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


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.





March 2015

Lecturing at University of North Carolina in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium on the Sustainable Development Goals. 

If you want to follow the developments on the Sustainable Development Goals, the Financing for Development Conference or Habitat III then do read my blog. 



February 2015

While in Bonn at the preparatory meeting for Eye on Earth I took a moment out to meet my 'boss Jurgen Nimptch, Mayor of Bonn. I had the pleasure to work with him and his team when I was chair of the 2011 UN DPI NGO Conference  Sustainable Societies - Responsive Citizens. Last year he invited me to join the 'International Ambassadors' for the City of Bonn which I was very happy to accept.


I had been unable to go to the original ceremony so this gave me a chance also to pick up my special bottle of wine.


January 2015


Presenting a paper at the second workshop of the government Friends of Sustainable Development Governance organized by the governments of Korea, Mexico and Romania. 

A full room for the Friends of Sustainable Development Governance with over 90 attending. 

A Training session on How to Advocate for the new stakeholders attending the Stocktaking event on the SDGs in New York. Organized by the Tellus Institute, Civicus and Beyond 2015 with support from UNDSD


January saw the thirty year reunion of the National League of Young Liberals meeting in Leicester. I had the pleasure of chairing NLYL from 1985-87 and participating in what was know as the 'Green Guard'. Attending was also one of great Young Liberals,  Bernard Greaves, from the 'Red Guard' era (1965-1975) and co-author of the seminal work ' The Theory and Practice of Community Politics'.

The Green Guard were famous for bringing green politics to the then Liberal Party and in facilitating  the defeat of the Liberal leader David Steel over Defence - in particular over the issue of the UK having an independent Nuclear deterrent which it had historically opposed

The Red Guard are known for being at the forefront of the anti apartheid movement, civil liberties, anti war and of course developing the ideas behind community politics.  A day of politics and remembering those YLs no longer with us was had. An article will be developed in the coming months around the theme of  a hung parliament and the opportunities for a rainbow coalition across party boundaries.


December 2014

Speaking at the Expert Group Meeting 2015-2016 EcoSoc Cycles with Aleesha Taylor (Deputy Director, Education Support Program, Open Society Foundation), Thomas Gass (chair and ASG UN DESA), Prof Steven Bertstein (Associate Chair and Graduate Director Department of Political Science, University of Toronto and  Marion Barthelemy (Chief. Intergovernmental Support and Interagency Branch,UN Division on Sustainable Development)


Enjoying Romanian Day at the United Nations


October 2014



Speaking at the Carolina Meadows Conference on Access to Energy. October also saw me on a panel at the Communities Foundation 100th conference speaking on Building Sustainable Cities: Role of Community Foundations in a  Global Context on behalf of the Communitas Coalition and the Ford Foundation.

Preparation for the Nexus Conference 2015 (energy, Food, Water and Climate) continues a pace. Still time to get your abstract in (10th of November). Abstract themes are:

  • Sustainable and Resilient Development at a Local Level
  • Transboundary, National and Local Nexus Governance
  • Corporate Stewardship of the Nexus
  • Financing in a Nexus World
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Water Stress, Vulnerability, and Health
  • Managing Resources: Optimizing Co-Demands

September 2014

So at least the home of United Nations Lobbying is back in action. The Vienna Cafe is famous for those side conversations that often break deadlocks or interest governments in a position. The United nations has been refurbished over 4-5 years and this was one of the last parts to be finished. It sits in the UN between the largest conference room 4 and the other three conference rooms. In negotiations after the initial plenary they tend to have two working groups one in room 4 and one in 1,2 or 3. To get from 4 to 1,2,3 you have to walk past the Vienna Cafe s it is ideal for catching government officials. Here you see Tomas Gonzalez with me on the first day it  opened.



August 2014

Chairing the Nexus Panel in the Trusteeship Council at the UN DPI NGO Conference. UN video of the panel available here.

Running a How to Lobby Workshop at the Ford Foundation for the UN DPI NGO Conference. You can buy the book How to Lobby at Intergovernmental Meetings here. 

Panelist at the Youth Advocacy Conference at the UN DPI NGO Conference 

New book out - The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda

On Monday 28th of July 2014, Felix Dodds[1] Jorge Laguna-Celis[2] and Liz Thompson’s [3]  book “From Rio+20 to a New Development Agenda” will have a much-awaited companion “The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda”  released in E-book form; thus constituting the definitive and most authoritative appraisal of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, otherwise known as Rio+20. Since before the Rio+20 conference, through Rio+20, and continuing today, many organizations have dedicated their input, thoughts, and work to improving the world we live in today.
This book is designed to help people from all backgrounds understand what was agreed at Rio+20 and the relevant UN Commissions, Conferences and Summit that laid the foundation for Rio+20 and the new sustainable development goals which are expected to be agreed upon in September 2015. 

