The year 2015 will likely go down in history as the year in which the international community showed that multilateral environmental cooperation can still lead to concrete results. The most eye-catching outcomes were undoubtedly the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change (which will be discussed in detail in the following issue of RECIEL) in December 2015, as well as the agreement on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September. In addition, agreement was reached on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015–2030) in March, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, resulting from the Financing for Development conference in July.
Clearly, the agreements reached in 2015 will merely be paper tigers if they are not accompanied by laws, policies and other actions by governments and nongovernmental actors to achieve the goals and objectives laid down in them. Moreover, the new agreements will not operate in a vacuum, and will need to be embedded in the existing and ever-changing system of international environmental governance. These issues are at the heart of the contributions to this issue of RECIEL, which focuses on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda adopted last year and its relationship to the broader corpus of international environmental law.
Getting to 2030: Negotiating the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda (pages 5–14), Pamela S. Chasek, Lynn M. Wagner, Faye Leone, Ana-Maria Lebada and Nathalie Risse
The Nexus between International Law and the Sustainable Development Goals (pages 15–26), Rakhyun E. Kim
Clean Air for All by 2030? Air Quality in the 2030 Agenda and in International Law (pages 27–38), Birgit Lode, Philipp Schönberger and Patrick Toussaint
Cross-fertilization between the Sustainable Development Goals and International Water Law (pages 39–49), Otto Spijkers
Governance and the Sustainable Development Goals: The Increasing Relevance of Access Rights in Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration (pages 50–58), Marcos Orellana
Follow-up and Review of the Sustainable Development Goals: Alignment vs. Internalization (pages 59–68), Åsa Persson, Nina Weitz and Måns Nilsson