Who we are

We are a group of global scholars working together to produce and circulate research at the science-policy interface to inform environmental governance at the local, regional, domestic, and international levels.  


The mission of the Center is to provide state-of-the-art research, policy input, and training tools to build a corps of new professionals committed to academic excellence, public service, and innovative leadership in solving complex sustainability challenges. Our vision is to establish a leading intellectual hub that connects scholars and practitioners worldwide, linking analytical rigor and policy action on issues of environment, development, and sustainability governance.

With research programs in global environmental governance, global development governance, and organizational sustainability, the Center seeks to engage students, faculty, and staff across disciplinary, institutional, and political boundaries. Our vision is to link analytical rigor and policy action on issues of environment, development, and sustainability governance.


The Center brings together and hosts leading scholars and policymakers from around the world to discuss environmental policy and regulation, implementation, advocacy, and justice. This work is in service of our goal to improve the capacity to respond to contemporary global challenges in the fields of environment and development.



Established as a research initiative in 1997, the Global Environmental Governance (GEG) Project was originally housed at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. It was co-founded by Professor Maria Ivanova, who was then a graduate student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and Professor Daniel Esty, that Center’s director. At the time, “global environmental governance” was a new term for both scholars and practitioners. Ivanova and Esty spearheaded wide-ranging critical discussions among a variety of actors about the past, present, and future of international efforts to protect the environment.


In 2011, the GEG Project moved to the University of Massachusetts Boston where it catalyzed the creation of the Center for Governance and Sustainability. The vision for the Center is grounded in the work of the GEG Project and has come to encompass development and sustainability concerns. The Center seeks to advance the state of knowledge in the field of global governance and to generate analysis that is immediately and practically useful for policy-makers seeking to reform institutions for environment and development across sectors, governance levels, and geographies.