Sample International Relations Term Paper on Effective Global Governance

Effective Global Governance

Global or worldly governance refers to the centralization, organization, and mobilization of nations and societies on an international scale to negotiate actions taken towards solving the current political, social, and economic difficulties that face or affect multiple states or regions simultaneously (Najab, Papa & Taiyab 7). Most of the universal problems can be categorized under environmental and health concerns, international policies and relations, security, economics, and trade. The governance process is executed through institutions namely the United Nations, International Criminal Court, and the World Bank among others. They possess some limited form of defined mandate in enforcing compliance among the members. Even though these bodies have the best of interests to serve in a global capacity, they are faced with challenges that incapacitate them from carrying out their goals. 

The United Nations is the major that governs global interactions, with smaller branches such as UNEP, UNHCR, and UNESCO among others. These bodies focus on issues such as climate change, peacekeeping, terrorism, national disaster prevention and management, human rights campaign, sustainability, and provision of essential amenities. To be able to realize its goals and objectives, the UN requires specific policies to function. These systems determine the nature of their operations and how the organization is run. A weak policy system affects other areas such as accounting, administration, and management. So far, the main problems arising from a weak structure system at this body include lack of an efficient accounting system, changing contribution patterns from the member states, increased bureaucracy, poor strategic planning, and the inability to manage a diverse workforce among others.

There are several other challenges that the UN faces in global governance in particular fields and categories. This assignment chooses to focus on the challenges to effective global governance in the environment and ecosystem. The modern day society suffers from consequences of a string of poor choices that result in environmental degradation. This issue has been made a priority by the UN under the United Nations Environment Programme because of the profound effect the environment has on human survival.

Man and the Destruction of Nature

The human population has increased throughout the years, and as it grows, people find new ways to use nature for its resources. Lately, it has become apparent to many that nature is in need of protection, but nature is also a very productive thing, so humans have had to choose a side in what they would rather sacrifice. Humans have a right to a healthful environment, but they also have the right to human development (Robertson and Westerman 7). And when these two rights come together they cause huge debates on all fronts, many nations want to reduce the strain on the environment, but many others want to pull their countries out of poverty and only see mechanical work as a way to do so. It is easier for the higher developed countries to see that work needs to be done to protect the environment because they have pushed to the top and will not lose as much if production slows. However, the lower developed countries this change may see them drop off and miss out on production and a rise in their standard of living (Robertson and Westerman 10). People notice the effect they have on the environment, but this need to develop is vital in the way of human existence. And as a result, an enormous change has occurred, nature has begun to be impeded and often destroyed. People attempt to answer the question in this case: is it a human responsibility to protect life? Humans have a duty to protect the natural environment, both for their survival as a species and also for the sake of future generations. Human survival is dependent upon the earth, and destroying the planet will lead to the species extinction over time

Types of Environmental Destruction

The first step to take is to analyse the types of environmental destruction to determine their nature. An ecosystem is a group of organic elements that are interconnected and form a community of organisms through their interaction with the surrounding environment (Cain, Bowman and Hacker 18). The main categories of a bionetwork include water, nitrogen, mineral deposits, and energy. This water covers up to 70% of the earth’s surface. An ecosystem is maintained through the interactions between humans, animals, land and the components mentioned. Upsetting the balance in the system’s functioning leads to a counter-result of either destruction or reclamation. The main types of damage involve the pollution or degradation of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems for example water pollution, releasing toxic gasses into the atmosphere, and soil pollution through chemicals. All these are activities in which human beings and their activities largely contribute to the effects.

  1. Aquatic ecosystem destruction

Damage to this ecosystem occurs through poisoning; when industries or people release their toxic waste in water, oil spillage from ships or petroleum carriers, and drying up of water bodies due to altered climatic patterns (Lancaster and Downes 44).

  • Terrestrial ecosystem destruction

It encompasses any form of damage on land or its surroundings. The most prevalent types of property destruction include soil erosion, deforestation, poor waste management, and increased industrialized activities (Berne 147).

  • Natural destruction

Other forms of environmental damage are not associated with human activities. The occurrence of natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruption and tsunamis have long ago been dependent on factors such as proximity to the sea, climate of the affected region, and others like wind patterns (Robertson and Westerman, 21). A region like the Sahara desert has always been in existence, and human beings were forced to adapt to the wilderness living conditions and fend for themselves. People living near water bodies such as seas are prone to experience tidal waves from time to time. However, research indicates that human activities have a significant influence on the occurrence of natural disasters. Even though these occurrences are not human-made, the increase in industrial activities for example release of toxic waste alters the atmosphere’s composition triggering a change in the weather patterns. The liquefying of the ice in the North Pole has led to the increase in sea level, hence triggering frequent tsunamis (Robert and Westerman 37).

