The UNEP Role



The labours of Hercules were essentially heroic. Charged with drama, they hold the attention of the reader and end happily. Sisyphus, condemned for eternity to roll a rock to the top of a cliff, only to have it roll back, so that he had to start again, commands our attention as a metaphor for futility. Put simply, this chapter argues that the United Nations Environment Programme’s so-called catalytic mandate was a Herculean challenge, whereas its so-called coordinating mandate, contained in the same 1972 founding resolution, was Sisyphean. To perform the first, UNEP must be released from the nightmare of the last. Some progress in this direction was conceded at Rio by the decision to create a new Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), that will free UNEP for more creative tasks, but also expose it to new risks, to be fully explored in Chapter 5.


Executive Director Catalytic Role Governing Council Environment Fund Programme Budget 
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Copyright information

© Mark F. Imber 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of St AndrewsUK

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