Based on an analysis of the purpose the Global Pact for the Environment could serve and of lessons learned from previous governance experience, this Issue Brief identifies several conditions for success, in terms of ambition and universality.

Key Messages

  • The United Nations Secretary-General’s report on the Pact confirms a certain number of gaps in international environmental law. Building on this basis, consultations on the draft Global Pact for the Environment should help to rapidly define the scope of future negotiations. Specifically, focusing this scope on the horizontal principles, with environmental policy integration, for instance in trade agreements, and implementation and effectiveness issues appearing as the most relevant. Moreover, negotiations on the Pact may be lengthy, and a certain number of success factors need to be considered.
  • First, the general principles must be confirmed and translated into justiciable rights and obligations mechanisms accompanied by guarantees of effective monitoring and implementation. An ambitious Pact could incorporate the principles already established, but also new ideas for principles proposed by the scientific community, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, civil society or indigenous peoples.
  • Delivering an ambitious outcome implies not only a persuasive argument, but also a debate process that guarantees the mobilisation of a broad coalition of governments and actors, and thus access of all points of view to these negotiations in order to enrich and consolidate them. This approach would make it possible to launch a global, interdisciplinary discussion on universal principles, by asking states to define their own vision in order to ensure true appropriation of the Pact.
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