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Dr Jennifer Allan

Dr Jennifer Allan

Lecturer in International Relations

School of Law and Politics

Comment
Media commentator

Overview

In the context of global environmental politics, my research explores environmental and social movements, and how global rules are made and remade. My recent work focuses on the politics of sustainable post-COVID recoveries, including green stimulus packages in the UK and the emergence of the green recovery norm globally. I engage with a wide range of environmental issues, including climate change, biodiversity, forest protection, and chemical and wastes management. I received my PhD from the University of British Columbia in May 2017. 

Through contributing to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin – the de facto record of global environmental negotiations, I've attended roughly 40 UN conferences where states negotiate the rules of global climate governance, as well as chemicals and wastes management, and have published over 100 Bulletins with my ENB colleagues. I edit a yearly round of up the State of Global Environmental Governance for ENB

Beyond the ENB, I work with a range of international and UK-based NGOs on climate change and green recovery campaigns. I gave evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee scrutinising the UK's preparations for the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and net zero plans.  

Biography

My research explores environmental and social movements, and how global rules are made and remade. My recent book, The New Climate Activism, explains why non-state actors campaign for causes in which they lack expertise and prior experience, and, why some of these actors are able to successfully join activist and other networks working on these new issues, while others fail to gain such acceptance.

My publications in Global Environmental Politics, Global Policy, Third World Quarterly, and Environmental Politics further contribute to scholarship on NGO influence and state-based negotiations in global environmental politics. Recent publications stemmed from my postdoc at Carleton University as part of the Valuing Nature project. Here, we explored the rise and implementation of the ecosystem services project. A recent publication in Global Environmental Politics introduces the concept of practical fit, to explain why practitioners struggle to implement ecosystem services projects. My research employs a range of methods, such as participant observation, social network analysis, and interviews.

I am a Strategic Advisor and Team Leader for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin – the de facto record of global environmental negotiations. Since 2011, I have attended dozens of UN conferences where states negotiate the rules of global climate governance, as well as chemicals and wastes management.

I received my PhD from the University of British Columbia in May 2017. The dissertation was based on a unique database on NGO participation in the UN climate change negotiations. Before beginning my PhD, I worked as a Project Manager for the Clean Air Strategic Alliance in Alberta, mediating consensus among representatives from business, government, and NGOs. I was a Project Assistant for a global forest project at the global conservation NGO IUCN 2005-2006 in Bangkok. My MA is in International Development and Politics from the University of Guelph.

Publications

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2013

Teaching

I teach or contribute to undergraduate modules on:

  • Local to Global Sustainable Development
  • Be the Change: Non-state Actors in Global Governance
  • Global Governance
  • Colonialism, Global Poltiical Economy and Development

My projects and publications share a few common themes. First, I often ask how international negotiations can improve and realize beneficial outcomes for the environment, by studying success stories, innovations in negotiation processes, and underlying negotiation dynamics. Second, I look beyond negotiations to explore how non-state actors try to shape global rules and when they directly form their own rules, working in partnerships with others. Third, I ask how these worlds - state-centric negotiations at the UN, and non-state partnerships - interact and, at times, collide.

Ongoing projects

Valuing Nature Project: I am working on the evolution, diffusion, and implementation of the ecosystem services concept. My contribution is to help understand both international dimensions and Canadian domestic politics related to efforts to value nature.

Evolution of Climate Governance: This work involves archival and interview work to uncover and re-tell the story of climate governance, including that it has always been nationally-determined and pledge based. In this project, I also continue work related to the engagement of NGOs.

Green Recovery: This emerging project involves two themes: the advocacy of a global norm for a green recovery and the comparative politics of green recoveries. 

Plastics and Chemicals and Wastes Governance: Work in this area includes questions of how wastes are governed and how NGOs engage. I look at the emerging, fragmented efforts to regulate plastics trade (which ignoring questions of production and use of plastics) and why advocates are relatively silent on electronic and electrical waste (e-waste), despite it's rapid growth and harmful effects on people and the planet.