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Intergovernmental Environmental Organizations and Initiatives

  • By: Elizabeth R. DeSombre
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The environmental issue area is notable for its multiplicity of intergovernmental organizations, numbering nearly 200, with new ones regularly created. Although the United Nations (UN) is a central player in organizing and overseeing many international environmental regulations and initiatives, international environmental governance is conducted largely through organizations created to address specific environmental problems.

The Role of the United Nations

Various organizations within the UN play roles in global environmental governance. The most central of these is the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a specialized agency of the UN, founded in 1972. UNEP's mission is to play a catalytic role in environmental governance, coordinating environmental efforts by other UN agencies. It has played active roles in environmental monitoring and scientific research on environmental issues and has coordinated ...

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