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Comparing Global Coordination Mechanisms on Energy, Environment, and Water

Susanne Schubert
Joyeeta Gupta


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Increasingly, coordination mechanisms are being created at the United Nations (UN) level to enhance system-wide synergies; however, there is relatively little scientific research on these bodies. Against this background, we compare the mandates, structures, and outputs of three UN coordination mechanisms, the UN Environment Management Group, UN-Energy, and UN-Water, to understand what features enhance their ability to coordinate. We conclude that there are three key design elements that possibly enhance the ability of such mechanisms to coordinate. However, although coordination mechanisms are the easiest to set up, because they create the least political upheaval and are relatively cheap, these very characteristics hinder their ability to actually steer the bodies in their sector in such a way that synergy is optimized, duplications and contradictions are reduced, and a common strategy is adopted. Such coordination bodies can contribute to agenda setting, knowledge sharing, providing a discussion forum, and bringing together stakeholders and experts.

Key words

coordination mechanism; global energy governance; global environmental governance; global water governance; United Nations; UN-Water
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087