learn;
  • reflexivity- linking strategies
  • setting expectation that governance is a learning process, not a fixed known path
  • maintain and enhance volume of soft voices (not heard stakeholders) and groups often invisible in environmental governance
  • transform the game and players and include direct citizen representation
  • need to shift priorities at multiple levels
  • political will that comes not just politicians

(See downloadable full report (pdf) for a summary of the harvests).