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  Editorial


  by Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos,
  Editor and Director of MEPIELAN Centre,
  Panteion University of Athens, Greece




Welcome to the 2012 fall edition of MEPIELAN E-Bulletin.

My gratitude and thanks go to all those who have been instrumental in the continuing success of this Bulletin. According to the latest figures, there have been over 10.500 visits to the Bulletin’s website from 143 countries worldwide.

The vision of the Bulletin to provide a dynamic scholarly forum for inter-disciplinary knowledge and discussion and advocate the need to understand environmental governance, its law and policy aspects, in terms of establishing, protecting and promoting international common interest, is realized through the invaluable engagement of distinguished academic experts and scholars as well as of promising young researchers. This edition features several new articles discussing innovative ideas and hotly debated issues of international law and policy, environment and development. While continuing the unending flow of topical thematic news, this edition also presents a new international case of interest, the Yasuni Park Trust Fund as an innovative global experiment reflecting environmental trust governance contributing to sustainability. Moreover, this edition, serving as a showcase for new knowledge-advancing books, presents a new important book “Global Environmental Governance Reconsidered”, an excellent collection edited by Frank Biermann and Philipp Pattberg, which contains insightful articles providing theoretical underpinnings and perspectives of global environmental governance as perceived and researched in the framework of the well-known Clobal Environmental Governance Project.

A Guest Article written by Philipp Pattberg, Associate Professor of Transnational Governance, Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, eloquently takes an insightful and well-balanced view on the outcome of the Rio+20 Summit, highlighting the weaknesses reflected in the official summit declaration “The Future We Want” – evidently defeating the widespread expectations for achieving “a transformative shift” in international environmental governance – but also denoting its few positive results. As he rightly concludes, “while we certainly should search for additional approaches to global environmental governance beyond mega-conferences, what is most needed now is a critical reflection on how the summit results can be used to revive global sustainability governance.”
 
Two Insight Articles also feature this edition:

In an article entitled “The Barcelona Convention System as an International Trust Regime: The Public Participation Aspect” I resurface my older argument – based on the public trust approach and enriched with new theoritical perspectives – that the Barcelona Convention and its seven Protocols, along with all regional or global conventional environmental regimes (improperly labeled as “Multilateral Environmental Agreements” – MEAs), should be viewed as conventionally determined international trust regimes. After explaining the fiduciary legal language and structure of trust environmental governance in the Barcelona Convention System, the argument is focused on the public participation aspect, exploring the issues and challenges for the public-as-beneficiaries or inter-generational beneficiaries underlining the relational impact of the Aarhus Convention.

Dr. Elli Louka, Founder of Alphabetics Development & Investment (ADI), USA, meticulously and critically examines the complex system of conventional regimes governing the safety and security of nuclear materials, offering a well-balanced and concise presentation of the evolution of nuclear governance of such intricate and crucial issues as nuclear safety, physical protection of nuclear material, safety of irradiated nuclear fuel cargo and liability for nuclear accidents.
 
Finally, a Critical Forum Article by Socrates Zachos, a Ph.D Candidate and Researcher at MEPIELAN Centre, usefully unfolds the complex pattern of Local Authorities participation in the Rio+20 process, presenting their contribution to the two main themes of the Conference (green economy and institutional reform), as well as to the negotiating process of the Zero Draft of the Outcome Document, and he highlights their assessment of the achievements, failures and perspectives of the outcome of Rio+20.

MEPIELAN E-Bulletin is a dynamic electronic newsletter of MEPIELAN Centre, Panteion University of Athens, Greece.  It features guest articles, insights articles, critical forum textual contributions and reflections, specially selected documents and cases, book reviews as well as news on thematic topics of direct interest of MEPIELAN Centre, presented in a clear, insightful and attractive way whilst shedding light on topical issues of environmental law, governance and policy significance. Content bridges theory and practice perspectives of international law, international environmental law, sustainable development, and international negotiating process, and includes notifications of MEPIELAN cooperation updates and news. The Bulletin is an addition to our communication instruments which include an edited Series, the MEPIELAN Studies in International Environmental Law and Negotiation.

It is hoped that its content will contribute to a scholarly debate on important issues of current interest, providing an independent, open access forum for the promotion of innovative ideas and enlightened critical views of distinguished authors. The Bulletin further aims at offering a knowledge- and information-sharing platform for MEPIELAN audience, striving to serve a modern thinking and questing community, in the hope that it will stimulate constructive discussions on the issues presented.  The audience includes academics, researchers, university students, international lawyers, officials and personnel of international organizations and institutional arrangements, heads and personnel of national authorities and administration at all levels (national, regional and local), members of Non-Governmental Organizations, as well as the relevant private sector.

In a time of utmost crisis, in an epoch where we come to realize that the boldest measures are the safest, words fail to express my deepest appreciation to all the contributors to this edition and to our faithful worldwide audience sharing with us the progressing ideas, knowledge and message of this Bulletin.

 

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