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Cover for The Untold Story of the World's Leading Environmental Institution

The Untold Story of the World's Leading Environmental Institution

UNEP at Fifty (One Planet)

Maria Ivanova, John W. McDonald (Foreword by)


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The past, present, and possible future of the agency designed to act as "the world's environmental conscience."

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) was founded in 1972 as a nimble, fast, and flexible entity at the core of the UN system--a subsidiary body rather than a specialized agency. It was intended to be the world's environmental conscience, an anchor institution that established norms and researched policy, leaving it to other organizations to carry out its recommendations. In this book, Maria Ivanova offers a detailed account of UNEP's origin and history. Ivanova counters the common criticism that UNEP was deficient by design, arguing that UNEP has in fact delivered on much (though not all) of its mandate.

Praise For The Untold Story of the World's Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty (One Planet)

"Maria Ivanova has produced a fascinating history based on a dozen years of intensive research, nearly 200 interviews, including with all of UNEP’s seven executive directors, attendance at all manner of international meetings, and bouncing her ideas with the vibrant environmental governance community of scholars, who form a particularly special breed. By any standards this is grounded research of the highest quality."
Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development

The MIT Press, 9780262542104, 376pp.

Publication Date: February 23, 2021

About the Author

Maria Ivanova is is Associate Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Ivanova is also a visiting scholar at the Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT.