Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) and the Urban Arena: Localizing the Global Environmental Agenda

Abstract

One of the key outputs of the 1992 Rio Summit was to highlight and focus attention on the environment, spawning as a result a host of conventions, conferences and other activities related to different environmental issues (collectively called the 'Rio Agreements'). These activities have generated a number of multilateral environment agreements (MEAs), the most recent of them being the Kyoto Protocol promulgated in December 1997.

Each of these MEAs require that countries develop specific implementation mechanisms and fulfill obligations involving reporting, training, public education, and other activities. The MEA themes, in fact, lie at the heart of global environmental issues such as CO2 reduction, eco-efficiency, land degradation, energy systems, technology innovation, etc. Incentive structures - fiscal systems, trade systems and liability systems - have also been proposed as a means of realizing the goals of these MEAs.

The proposed research will focus on (a) MEAs that are specifically directed at cities, including Local Agenda 21 and Habitat Agenda, and (b) implications of global MEAs on cities. The research has two components: firstly, it will attempt to build synergies between urban areas and the MEAs in a two way process - how do cities contribute to the conditions and problems addressed by these MEAs? And on the reverse flow, how do these MEAs affect the natural, built-up and social environments of cities? Secondly, it will establish the overlaps, commonalities, inherent relationships and mutual dependencies between these MEAs, focusing on the role of cities and urban stakeholders. The research will be grounded in a comprehensive inventory of MEAs with its corresponding urban implications.

Summary

Research outputs
Research outcomes
  • Inventory of MEAs and their urban implications
  • Case studies of local government initiative that satisfy MEA obligations
  • Recommendations for -
    • policy and programme development
    • information management
    • capacity building
  • Comprehensive report
  • Internet website
  • An understanding of the implications of MEAs at the local level
  • Linking of action at the local level and their implications at the global level
  • A model framework of policy and programme development for local governments and authorities
  • Delineation of roles and responsibilities of urban and local stakeholders for MEA implementation and action
  • Understanding of local capacities and skills that need to be built for the local implementations of global MEAs


Return to MEAs and Cities
Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org