Causes and Effects of Environmental Destruction

Destruction in this section will be categorized under the soil, water, and air systems. Some of the harmful effects on the environment include carbon dioxide emissions that lead to depletion of the ozone layer, waste chemicals, and by-products that pollute the soils, air and water and combustion of oil which also leads to air pollution. The eco-system can independently restore itself through carbon dioxide absorption in trees. However, man’s activities of clearing forests for land have altered this natural self-sufficient system. Other issues that arose concern included water and electricity wastage and over-usage. According to statistics, 80% of all toxic waste is generated from electronic products (Berne 152). Therefore, it can be assumed that business to a large extent is the cause of earth’s environmental problems.

Soil erosion patterns lead to various immediate and long-term changes in the environment and on human civilization. The direct change includes a lower crop yield, the erosion and displacement of farming-conducive soil and damage to the existing farms in some cases (Wang). There’s also increased contamination, sedimentation, and blockage of waterways.

The inhabitants of such areas are forced to relocate to other conducive areas leading to crowding around water banks, or soil deposits. Soil displacement also leads to a change in livelihood practices. Fertile and viable land for farming becomes converted into grazing land or it is eventually used to spring up buildings or other forms of constructions. Land that experiences soil erosion also becomes further exposed, therefore, increasing water overflow as the ground is unable to absorb more water. Increased flooding eventually leads to displacement of the human population (Wang 35).

Global warming and climate change

Deforestation has created the greatest impact on climate change and global warming. Greenhouse gasses are responsible for the absorption of thermal infrared radiation. They single-handedly drive the nature of climate and its change when produced in large amounts (Tawil & U.S 33). Even though oxygen is the second most abundant gas in the atmosphere, it lacks the ability to absorb the radiation. A report by the Environmental Protection Agency indicates that the most common type of greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide accounting for over 80% of all greenhouse gasses in the United States (NRC-US 57). Trees are responsible for the storage of up to 300 billion tons of CO2, a capacity that is 40 times its annual emission.

When trees are cut down, they reduce the amount of CO2 stored leaving freeing it in the air. The trees also release the carbon stored when they are cut down.  The 2016 Global Forest Resource Assessment place deforestation as the second largest source of CO2, producing up to 17% of the gas in the atmosphere (NRC-US 61). Chopping trees also release water vapor which is considered as a greenhouse gas. When the gasses rise in the air, they led to the depletion of the ozone layer.

The greatest impact of carbon dioxide’s presence in the air is global warming. It is defined as the gradual increase in the earth’s atmospheric temperature and sea levels. Scientists state that, with each passing year, the temperature levels rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius (Bouza 45). The greenhouse gasses act as an atmospheric blanket by trapping and retaining heat. This process, in turn, warms the planet hence increasing heat, stirring a rise in the sea levels, and melting the polar ice caps. It also leads to unpredictable weather patterns and severe storms. The rising of sea levels is responsible for incidents such as tsunamis, heat waves, avalanches, tornadoes, hail storms, blizzards, and floods. The slightest change in vapor flow is also likely to lead to altered weather patterns and climatic models. Below a chart indicating the risks associated with global warming and climate change.

Description: Image result for chart depicting global warming(source: internet)

Another chart below also illustrates greenhouse industrial gas emissions.

Description: Image result for chart indicating global warming (source: internet)

Challenges Facing Environmental Governance

Under environmental governance, the UN targets to achieve full sustainability and development while addressing the critical decision-making procedure, capacity to meet objectives, and the integration of sustenance in development on a regional, national, and international level.  Human activities have left a crisis of nature, and the impact calls for action from international bodies, governments, and relevant institutions. Even though environmental campaigns have used various approaches to curbing the catastrophe, a substantial amount of challenges limit their functionality.

First, they face the issue of inadequate international agreements. Previously, the environmental issue was not taken as seriously as it is in the present. Therefore, the UN lacked sufficient policies and arrangements on matters concerned. For instance, the Paris Agreement addressing climate change was only adapted in 2015. Nations are now working together to suggest and enforce better policies, but are still limited to countries willing to participate. Further to this, they lack the full capacity to act on behalf of nations during a crisis without intrusion or breaking constitutional laws. 

Global sustenance governance also faces the issue of unresolved tensions between different groups of ideologies. The stress occurs when the international bodies have to consider maximum or sustainable development, and full protection. They also experience stress when it comes to limited funds, destroying economy links, and restrictive application of Multilateral Environment Agreements (Najab, Papa & Taiyab 29). There are myriads of organizations all over the world dealing with environmental governance, dealing with separate issues, and having varied levels of autonomy. This fragmentation leads to inconsistency, conflicting agenda, and a drained workforce.

