My New Book

Felix Dodds latest book is out

FROM RIO+20 TO A NEW DEVELOPMENT AGENDA by Felix Dodds, Jorge Laguna-Celis & Liz Thompson


October 2015

Photo by IISD/ENB

The Eye on the Earth was originally in response to to the UAE being ranked 141 out of 142 countries in the Environmental Sustainability Index in February 2002.  AGEDI launched in Sept 2002 by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan (President of UAE) at the World Summit on Sustainable

Development, Johannesburg.  It was established as a Type II partnership a joint venture between Environment Agency (EAD) & United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The goal of Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) is to address the gap in environmental data and information. It held its first international Summit in 2011 the one that just finished aimed to  identify solutions for greater access to and sharing of data, in order to provide policymakers with timely, actionable information for critical decisions to implement the post-2015 development agenda.

The Summit was convened this time by a collaboration of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency's Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) and the Eye on Earth Alliance, a partnership of organizations including, inter alia, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Attending Eye on Earth were representatives from government, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, academia, NGOs and other stakeholders.

Photo by IISD/ENB

Panelists in the session I moderated “Addressing Policymaking Demand for Data: Dialogue Between Decision Makers and Providers” (L-R) Nawal Al Hosany, Masdar; David Rhind, Nuffield Foundation; Kathrine Brekke, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability; (Moderator Felix Dodds), University of North Carolina; Ingrid Dillo, Data Archiving and Networked Services; Robert Gurney, University of Reading; and Marcos Silva, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


September 2015

September was a historic month where after 4 years of negotiations the Sustainable Development Goals and targets were adopted on the 25th of September by Heads of State. Originally put forward in July 2011 by the Governments of Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and UAE they were one of the successes of Rio+20 which laid out the path that they would take to the recent Heads of State Summit. 

During the Summit which was from the 25th to the 27th of September there were numerous events focused on taking forward the SDGs


A great initiative by PCI Media Impact Heroes for Change working with Comics Uniting Nations working in close coordination with the United Nations Millennium Campaign and the United Nations Post-2015 Development Planning Team to make the Sustainable Development Goals accessible to the citizens of the world through comics. With the help of creative, academic, publishing and technology partners from around the globe we will create and distribute The Comics Guide to the Global Goals. This series will leverage the universal visual language and transformative power of comics to educate people in every corner of the globe about the SDGs and empower them to create positive and lasting change in their own communities and worldwide.

Writing with Geoffrey Lipman we produced an article on the 17th of September just before the Heads of State Summit  '2015: 'Once in a lifetime' chance for green growth and travelism'.

“Travelism thrives on peace and sustainability and is an essential contributor to it. Tourism which is such an important contributor to the economies of most countries provides them with a strong incentive to maintain internal security, protect the human rights of their people…and provide them with expanding opportunities.”

- Maurice Strong, secretary general of the Stockholm (1972) and Rio (1992) United Nations conferences.


August 2015

We now have an agreement and a very good name for the agreement it will be called Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Heads of State will be agreeing a very substantial document in September which if implemented will really put us on a path to a more equitable, fair, just and sustainable planet. Personally I have been engaged in this process since Brazil originally called for a new Summit on Sustainable Development  in 2007. It was Colombia and Guatemala who originally put forward the idea of Sustainable Development Goals at a retreat in Solo Indonesia in July 2011. This was originally opposed by development Ministries in the north and many development NGOs.  


Now the real business starts of implementation and we all have responsibilities to be part of this and part of monitoring that governments do this time keep their promises.The future is in our hands the crisis of peace versus war, development versus despair, sustainability versus annihilation, are ours to solve with this transformational agenda


July 2015

It has been a busy month and not yet over.

On July 27th the Guardian published an article by Michael Strauss and myself on the 2015 processes called 'The year of negotiating precariously'. As we say the year 2015 may be recorded as one of the most extraordinarily successful – or disastrous – years in the history of international diplomatic negotiations.


On the 21st of July saw the launching of my 12th book called ‘Governance for Sustainable Development’ edited with: Hoonmin Lim, Sara Luna, Oana Rebedea, David Banisar and Quinn McKew The book represents the first book by the ‘Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development’ which is co-chaired by the governments of Mexico, Romania and the Republic of Korea there is a free download here.



You may be interested in the article Michael Strauss and I wrote that appeared in the Guardian last week called:The year of negotiating precariouslythe article looks at the development of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Financing for Development Conference and the upcoming Climate Change Summit in Paris in November. 

A much more colourful day in the basement of the United Nations Vienna Cafe.


June 2015




Enjoying time with my children - Merri and Robin - in Key West while working on two books the Governance for Sustainable Development and 'The Nexus of Resource Security: Water, Food, Energy and Climate'. Both are due in by the end of August.  


May 2015



Working on the twelfth book a series of chapters based on the three workshops that were held by the government Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development. The book will be out as an e-book in late July. It will be the second e-book by New World Frontiers.  




April 2015


One of the conferences I engaged in in the 1990s and have fond memories of is the 1996 Habitat II Conference, which adopted the Habitat Agenda. I remember it in part because it achieved the most progressive stakeholder engagement in a UN Conference ever. I also have very fond memories of it because I made a lifelong friend in the Chair of the Conference Pakistan Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel who went on to be Deputy Executive Director of UNEP. In Habitat II I was the coordinator of the NGO negotiating team working under the International Facilitating Committee (IFC) a Major Group platform that managed their engagement in the conference. 

April saw the second preparatory meeting for Habitat III held in Nairobi. I had the pleasure of organizing and running a workshop on How to Lobby with Nicholas You both of us had been active at Habitat II..The Habitat III Conference is a critical one for all stakeholders interested in making the SDGs have impact. By focusing on a geographical area it will help to engage all stakeholders to help deliver the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda – which by the way should be built on the SDGs.

Local and Regional Governments, civil society and the private sector will play a critical role in facilitating the implementation of both and one of the key outcomes that we need out of Habitat III is a new partnership agenda worthy of the 21st century.