Global Environmental Governance

Global Environmental Governance

Law and Regulation for the 21st Century

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Louis J. Kotzé

This timely book brings much-needed clarity to the concept of ‘environmental governance’ as manifested in the global regulatory domain. The author argues that despite being used as a fashionable term by many – including economists, political scientists, environmentalists and, increasingly, lawyers – its theoretical contours and conceptual content remain unclear, incoherent, and inconsistent. In addressing this problem, the book begins by describing globalization as a general context of governance. It comprehensively interrogates and clarifies both the governance and global governance concepts, and then explains aspects and components of global environmental governance. Finally it investigates the role of law in global environmental governance.

Law and governance

Louis J. Kotzé

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law


Chapter 3 indicated that law presupposes governance and vice versa; the two are interdependent and inseparably intertwined. This chapter further elaborates on the relationship between law and governance with specific reference to the broader social function of law as the predominant but not the only social institution in society (others are, for example, politics, economics and religion). The latter discussion specifically focuses on the constitutive, regulative, steering and legitimizing functions of law in society. While Chapter 2 has briefly referred to the changing face of law as a result of globalization, this chapter also more comprehensively discusses the increased plurality or hybridization of law in the global governance paradigm. This part of the discussion emphasizes that law (in tandem with governance) is increasingly assuming a more diverse or plural character and that, like governance, law is no longer exclusively connected to the state and the formal, ‘hard’ forms of law generated by state actors. Notably, as a consequence of globalization, many ‘softer’, informal and private rules, guidelines and principles are generated and used by a wide range of non-state actors to form a global body of law that collectively serves as the legal base of the global governance effort. To the extent that it is influenced by globalization, governance itself necessitates a manifestly different approach to law:

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