The UN is also challenged by the lack of coordination between countries and worldwide organizations. The UNEP is authorized to coordinate any GEG mechanisms but still lacks the political or financial capacity to fulfil the duty. Their coordination is also affected by the several existing agencies or programs that are also stakeholders in the environmental cause. Their inability to work together has posed a challenge to the UN body. The GEF’s financial mechanism and other MEAs have also undermined UNEP’s autonomy creating turf-wars (Najab, Papa & Taiyab 36). Instead of focusing on the environment, these institutions have resorted to politics over resource endowments and operational authority. They have also channelled funding into these feuds instead of proper management of sustainability problems.

Another challenge observed in this cause is weak enforcement and effectiveness (Najab, Papa & Taiyab 45). Instead of being functional, the GEG has transformed into a negotiation system that is ever in talks over the course of action to be taken instead of implementing the existing policies. The operation insufficiency is compounded by the scarcity of application mechanisms and an almost absence focus on making sure that these tools can fully meet their objectives. The GEG system also has no significant settlement body and the lack of power to enforce further compliance derails their effectiveness. Just as portrayed in other global processes, environmental governance is also driven more by political practicality than the science of sustenance. This ignorance eventually leads to severe and complicated long-term environmental consequences that cost more and last longer.

The UN body encounters difficulties in the execution of policies due to lack of harmonization within national governments, the civil and private sectors, and the UN itself (Najab, Papa $ Tiayab 36). The sustenance process involves all people up to the grass root level because they are responsible for actions that have a potential impact on the environment. However, most of these agencies focus on the political aspect of it, meeting leaders and sharing their concerns and suggestions without involving the ordinary man or the culprit industries that contribute to environmental degradation. 

There is a general concern about the lack of a shared vision. This disharmony occurs between governments and the UN, environmental agencies, and stakeholders involved in the process. While the UN may want nations to comply with sustainability methods, these countries may be more interested in development. For example, a state that produces oil as its principal export may fail to share the same vision with UNEP for sustainability. According to science, oil combustion contributes heavily to global warming, but at the same time, oil is this country’s primary source of income. Even though they may be willing to include green products in their operations, they will still mine the oil and sell it to other countries.

This disharmony also affects the operational status of nations that has been present for a long time. The interdependence among trade, agriculture, health, and development poses a challenge to effective global governance. For example, if industries are implicated as part of the problem, then the people producing raw goods such as farmers, traders, and the country’s economy is also affected. If the transport industry is implicated, the producers are unable to get their goods to markets which also affect business and the overall economy in turn.

Governments are also faced with the daunting task of complying with the MEASs obligations, but they lack the capacity to do so. As indicated in other examples, the sustainability process affects several aspects of a country’s operations.  Adapting to the new regulations requires an overhaul in lifestyle, economic, and industrial patterns, habits, and trends. Third world countries are mainly affected the most by the incapacitation due to socio-economic reasons. Adapting to global environmental standards requires an enormous amount of resources and overhaul in operations that these countries are not yet ready to face. Other challenges include a restricted credit allowance for agencies that run projects within the GEG facilities, inability to inspire the public, and a missing gender perspective on governance. 


The main argument lies in the man taking responsibility for destruction versus the need to ensure development and progression. The best strategy to use in coming up with a remedy is to find a working balance between the two hence the adoption of environmental sustainability policies. The issue of sustainability is a very current one in the modern age. There is the need for global awareness on environmental concerns that affect nature and its ecosystems. The most prevalent environmental issue of the current day is global warming, caused by carbon emissions and other toxic gasses and chemicals that lead to the breakdown of the atmospheric components (Robertson & Westerman 76). The effect, in turn, is climate change, global warming, an increase in natural disasters like earthquakes, and hurricanes due to rising ocean levels. The adverse effects include a change in farming patterns, leading to hunger and starvation, relocation of people to avoid natural disasters. With such effects, there is need to find a way to stop environmental degradation.

The main remedies to apply to the challenges faced by the GEG system revolve around functionality in the agencies. First of all, the UN can take advantage of the several existing agencies by harmonizing them, assigning specific duties in their fields or specialties, and distributing resources equitably. They should also encourage governments to work more with their citizens in creating sustenance. For example, each country can start small by educating people on the impact of degradation and the significance of adapting to sustainability. They can slow down the process by avoiding cutting trees, recycling, using alternative sources of fuels, and improving their waste management. From there, the government can focus on larger issues such as industrial waste and use poisonous fuel. On the issue of governance and inter-agency feuds, the UN should harmonize its objectives with those of other institutions to ensure they work together towards the same goal. The involved parties should also focus more on executing the policies than the bureaucracy surrounding governance.

Works Cited

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Congress of the United States, Congressional Budget Office. 2012. Print.

Robertson, C., & Westerman, J. Working on earth: class and environmental justice. Las Vegas, University of Nevada Press. 2015. Print.