Deutsch: Umweltgovernance / Español: Gobernanza ambiental / Português: Governança ambiental / Français: Gouvernance environnementale / Italiano: Governance ambientale

Environmental governance in the context of the environment refers to the processes and institutions through which decisions related to the environment are made, implemented, and enforced. This encompasses the actions taken by governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and communities to manage and protect the environment.


Environmental governance involves a variety of approaches, including legislation, policies, agreements, and participatory processes that seek to address environmental issues. The aim is to achieve sustainable management of natural resources and ensure the protection of ecosystems. Effective governance requires the cooperation of multiple stakeholders across different sectors and levels, from local to global. It also includes mechanisms to ensure accountability, transparency, and the equitable distribution of resources.

Key aspects of environmental governance include:

  • Policy-making: Development of policies that incorporate environmental concerns into national and international agendas.
  • Regulation and Enforcement: Implementation of environmental laws and regulations that dictate how resources are managed and protected.
  • Participation: Engagement of various stakeholders, including public input and collaboration between governments, NGOs, businesses, and community groups.

Application Areas

Environmental governance is applied in various areas to address specific challenges:

Well-Known Examples

A prominent example of environmental governance is the role of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which coordinates environmental activities at the global level and provides guidance and support to governments in implementing sustainable environmental practices. Another example is the European Union’s environmental policy, which includes comprehensive regulations that member states must adhere to, such as the EU Water Framework Directive and the Birds and Habitats Directives.

Treatment and Risks

The effectiveness of environmental governance can be compromised by factors such as insufficient funding, political instability, lack of enforcement, and corruption. Additionally, conflicts of interest between economic development and environmental protection can pose significant challenges.

Improving environmental governance involves enhancing the capacity of institutions, increasing stakeholder engagement, and integrating environmental considerations into all aspects of policy-making and planning. Ensuring that governance systems are adaptive and responsive to new scientific information and environmental changes is also crucial.


Environmental governance is a critical aspect of environmental management, involving a complex web of policies, regulations, and participatory mechanisms that aim to sustainably manage the Earth’s natural resources and protect its ecosystems. It is a dynamic and evolving field that requires continuous improvement to address the growing environmental challenges facing our global society.


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