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A Century of Green Lessons: The Contribution of Nature Conservation Regimes to Global Governance


This paper reviews the lessons learned over the past 100 years in international management and conservation of the Earth's natural heritage and biological resources (fauna and flora), in the face of growing threats of degradation and extinction. The focus is on the effectiveness of intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions – in terms of agenda-setting, regime formation, implementation and compliance, and reactions to non-compliance. Among specific case histories analysed are the ivory trade ban, the whaling moratorium, and attempts at establishing an international forest regime. Innovative governance features highlighted in the field of global living resource management include active NGO participation, the use of selective economic incentives and disincentives (e.g. multilateral or bilateral trade sanctions), and a number of judicial enforcement remedies for both species-based and area-based conservation agreements. The paper concludes by assessing the prospects of transition from the paradigm of 'permanent sovereignty over natural resources' towards new concepts of public trusteeship and stewardship.

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Sand, P.H. A Century of Green Lessons: The Contribution of Nature Conservation Regimes to Global Governance. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 1, 33–72 (2001).

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  • conservation of nature and natural resources
  • effectiveness of international regimes
  • forest convention
  • global governance
  • international environmental law
  • ivory trade
  • sustainable development
  • trusteeship
  • whaling moratorium
  • World Conservation Union (IUCN)