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Title: Dictionary and Introduction to Global Environmental Governance. 2e.
Author(s): Richard E Saunier and Richard A Meganck
Date of Publication: 2007 Publisher: Earthscan
Pages:xxi + 410 ISBN: 978 1 84407 425 9
Price: Format:Paperback
Target Readership Sen Secondary







Content: 1 – Global environmental governance - an essay; 2 - A dictionary of selected terms, concepts, jargon, acronyms and abbreviations used in global environmental governance; Appendices

Review: Anyone who tries to read some of the official publications without a good deal of training or background work will come away with two feelings. Firstly, that the publication is virtually impossible to understand and therefore that the authors have no interest in promulgating the topic. Secondly, that the language is such that it is highly exclusive, meant for a specific audience and not really something ordinary mortals can be involved with. Sadly, both are mistaken but based on some very solid evidence. As one who has read more than his fair share of these publications over the years any help with interpretation is going to be welcomed.

Thus we have this part-dictionary, part-essay to help the unwary through the minefield which is international governance. Of course part of the problem is that people will try to read the material and come away disillusioned so there is a great need for assistance. What sets this dictionary apart from others is that it starts with an essay. Although only a fraction of the book (under 10%) it is undoubtedly a crucial fraction. What it does (and does well) is to describe the process involved in international governance and show how it works and the concepts underpinning it. The result is to give the reader a better grasp of how things are done and a better appreciation of why the publications end up as they do from language to concept. This is no mean feat: even more seasoned readers will find much of interest. Following through the work one is left with an appreciation of process which is important. Global issues such as global warming are not going away and it is crucial that we learn to decode the documentation that accompanies so much of the international action. Having gained an insight into the process we can turn to decode the jargon. The dictionary is just that: an a-z listing of a very wide range of key terms, acronyms and associated shorthand without which no report seems complete. Its mixture of common terms, organisations and concepts makes it a very useful companion. Its range makes it quite comprehensive - it should serve to illuminate the vast majority of documents checked through it. A short but useful series of appendices lists key agreements and principles as well as providing a considerable list of definitions for ecology and ecosystems.

Overall this is a very useful text. It helps the reader decode the message. Its clear style makes looking up material easy and the essay is a timely reminder of the complexity of the situation. A very useful addition to the reference shelf.





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