Environmental Governance is the means by which society determines and acts on goals and priorities related to the management of natural resources. This includes the rules, both formal and informal, that govern human behavior in decision-making processes as well as the decisions themselves. Appropriate legal frameworks on the global, regional, national and local level are a prerequisite for good environmental governance.
Since its inception, the ELC has played a key role in development and implementation of international environmental agreements. The ELC has been involved in the negotiation and drafting of many of the foundational agreements that form the framework for global conservation policy, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). The ELC has produced a series of guidelines to promote understanding and implementation of MEAs, most recently the Explanatory Guide to the Nagoya Protocol.
At the national and sub-national level, the ELC works to promote governance and rights. The ELC developed a step-wise approach for implementing RBAs to conservation which was presented in different international and national forums and is further explained in the IUCN publication entitled Conservation with Justice – A Rights-based Approach. The ELC worked with regional offices to apply RBA in Central America, South America and Asia in order to secure the rights of vulnerable communities, improve their livelihoods and promote conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
The ELC supports the development of a Natural Resources Governance Framework. In 2015, the ELC launched the Law for Sustainability platform to provide resources and case studies on assessing and improving natural resource governance. The accompanying publication, Framework for Assessing and Improving Law for Sustainability (2016) includes a methodological outline for designing and conducting assessments of implementation of legal principles in governance systems in different conservation sectors and sites.
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