Ken Conca, An Unfinished Foundation: The United Nations and Global Environmental Governance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 320 pp.
This book examines the origins, effectiveness, and limitations of the United Nations system’s approach to global environmental governance. The UN Charter mandates the global organization to seek four noble aspirations: international peace and security, rule of law among nations, human rights for all people, and social progress through development. On environmental issues, however, the UN has understood its charge much more narrowly. It works for “better law between nations” and “better development within them” while treating peace, security, and human rights as unrelated to the world’s environmental problems. A performance assessment of this selective approach shows that, despite some important gains, it is failing for some of world’s most pressing and contentious environmental challenges, and has lost most of the political momentum it once enjoyed.
About the Author
Dr. Ken Conca’s research and teaching focus on global environmental governance, environmental peacebuilding in war-torn societies, environmental politics and policy in the United Nations system, water governance, and environmental policy analysis. He is the author/editor of several books on international environmental politics, including Governing Water, Confronting Consumption, Environmental Peacemaking, The Crisis of Global Environmental Governance, and the widely used teaching anthology Green Planet Blues. Dr. Conca is a two-time recipient of the International Studies Association’s Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for best book on international environmental affairs and a recipient of the Chadwick Alger Prize for best book in the field of International Organization. He is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Expert Advisory Group on Conflict and Peacebuilding.