Paper on IUCN by Medani Bhandari published in Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization

The CEC member is pleased to announce publication of his paper. Medani is completing a doctoral dissertation on IUCN program development for biodiversity in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

CEC member wins “CLIMATE 2011 Best Paper Award” for his paper “Environmental Performance and Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Case Study of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan”.

International Union for Conservation of Nature
Medani Bhandari

Published Online: 29 FEB 2012
DOI: 10.1002/9780470670590.wbeog325
Copyright © Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

The full paper is available online >>


The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international organization and the world's largest and arguably most important conservation network. It was founded in Fontainebleau, France in 1948 and its headquarters is located in Gland, Switzerland. IUCN has offices in more than 45 countries and runs hundreds of projects around the world, including a multilateral office located in Washington, DC that serves as a global embassy for IUCN. It plays a critical role in the conservation of nature as a knowledge-producing organization (IUCN, UNEP & WWF 1980, 1991).


Medani has been a member of the IUCN Commission on Education (IUCN CEC) since 1996, SSC member since 1993 and CEESP member since 2000. He is completing his dissertation “Exploring the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN’s) National Program Development in Sustainable Development and Biodiversity Conservation: A Comparative Study of India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh”. The major objective of his dissertation research is to explore the IUCN’s role in biodiversity conservation through three elaborated objectives; whereas the first objective seeks to define how the IUCN mobilizes its resources and coordinates with its partners.

The research finds that as a neutral forum for governments, NGOs, scientist’s business communities and local communities; the IUCN plays a critical role in finding pragmatic solutions to challenges in conservation and development (IUCN 2011) by creating policies with its partner members, as well as with various international and national agencies. It applies its knowledge, action, influence, and empowering approach without crossing country-specific legislative and bureaucratic structures. The second objective is to determine how international organizations create the framework for global environmental governance, which is usually beyond the purview of any single government entity. The following research finds that the effectiveness of global environmental governance depends upon the organization’s utilization of the “strength of weak ties.”

The third objective consists of two aspects; firstly, the exploration of the weaknesses and blind spots of the IUCN’s structure that have never been investigated. For this He analyzed the history and the impact of environmental policies in each of the specified countries; the conflict over natural resource (forestry and water) management among the stakeholders; and how the IUCN builds country-specific sustainable development (SD) programs in states with differing capacities. He explored how climate change and biodiversity conservation priorities and approaches are promoted and addressed by the IUCN at various levels from the local to international.

The key findings of this study are that the IUCN’s role varies widely across these South Asian countries. That role is inversely related to the nations’ central governance capacities, especially as they relate to their individual histories and traditions of environmental policy development. He examined these dynamics and the country-specific results of the IUCN involvement. Despite its lack of visibility to the Western, particularly the American, public, the IUCN has been instrumental in promoting environmental conservation globally. It has been particularly effective in strengthening the capacity of the developing world to prepare conservation strategies and other policy instruments in order to foster global policy formulation, and to ultimately cultivate an international environmental regime. Further findings also indicate that through its people-first principle the IUCN has advanced conservation by supporting cutting-edge conservation science, particularly in biodiversity, ecosystems, and how these fields relate to human well-being. 

He is the co-founder of the Association for Protection of Environment and Culture (APEC-Nepal est. 1988) in Nepal, which became IUCN member in 1996. Medani served as chair of APEC from 1988 to 2002. He has published more than 45 papers, book chapters or research reports.  His primary interests as a researcher center on the intersection of local and global interests (trans-society/trans-border ) and capacities in addressing community development; global political economy; green economy, natural resource management challenges, environmental sustainability, and the effects of climate change. He is also interested in risk analysis, public policies, and behaviors that contribute to the goal of catalyzing action across the global community, increase public awareness and change public attitudes on global climate change; natural resource governance issues, human rights abuse, and environmental degradation. He also wants to utilize scientific and cultural knowledge, research skills, and extensive experiences to help address the challenges of global environmental change, the green economy, and sustainability; as well as in assessing the economic, social and environmental impacts on natural resources/ environmental sustainability and want to cultivate and engage multidisciplinary knowledge-based networks to minimize the impact of climate change on marginalized societies and to reduce societal conflict over natural resources.

Medani Bhandari, 302 Maxwell Hall, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, Syracuse NY 13244. Email:  or  


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