Global Environmental Governance (extended version)

Course content

GEG is an interdisciplinary, project oriented course organised around different environmental themes, which may change from year to year. The course concludes with an oral examination.

This course consists of four main components: (1) An introduction to the general field of “global environmental governance” (2) Examination of different environmental governance themes (3) A project assignment (4) Self-studies

Re 1. General introduction
The course will introduce key concepts and issues of relevance for global environmental governance as seen from various professional perspectives (political science, geography, law and life science). Moreover, the course will introduce the most important of those governmental and non-governmental international institutions and regimes that regulate the interaction between society and environment. The students will obtain a basic understanding of how these institutions and regimes interact with institutions at regional and national levels. It is intended to provide insights in the global and international character of environmental problems, and in those mechanisms of governance and regulation that have special significance for the solution of environmental problems. The aim of the introduction is to create a common conceptual framework for the subsequent work.

Re. 2. Examination of different environmental themes.
The second component is an examination of different environmental themes in the light of global environmental governance, again drawing on the various professional approaches, research traditions, analytical frameworks, etc.

Examples of possible environmental themes are: biodiversity, water, forest, climate change.

Focus is on the global and international levels of governance, but also with a view to how these levels interact with the regional and local levels.

Re 3. Project reports
The students will work in teams in preparing a written assignment.

Re 4. Self-study
In total, the curriculum will add up to approximately 1200 pages. The individual students will have to compose part of their own curriculum (approximately 600 pages). They must submit their proposed curriculum to the course coordinator for approval no later than three weeks before oral exams, and familiarise themselves with this part of the literature by self-studies.

Learning outcome

The proposed course is part of the cross-faculty Global Environmental Governance education programme, described at Two faculties have shares in the course and programme including: Faculty of Science (IFRO and IGN) and Faculty of Law. Th ecourse also has collaboration with the Department of Political Science (Faculty of Social Science). 

The objective of the course is to equip the students with interdisciplinary skills, which will assist them in dealing with global environmental governance in an international and/or national context. They will be enabled, moreover, to obtain knowledge about different issues of relevance to global environmental problems, and gain understanding of some of the international processes, which bring this knowledge into play.

- Has extensive knowledge about relevant international organisations and regimes, how they work, and what are some of their limitations in relation to the task of governing the society-nature relationship.
- Has extensive understanding of political and institutional issues in the relationship between global, national and local levels of environmental governance
- Has insights in some of the different debates on global environmental problems and their eventual solutions. Main focus is on the green environment.

- Understand and link knowledge and insights from own professional background with corresponding knowledge and insights from other professions including political science, law, life sciences, and geography

- Can open up to different views on social and physical aspects of global environmental problems and their eventual solutions.
- Is able to work in teams when addressing global environmental problems

- Can link the theories contained in the curriculum with global environmental issues and problems, consequences and solutions.
- Can bring knowledge about environmental problems into play in an international political, legal and administrative context.

Combined lectures, theoretical exercises, project work, supervision. self-studies

You can find a good introduction to the topic in: O’Neil, Kate (2009): The Environment and International Relations, Cambridge University Press

Another good introduction, which is also part of the course readings, is: Najam, Adil; M. Papa, N. Taiyab (2006): Global Environmental governance, a reform agenda. IISD. Chapter 1. A primer on the GEG Reform Debate.

This course is for graduate students, i.e. students who hold a BSc degree in any field. Students who have some previous experience with environmental sciences, social sciences and law may have a small advantage from the outset, but for students with other backgrounds, a genuine interest in the topic can make up for it.

Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes under invigilation
30 minutes oral examination including assessment. The exams take out in a brief presentation by the individual student of the obligatory written assignment, and relate to the curriculum.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one external examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 48
  • Theory exercises
  • 12
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Preparation
  • 125
  • Project work
  • 85
  • Guidance
  • 2
  • English
  • 274