"We should seek input from people closest to the ground, not just from the elites, not just at the 30,000-feet level," noted Kenneth W. Abbott, a professor of international relations in ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. "Consultations should not take place only at the global scale, where the broadest policies are created, but also at local scales, smaller scales, all scales," he said.
To improve the speed of decision-making in international negotiations, the authors called for stronger reliance on qualified majority voting. "There has to be a change in international negotiating procedures from the current situation, in which no action can be taken unless consensus is reached among all participating governments," Abbott said.
The authors also called for governments "to close remaining regulatory gaps at the global level," including the treatment of emerging technologies.
"A great deal of attention has been given to issues such as climate change, yet nanotechnology and other emerging technologies, which may bring significant benefits, also carry potential risks for sustainable development," Abbott said.
Relying on research by Abbott and his colleagues at ASU's College of Law, the authors wrote that emerging technologies "need an international institutional arrangementsuch as one or several multilateral framework conventions" to support forecasting and transparency, and to ensure that environmental risks are taken into account.
"Working to make the world economy more green and to create an effective institutional framework for sustainable development will be the two main focal points at this summer's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro," Abbott said. "This article was written to bring urgency to those discussions and to outline specific 'building blocks' for a more effective and sustainable Earth system governance system."
The authors also argue
|Contact: Carol Hughes|
Arizona State University