Necessity for Organizational Change: Implementing the Rio Agenda of 1992
Lynton K. Caldwell
Implementation of Agenda 21 adopted at Rio de Janeiro by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) provides an opportunity to review the demands that preservation of the biosphere and its human infrastructure will place on international institutions of governance. 1 The effectiveness of an institutional response to challenging circumstances depends not only on commitment to Agenda 21 objectives, but also on the suitability of the organizational structure necessary for its undertaking. A difficulty in implementing environmental policy in a world of nations is that no set of organizing principles or guidelines has been provided. The conference in Rio is an aspect of what Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider ( 1991) have called "the first global revolution." 2 The emergence of a global economy has necessitated the development of a global environmental policy in a world of nations adhering to the legal doctrine of sovereignty. There is growing recognition of the obsolescence of this doctrine--at least in its 17th century form. The scope of sovereign power has been relatively diminished by the rise of powerful multinational corporations and by the growing influence of nongovernmental environmental and human rights organizations. A supra or extranational structure for international policies appears to be emerging, but no clear pattern has as yet appeared. Therefore, before turning to the Rio conference and its accomplishments, I will briefly review the relationship between organizational structure and the prospects for achieving the goals of policy.
Although organizational structure and behavior have evolved historically out of circumstances in a society--including the biosocial tendencies of its