PAP Seminar: 40 years of International Sustainability Governance - the perspective of a global public servant

Published on
February 10, 2014

20 February, 12.30-14.00 hours, room C68, Leeuwenborch



Dr. Arthur Lyon Dahl, retired Deputy Assistant Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been engaged with international governance for sustainability since the first United Nations conference on the environment in 1972 including many years in high positions in the United Nations Environment Programme.

He will give a critical appraisal of what has and has not worked at the international science-policy interface. His examples will range from small island developing states to global environmental assessments and major United Nations Conferences. Issues considered will include the design and functioning of international institutions, the power of the UN Secretariat, the games diplomats play and the growing influence of civil society organizations. Dr Dahl will end with some thoughts on the implications for the decades immediately ahead, and is happy to discuss some alternative ways forward with the audience.



Dr. Arthur L. Dahl acquired his PhD in Biology (marine ecology) from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1969. His engagement with international environmental governance started with attending the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 and in 1974 he joined the South Pacific Commission. Since then he has worked with or been employed by international organizations, including the UN and its agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations. He organized the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, helped to oversee many other Regional Seas Programmes, served in the secretariat for the UN Conference on Environment and Development and acted as task manager for the Commission on Sustainable Development for 8 years. Dr Dahl was for one decade responsible for coordinating environmental monitoring and assessment across the whole UN system, including organizing the Sponsors Group for the Global Observing Systems and the Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership. The last years before his retirement from UNEP in 2002 he was the director of the Coral Reef Unit. Most recently he was Co-coordinator of the UNEP Major Groups & Stakeholders Advisory Group on International Environmental Governance.