Implementing sustainability and environmental protection and management must be done at multiple levels, from the behaviour and choices of each individual, through the lifestyle and consumption patterns within the family, to the aims, priorities and choices made by business enterprises and multinational corporations. Most importantly, it is at the multiple levels of governance, from local communities to national governments to the global level of intergovernmental organizations, that much of the responsibility lies for the protection of the planet and its resources and the long-term sustainability of our civilization.

The International Environment Forum has a particular focus on governance as one of the key mechanisms through which to implement sound environmental management and achieve a sustainable world society. Bahá'í-inspired perspectives can suggest constructive ways forward on many issues of governance. 2020 was the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, calling for the UN Secretary-General to prepare proposals for renewing multilateral governance, leading to his Our Common Agenda in 2021, the Stockholm+50 International Meeting in 2022, the review of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2023, and the Summit of the Future in 2024. IEF has contributed to these processes, as well as activities of the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity (to which it is accredited). There are many opportunities for IEF to contribute to the public discourse on governance.

The following resources represent some of our efforts to improve environmental governance, especially at the planetary level where the need is greatest.


IEF members Arthur Dahl and Maja Groff, together with Augusto Lopez-Claros, have written a major book on reforming the United Nations system, Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century, published by Cambridge University Press on 23 January 2020, and formed the Global Governance Forum ( to launch the book during 2020 and take the discussion forward.

Global Governance

Their proposals won the New Shape Prize of the Global Challenges Foundation in 2018, and the foundation is continuing to support their work on global governance. See their prize-winning proposal at Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century

IEF is a partner in Together First calling for a global system that works for all. Together First, founded by another winner of the New Shape Prize, is bringing new voices into global governance with the support of the Global Challenges Foundation. IEF issued its statement, Governance, Science and the Climate Crisis, 2020, with Together First in mind.


Global Governance Survey 2023, released 8 June 2023, showing wide public support internationally for strengthened global governance and action on climate change

A Breakthrough for People and Planet: Effective and Inclusive Global Governance for Today and the Future, Report of the UN High Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism, 25 April 2023, summary of environmental proposals to which IEF members contributed

Global Environmental Governance: Ethical Foundations and Practical Proposals in an Age of Interdependence, Bahá'í International Community event in the Swedish Parliament at Stockholm+50, 1 June 2022

Building effective multilateralism for the environment, policy brief by IEF board members Sylvia Karlsson-Vinhuyzen and Arthur Dahl for the UN High Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism, requested by the Climate Governance Commission, 22 May 2022

Filling a Critical Gap in Global Environmental Governance, blog by Arthur Lyon Dahl, 17 February 2022

Towards a Global Environment Agency: Effective Governance for Shared Ecological Risks, by Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen and Arthur Dahl, 8 November 2021, Executive Summary

Our Common Agenda, Report of the UN Secretary-General on the future of the United Nations, 10 September 2021 - Summary

Inside UNEP, Book Review of Maria Ivanova's The Untold Story of the World’s Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty by Arthur Dahl, 16 March 2021

Global Governance and Sustainability, IEF webinar with Arthur Dahl, 6 December 2020

Renewing Peace: Governance Befitting an Evolving World, Bahá'í International Community one hour video roundtable for Geneva Peace Week, 2-6 November 2020

A Governance Befitting: Humanity and the Path Toward a Just Global Order, Bahá'í International Community Statement on the United Nations 75th anniversary 21 September 2020

Global Governance and the Pandemic, Two webinars with Maja Groff and Arthur Dahl, April 2020

Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century, Augusto Lopez-Claros, Arthur L. Dahl and Maja Groff, 23 January 2020

Governance, Science and the Climate Crisis, International Environment Forum, 3 January 2020

Complex Systems Science and Global Challenges, Arthur Dahl, 12 December 2019

The Climate Crisis and Global Governance, Arthur Dahl, 1 December 2019

Science and Global Governance, Arthur Dahl, 19 November 2019

Time for Reflection, Presentation to the Scottish Parliament by Arthur Dahl, May 2019, 2019b.

Paris Peace Forum and Global Governance, 16 November 2018

Global Governance in an Age of Transition: The current and future role of the United Nations, 5 November 2018

Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century, proposal by Arthur Dahl, Maja Groff and Augusto Lopez-Claros, 2018.

New Shape Forum and Prize, 4 June 2018

Information: private property or public good? TEDx talk by Arthur Dahl, 15 February 2018

The promises and pitfalls of integration in governance, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, 2017.

Why should the UN and in particular UN Environment Engage More with Faith-based Organizations?, Arthur Dahl for UNEP, 4 February 2017

Personal and professional accountability: an ethical challenge, Arthur Dahl, 2015h

Introducing Bahá'í Principles to United Nations Dialogues and Conferences, Arthur Dahl, 2014e

Natural Sciences and Society, Arthur Dahl, 2014f.

Challenges in the Integration of Systems Knowledge for Governance of the Earth System [pdf for download], Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, and Arthur Dahl, 2012

Design Criteria and Learning Strategies for International Environmental Governance, Arthur Dahl, 2012c

Science, Governance and Ethics in Environmental Migration, Arthur Dahl, 2012e

European Union and Global Sustainability: Issues for Rio 2012, Arthur Dahl, 2011c

Climate Ethics and the Copenhagen Summit, Arthur Dahl, 2010a

The Constraints of UNEP and International Environmental Law to Respond Effectively to the Victims of Climate Change, Arthur Dahl, 2010b

Interstate Collaboration for Human Security: The Lessons from Copenhagen, Arthur Dahl, 2010c

Assisting the World's Transition to a Sustainable Energy Future, Larry Staudt, 2009

Preventing Overshoot and Collapse: Managing the Earth's Resources, Arthur Dahl, 2008d

Institutionalizing Sustainable Consumption (also powerpoint), Sylvia I. Karlsson, Finland, 2006

Good Governance and Competitiveness, Arthur Dahl, 2005

The Challenge of Integrating Indicators Across Levels, Sylvia Karlsson, 2002

Governance in the 21st Century: Theory and Practice, Augusto Lopez-Claros, 1999

Influencing Processes Towards World Peace: External Affairs Aspects of SED & Environmental Activities, Barney Leith, 1999

Managing the Global Commons - Applying the Oneness of Humanity, Sylvia Karlsson, 1998

Ecological Models of Social Organization: A Bahá'í Perspective, Arthur Dahl, 1994

Last updated 9 June 2023