The book itself is divided into three core parts:
Part one entitled “A Resource Guide to the Future We Want,” is broken into twenty-one sections focused on the key elements of the Rio+20 document’s section 5 which deals with the thematic areas and cross sectorial issues.
Every section includes the context for which the issue was identified, a conversation about how these issues have been approached in the past, and biographies to organizations that are focused on the individual issue, as well as infographics that take a look at the statistics, targets that have been set in the past, indicators, and partnership examples.

 Part two examines the hundreds of non-globally-negotiated  commitments to action made at Rio+20 by governments at all levels, corporations, and civil society.  It explores the role such commitments have played since the first Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and provides some thoughts for the future. This section was written by Jacob Scherr, Chelsea Phipps, and Brendan Guy [4]of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Part three makes some recommendations for implementing Rio+20 and the new development agenda it makes ten solid recommendations which the authors hope governments will consider. 
The goal of this book is to allow policy makers, government officials, think-tanks, and anyone else who wishes to learn and understand the issues we face in a quick and easy manner.
The book has already gained positive reviews from many, including the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ibrahim Thiaw, who was inspired in his forward to say:
“This very timely and practical publication will help to empower all stakeholders to take an active role in what must be a global partnership to implement the next, universal and transformative agenda to accelerate our transition to inclusive and sustainable societies.”
The book is built on two previous editions one by Chip Lindner of the Center for Our Common Future (1993) and by Rosalie Callway, Janet R. Strachan and Georgina Ayre for Stakeholder Forum and the Commonwealth.
This book is brought to you by the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina, Stakeholder Forum and New World Frontiers publishing.
The book will be released on and linked through our website:
The book is a companion book to: From Rio+20 to the New Development Agenda by Felix Dodds, Jorge Laguna Celis and Liz Thompson publisher Routledge (2014)
"I often say that sustainability is about effective management at the intersection of financial, natural, social and human systems.  It is so difficult because we don’t understand very well how these systems intersect, the context keeps changing, there is a confusion of ends and means, and the future is random and chaotic.  After reading The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda, however, I can no longer say that the attributes of Agenda 21 and the evolution of policy guidance from within the UN system are too complex to grasp.  This book is a great service to those within the systems and anyone that is adjacent to but not within the system itself.  It is clear, concise and a great service to historians of sustainability and those who must operationalize an agenda to optimize conditions for human development through time."
Gary Lawrence Chief Sustainability Officer AECOM
"The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda is a reader-friendly gateway to Rio +20 resources and outcomes that can equally guide the 'new comer' while also serving as a memo to the already engaged"
Maruxa Cardama Executive Project Coordinator, Communitas Coalition
"Unfortunately, our global aspirations remain limited by a few remarkably change-resistant barriers: insufficient funding of international institutions, mendacity on the part of national leaders and too-many military flash points. 
 Fortunately, in the face of such intransigence, we have the latest book from Felix Dodds, Jorge Laguna- Celis and Liz Thompson.  Of all his publications, The Plain Language Guide is Felix's most accessible and encouraging. Dodds continues to work with other sustainable development advocates from the UN, governments and stakeholders to produce the indispensable resources for the serious global actor. I cannot imagine where we'd be across the world without him.“
Don Edwards, Chief Executive Officer, Justice and Sustainability Associates
This is the first book for New World Frontiers.

[1] Felix Dodds was Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum for Rio+20
[2] Jorge Laguna-Celis was a Mexican Government negotiator for Rio+20
[3] Liz Thompson was one of the two executive coordinators for Rio+20 and an Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations
[4] Jacob Scherr, Chelsea Phipps and Brendan Guy are with the Natural Resource Defence Council 

July 2014

National Public Radio interviewed me on climate change and the sustainable development goals broadcast on the 19th of Jully which you can listen to my section online here and the whole programme here it is part of a programme called Eco-optimism.

Politico's Mark Allen asked for some questions to ask the Cheney's and he used mine on climate change. Liz Chenney answered the question you can read the story GRIST did on her answer here.

On the 2nd of July I was  appointed an international ambassador for the German capital city Bonn.


I was recognized as having  been instrumental in developing new modes of stakeholder engagement with the United Nations, particularly within the field of sustainable development. I was nominated by the Mayor of Bonn to promote the city.

Felix said: “I am honored to be invited to be one of the great City of Bonn’s International Ambassadors. It is a major UN city and I have attended many UNFCCC meetings there supporting the idea of water being part of the climate negotiations. I look forward to promoting the City and its excellent international work."

It was nice for my university (Surrey) to do a story about it