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Governance Center

Image by Jay Mantri

The world’s governments, our governments, have drafted, adopted and signed more multi-lateral environmental treaties and other sustainable development agreements than can hardly be imagined - more than 600 in all. But unfortunately our governments are typically much better at making such agreements and commitments than they are at keeping and fulfilling them. Still these agreements have set out a pattern and set of norms and expectations that have pushed the international community along a course of action or track that is taking us much closer to a truly sustainable world than almost anyone would have imagined possible 25 or 30 years ago. 


Now, if only our governments will take the proactive steps needed to really fulfill and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and most of the other agreements and goals, it would go a long way towards solving pretty much all of our primary global challenges and problems at the same time. 


So, in the Governance Center we’ll be providing information about these agreements, along with what we can all do to encourage our countries to do more to help achieve each of them as well as what we can each do, personally and professionally, to help achieve them ourselves too. 


While pretty much all of the agreements are incredibly important, some are more so than others. Similarly the UN has developed many of what are called “framework conventions” along with several other principal or over-arching international agreements. The first type are typically seen as being legally binding and somewhat general in nature with more details needing to be added later or in separate protocols spelling out how they are to be carried out and implemented coming later. The second type tend to cover a wide sector of the economy or society, and as in the case of the SDGs, address pretty much all of the primary issue areas, including most of humanity’s wants and basic human needs, in an integrated cohesive manner.


Both types of agreements tend to be further developed, strengthened and better implemented as the years go by. These agreements would thus include such things as the three 1992 Rio Earth Summit Conference Conventions on Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Combatting Desertification, along with other agreements on Education for Sustainable Development, Hazardous Chemicals, and the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, etc.  


We have identified and list below some of these agreements that we believe to be among the most important for transitioning to sustainable development and that we think everyone should know about and that our governments need to take much stronger action to achieve. We will be charting the progress that our governments have or have not been making towards fulfilling and achieving them - both individually and collectively, by regions and by development type. For example the governments have naturally grouped themselves according to such things as developing, developed and middle income countries, small island development states (SIDS), least developed states (LDCS), land-locked countries, etc. 


As more information comes in and is made available we will add it here. However in the meantime, we will list categories and types of information that we believe all of our governments and international institutions should be providing to ensure that adequate action is taken to fulfll their international obligations and commitments and to ensure that we truly do transition to a fully sustainable world. It is only in this way, once the information can become available and be shared, understood and used that we will truly become “Sustainably Wise”. 

Primary Cross Cutting UN Initiatives and Agreements


The Sustainable Development Goals

Rio Declaration and Principles on Sustainable Development

National and Local Sustainable Development Strategies and Councils

Global Action Plan on Education for Sustainable Development along with the commitment to create Local and National Action Plans

10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Production and Consumption; One Planet Network Clearinghouse; & Local and National Action Plans

National Development Plans

Poverty Reduction Strategy Programs



Primary UN Sectoral Conventions and Agreements


UN Environment’s listing of Global Environmental Goals & Multi-Lateral Environmental Agreements

UN Convention on the Law of the Seas

UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Accord

UN Convention to Combat Desertification

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Summit Conference Agreement

Basel and Rotterdam Conventions on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes 

Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management and POPs Convention

UN Resolutions on Harmony with Nature

Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters 

UN Human Rights Conventions

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 

Sustainable Energy for All

Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition

Education for All

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