The international political response to the global climate crisis has been sluggish and ineffective so far. This chapter sketches avenues for reform of the overall institutional architecture of climate governance. The chapter reviews numerous reform proposals and reform options that are at present discussed to make global climate governance more dynamic and effective. Among others, the chapter debates alternative governance arrangements outside the realm of intergovernmental regimes; novel ways to strengthen the involvement of civil society in climate institutions; various options to realign international institutions and agencies, such as the establishment of a world environment organization; the introduction of qualified majority voting in climate negotiations; and finally, the need to prepare for unavoidable climate change by building up effective systems of ‘global adaptation governance.’
Frank Biermann and Ingrid Boas
Climate change may compel millions of people, largely in Africa and Asia, to leave their homes to seek refuge in other places over the course of the century. Yet the current institutions, organizations and funding mechanisms, including new soft law initiatives, are not sufficiently equipped to deal with this. The situation calls for new governance. Following a review of academic and popular debates focussed on defining this issue as climate ‘refugees’ or ‘migrants’, we advance in this chapter a blueprint for a global governance architecture on the protection and voluntary resettlement of climate migrants. We argue against the extension of the definition of refugees under the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and discuss the limited use of soft law mechanisms as these are largely focussed on state responsibility. Key elements of our proposal are, instead, a new legal instrument that builds on the responsibility of the international community and is specifically tailored for the needs of climate migrants—a Protocol on Recognition, Protection and Resettlement of Climate Migrants to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—as well as a separate funding mechanism, a Climate Migrant Protection and Resettlement Fund.