Fractured International Environmental Governance and the Potential Role of the Commonwealth in Biodiversity and Climate Change
This paper begins by examining the reasons behind most failures of governance, including fault lines in institutional and professional specialisation, and in ideology. These three, forever competing within and between themselves, frustrate attempts to find solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Not least among these are environmental challenges, where preferences and priorities that are geographically, professionally or ideologically narrow inevitably fail to achieve solutions for the greater good. What role can the Commonwealth play in addressing the fracture lines that bedevil solutions for climate change and biodiversity? It may help to stimulate global action on these issues if it can encourage agreement across multidimensional global boundaries. We know the Commonwealth is not a leading global force for controlling climate change or biodiversity loss; but if it had the political will it could be an exemplar of how, between a group of vastly diverse countries across the globe-and on the global political stage-binding agreement and positive action on climate change and biodiversity could be promoted and perhaps achieved. One of the strongest features of the Commonwealth is the generation of long-standing legal and ethical norms whose appeal is obvious even if their implementation is lacking. These norms should not be limited to the rule of law, democracy and human rights, but should include environmental norms because these too are fundamental to a satisfactory human condition.
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