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By Maria Ivanova

Foreword by John W. McDonald

The past, present, and possible future of the agency designed to act as “the world's environmental conscience.

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Christiana Figueres

Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (2010–2016)

"Ivanova's book, by far the most profound and insightful analysis of UNEP, combines the author's research rigor with her heartfelt humanity.”

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Ado Lōhmus

Permanent Representative of Estonia to UNEP, Vice President of UNEA-5

"Ivanova's in-depth, down-to-earth analysis of the evolution of UNEP offers lessons learned and forward-looking perspective and creates the cornerstone for enhancing global environmental governance. Genuinely captivating!"

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Rachel Kyte

Dean, The Fletcher School,
Tufts University

"Ivanova's authoritative history of UNEP tells the story of how we have tried, succeeded, and failed to protect the environment. As multiple global crises trace their origins to nature's destruction, this is essential reading."

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Thomas G. Weiss

Dean, The Fletcher School,
Tufts University

"Ivanova's authoritative history of UNEP tells the story of how we have tried, succeeded, and failed to protect the environment. As multiple global crises trace their origins to nature's destruction, this is essential reading."

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Inger Andersen

Executive Director, UNEP

"I highly recommend The Untold Story of the World's Leading Environmental Institution by Maria Ivanova. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the genesis and evolution of global environmental governance. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the UN Environment Programme in 2022, this book provides valuable insights into how UNEP – and, indeed, environmental multilateralism – must rise to the challenges of a planet in crisis and lead us towards sustainable development."

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Gus Speth

Former Dean, Yale School of Environment

“No one knows UNEP, its history and its potential like Ivanova. That knowledge shines through in this fine book. Our future depends on successful global environmental governance. UNEP will be a big part of that, and Ivanova shows how to make UNEP lead.”

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Zakri Abdul Hamid

Former Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia

“A must-read for scholars, policymakers, activists, and industry—especially those tasked with leading humanity out of the current global environmental crisis.”

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Maria Ivanova is Associate Professor of Global Governance, Director of the Global Governance and Human Security Ph.D. program, and Director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her work focuses on the performance of international institutions, the implementation of international environmental agreements, and sustainability. She has been studying the United Nations Environment Programme and her book, The Untold Story of the World's Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty, was published by MIT Press in 2021. Her current work examines national performance on global environmental conventions, and she engages with countries in East Africa to inform policy. 

From 2014 to 2016, Ivanova served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. In 2020, she began a four-year term on the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme. She is also an Andrew Carnegie Fellow and the Chair of the Board of the UN University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). She serves on the External Advisory Board of the Environmental Solutions Initiative at MIT, on the Sustainability Advisory Council at Yale University, on the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G2) Advisory Group, and on the Board of the Millennium Institute. In 2018, she chaired the jury for the $5 million New Shape Prize for global governance by the Global Challenges Foundation.

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