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MEGA: New campaign aims at strengthening global environmental governance

Ocean protection is one of the campaigns included in the MEGA platform. Photo by Hiroko Yoshii on Unsplash (detail)

At a hybrid meeting held in Geneva on March 26, 2024, a new global campaign was launched that aims to strengthen environmental governance. Mobilizing an Earth Governance Alliance (MEGA) will serve as a platform to build a coalition of civil society organizations and like-minded states, along with legislators, experts, business actors and other stakeholders, who intend to work together in this field and amplify relevant initiatives.

Three organizations are co-founders of the campaign: the Climate Governance Commission (CGC), Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS), and the World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (WFM). During the launch event, the Convenor of CGC, Maja Groff, and the Chair of WFM, John Vlasto, recounted the origin story of MEGA. The two met at the UN’s climate conference in Glasgow, COP26, where they noticed that the conversations around climate change action lacked a recognition of the central role of global governance. At the launch event, Vlasto underscored the potential of improving global governance in this field, noting that “if we sort out the governance, we can sort out the environmental polycrisis.”

MEGA is a response to the deepening planetary emergency

MEGA is a response to the deepening planetary emergency confronting humanity. Groff highlighted during the launch that there is already an “overshooting of six of the nine Planetary Boundaries” identified by environmental scientist Johan Rockström, Co-Chair of CGC, and others. This is cause for great concern, as “our common home and common humanity are under threat”, noted former President of Ireland and Chair of the Elders, Mary Robinson, who is also Co-Chair of CGC. Nevertheless, the speakers at the MEGA launch stressed there is still hope; we are at a crossroads where there remains the possibility to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C or less through collective action. 

MEGA’s platform showcases various proposals, many of which derive from the report of the Climate Governance Commission “Governing Our Planetary Emergency”, published in November 2023

The launch event featured a number of speakers from the political, scientific and business spheres. This is a direct reflection of the ethos of MEGA, which is that no one sector can tackle climate change alone. As Alexander Schmidt, Head of Science, Sustainability and Climate Research at Normative, put it, “bridging the gap between the business side, the policy side, and the academia side, is crucial” to tackling the environmental polycrisis. 

MEGA’s platform showcases various proposals, many of which derive from the Governing Our Planetary Emergency report released by CGC ahead of COP28. This report puts forward ten near-term and five medium-term climate governance proposals. Examples include reform of the Climate COPs, a declaration of a “planetary emergency” by the United Nations General Assembly, and the establishment of a Global Environment Agency and an International Court for the Environment. MEGA’s overarching objective is to build smart coalitions of civil society, like-minded governments, and other stakeholders, to implement these and other proposals. 

MEGA’s platform also helps promote existing campaigns, such as the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA), led by Democracy Without Borders (DWB) and endorsed by over 200 organizations. The UNPA Campaign aims to give elected representatives of UN member states a voice at the decision-making table of the UN. The proposed UNPA aligns closely with MEGA’s goal, which is to create strengthened but also more equitable and accountable global governance capable of addressing the planetary emergency through a just transition. The relevance of a UNPA and other mechanisms that enhance representation, participation and accountability in global governance arrangements in the environmental field is the reason why DWB is one of MEGA’s numerous co-sponsoring organizations. By championing initiatives like the UNPA, MEGA aims to ensure that the concerns of citizens worldwide will be heard and acted upon at the global level. 

Nelleke Dekkers
Nelleke is a graduate of the MSc Development Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is volunteering with Democracy Without Borders UK and the World Federalist Movement.