Vision Statement

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.


Center for Governance & Sustainability

UMass Boston

Wheatley Hall, 4th Floor, Room 126
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.

Boston, MA 02125 USA


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Home Page Video Credit: Emily Moothart


This report provides analysis of the implementation of global multilateral environmental agreements in Rwanda. It covers 5 global agreements in two thematic clusters – chemicals and waste (the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants) and biodiversity (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, and the World Heritage Convention). The report summarizes Rwanda’s key achievements in the implementation of global environmental agreements and outlines areas for further improvement. It provides a foundation for learning within the country and across countries.


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In 2012, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) concluded the systematic reform of international environmental governance. These efforts centered on enhancing the form, funding and functions of UN Environment Programme and clustering multilateral environmental agreements. The report International Environmental Governance: Accomplishments and Way Forward provides analysis of reforms taken to date and outlines possibilities to gear up implementation. The Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Boston produced the report with support from the Nordic Council of Ministers.


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A new report published by the Center recommends the careful design of critical functions needed for effective global governance of chemicals and waste. The report focuses on objectives and milestones, national actions plans, reporting, review and scientific support and is intended to inform ongoing UN discussions concerning the future model for sound management of chemicals and waste in the post-2020 era. The report recommends the development of time-bound and measurable objectives and milestones to provide strategic guidance, raise the level of aspiration and ease communication beyond conventional actors for achieving sound management of chemicals and waste. The goals should be linked to the development of national action plans to give them real effect. These recommendations are based on experiences from other international regimes, including the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Convention on Biological Diversity.


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On June 20–22, 2017, the Federal Office of Environment of Switzerland convened a workshop on International Environmental Governance (IEG) in Glion, Switzerland. The event brought together 22 participants from 13 countries and the EU Commission, as well as from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), UN Environment Management Group (EMG), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Officials from capitals and members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) in Nairobi or Geneva also took part in the workshop. Maria Ivanova, professor and global governance expert from the University of Massachusetts Boston, moderated the discussion. She prepared the background materials for the workshop and is the author of this report. The dialogue built on the outcomes of an expert workshop on “Achieving Environmental Sustainability for Sustainable Development” that UNEP convened in New York on July 21–22, 2016.

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The second Progress Report for 2014-2015 of the Center for Governance and Sustainability is now available. Three think pieces frame this report. David Cash, dean of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies; Araya Asfaw, director of the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network at Addis Ababa University; and Fatoumata Keita-Ouane, former head of the chemicals branch at the UN Environment Programme, discuss some of the analytical aspects of the Center’s research initiatives.


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In September 2013, the Center for Governance and Sustainability released its first progress report on activities and achievements since the Center’s founding in 2011. The report features editorials by Gus Speth (former Dean of Yale’s Environment School and UNDP Administrator), Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) and Alice Odingo (University of Nairobi) and overviews of the Center’s people, projects, and partners around the world.


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The Center published a summary report for the Workshop on International Environmental Governance: Grounding Policy Reform in Rigorous Analysis held in June 2011. The Center co-organized the workshop with the Federal Office for the Environment of Switzerland (FOEN) and the World Trade Institute (WTI) at the University of Bern. Forty participants from academia, national governments, international organizations, and think-tanks attended the workshop.


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