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Health & Environment program

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What's in a name? Market-based Instruments for Biodiversity


Health and Environment Reports, n° 8, May 2011

The use of Market-based Instruments (MBIs) for the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services – carbon trading schemes, payment for ecosystem services, mitigation banking, etc. – is currently booming. But the definition...


Making Sense of One Health


Cooperating at the Human-Animal- Ecosystem Health Interface. April 2011

This study aims at showing and making sense of the One Health approach, according to which it is impossible to defeat infectious disease without working at the interface between human health, animal health and the environment. The study also...


Ifri’s “Health and Environment: from Safety and Security Issues to New Governance Options?” programme was launched in March 2008. Central to its research is the study of global governance with respect to health and the environment, within a comparative logic framework, as well as questions of overlap within the domains of health and the environment (pollution, for example).

At the heart of the programme lies the understanding that health and the environment are two issues which are relatively new to the field of International Relations and which have been slowly imposed upon the global agenda since the 19th century, at least since the recognition of the interdependence and shared stakes of communities facing health or environmental problems. All societies are affected in different ways by pandemics, pollution, or the disappearances of species of flora and fauna.

Associating these two subjects opens the door to comparative analysis of today’s global governance concerning them. More precisely, it invites questions about the interaction between different levels of governance (local, national, regional, global), emerging tools of governance (new institutions, new norms, innovative funds and other methods of financing) and their impact on the way that health and environmental problems are solved on the local and global levels. What shape does the emerging governance architecture then take? Is it a loose and fragmented fabric, come undone at the seams? How is it possible to reinforce emerging forms of governance in ways which will consolidate them and ensure their survival and ability to respond in times of crisis? What type of institutionalisation is necessary? Is it necessary to invent a new formalised and centralised governance system, such as the World Health Organisation, for global environmental issues - a type of “World Environment Organisation”? Is the existing fluid format sufficient in that it permits a harmonious political progression by way of diffusion of ideas and information from one sphere to another?

The programme attempts to visualise the workings and functioning of global governance through different case studies which not only illuminate the existing structure of governance but also allow the study of its functions, limits, and possible improvements.

Equally important is the programme’s interest in stimulating a broader debate within civil society and, through the growing network of interested actors, the emergence of new approaches and perspectives concerning the global problems of health and the environment.

The results of this research are presented each year in the form of two international conferences that take place in Taipei, Paris or Brussels, and through the publication of reports and articles.

In 2008-2009, the Health&Environment programme focused on the modes and tools of governance put in place to manage global health and environmental issues. The subjects of the first three reports were industrial pollution, the management of avian flu, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

For the year 2009-2010, the programme’s research centred on the process of production and implementation of international norms, as well as their impact.  The two associated reports deal with the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation put in place in the EU, and on the place of the environment, and more specifically climate change, in Japan’s foreign policy.

The year 2010-2011 will be dedicated to the study of new tendencies in the global governance of health and the environment.

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