Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage 

Available Now.


May 2016

One of my favorite groups is the Monkees and  I had the chance to go to the 50th anniversary tour event in Charlotte  days before their new album ‘Good Times’ was released..


or a band that was put together for a TV series in 1966 who would have imagined that 50 years ago some of their great songs would still be part of the music landscape. But they are classics songs like 

, but originally by the Monkees. A song written by the great Neil Diamond one of the reasons for the success of the Monkees was who was writing their songs in addition to Neil people like Harry Nilsson, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, John Stewart, as well as Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

In preparation for the new album there was a call out to indie rock song writers for input. Just like the 1960s the new album is a hit list of todays great song writers Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard and XTC's Andy Partridge, Rory Gallagher and Paul Weller.

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April 2016

Out now my latest book 'The Water, Food, Energy and Climate Nexus: Challenges and an Agenda for Action' edited by Felix Dodds and Jamie Bartram, 

With a foreword by HRH the Prince of Wales

If you wish to get a discount the code is DC361 from  here

This book is one of the first to provide a broad overview of both the science behind the nexus and the implications for policies and sustainable development.

It brings together contributions by leading intergovernmental and governmental officials, industry, scientists and other stakeholder thinkers who are working to develop the approaches to the Nexus of water-food-energy and climate.

It represents a major synthesis and state-of-the-art assessment of the Nexus by major players, in light of the adoption by the United Nations of the new Sustainable Development Goals and Targets in 2015."

Forewords by:

HRH the Prince of Wales

Albert Butare former Minister of State for Infrastructure in the Republic of Rwanda

Paula Caballero Gomez mother of the SDGs

Authors Introduction: Felix Dodds and Jamie Bartram


Part 1: Learning from the Past, Building a New Future: Nexus Scientific Research

1. History of the Nexus at the Intergovernmental Level: Felix Dodds and Jamie Bartram

2. Sustainable Development Goals and Policy Integration in the Nexus: David Leblanc

3. Nexus Scientific Research: Theory and Approach Serving Sustainable Development: Joachim von Braun and Alisher Mirzabaev

4. Global Risks and Opportunities in Food, Energy, Environment and Water to 2050: R. Quentin Grafton

5. Stewardship of Ecosystems: Tony Allan and Nathanial Matthews

Part 2: Urban Challenges of the Nexus: Local and Global Perspectives

6. The Contribution of Innovation in Urban Resilience and Sustainability to Realising the Urban Nexus: Nicholas You

7. Operationalizing the Urban NEXUS: Increasing the Productivity of Cities and Urbanized Nations: Kathrine Brekke and Jeb Brugmann

8. The Confederacy of Experts: The Crushing Nexus of Silos, Systems, Arrogance and Irrational Certainty: Gary Lawrence

Part 3: Natural Resource Security for People: Water, Food and Energy

9. Water-Food-Energy-Climate: Strengthening the Weak Links in the Nexus: Ania Grobicki

10. Natural Resource Security in an Uncertain World: Sylvia Lee

Part 4: Nexus Perspectives: Energy: Water and Climate

11. The Nexus in Small Island Developing States: Liz Thompson

12. Renewable Energy: Nexus-friendly Pathways for Growth: Frank Wouters and Divyam Nagpal

13. The Challenge of Climate Change in the Energy-Water Nexus: Diego Rodriguez, Anna Delgado Martin and Antonia Sohns

Part 5: Nexus Perspectives: Food, Water, and Climate

14. Smallholder Farmers are at the Nexus of Post-2015 Development Issues: Iain MacGillivray

15. Green Opportunities for Urban Sanitation Challenges through Energy, Water and Nutrient Recovery: Pay Drechsel and Munir A. Hanjra

Part 6: Nexus Corporate Stewardship: How Business is Improving Resource Use

16. Building Partnerships for Resilience: David Norman and Stuart Orr

17. Capital Markets at the Nexus of Sustainable Development: Steve Waygood

18. Principles for the Integration of the Nexus within Business: Felix Dodds and Cole Simons

"The Water-Food-Energy nexus has emerged as one of the most important management challenges facing the sustainability agenda. Water, food and energy are all basic resources underpinning development, not just in terms of poverty alleviation but also more sustained economic growth and social development. They are Sustainable Development Goals in their own right, but also associated with the realization of all 17 SDGs. While there are many trade-offs related to water us in terms of agriculture and energy, the nexus perspective is primarily about seeking opportunities and achieving multiple benefits through better and more efficient management of resources. This demands new approaches that takes us beyond the predominant, traditional silo (or sector) thinking and management approaches. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the water-food-energy nexus, and the many dimensions associated with this nexus. It offers not just a problem description but also innovative approaches to management of these key resources from a wider systems perspective. It can be read by anyone looking for an introduction to the challenges and opportunities related to the Nexus, as well as anyone interested in practical approaches and solutions." 

Johan Kuylenstierna, Executive Director, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden.

"Water, food and energy – we have seen these three areas as separate sectors with seperate problems for way too long. The truth is that they are deeply interlinked and must be seen as such if we are to overcome the impacts climate change and growing populations will have on them. That is why the water, food, energy nexus is so important to investigate. This book is an important contribution by major thinkers on what those challenges will be and how to start addressing them in an interlinked manner." 

Ida Auken, former Environment Minister of Denmark.

"Never before has the world needed an integrated approach to sustainable development more. The principles and strategies explored in this book provide a roadmap for just that." 

Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General, CIVICUS.

"The fact that, in 2015, the world is still struggling with hunger, poverty, and exclusion, almost half a century after mankind managed to set foot on the moon, says a lot about the complexity tackling development challenges. In order to succeed, sustainable development must look at all underlying causes, and embrace their dynamic inter-relations. Hunger will not be solved without looking at factors behind poverty, equal access for men and women and sustainable use of limited natural resources, including water and energy, or the impacts of climate change; and this requires the participation of all stakeholders! Felix Dodds and Jamie Bartram's Nexus book illustrates well the need for an integrated approach to the Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030. Only by breaking down silos, will we achieve sustainable development, in all three of its dimensions, in our generation’s lifetime!" 

Gerda Verburg, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations Food organisations in Rome, Chair of the World Economic Forum Council on Food and Nutrition Security, Former Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (UN CFS) (2013-2015), Chair of the seventeenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17).

"The Nexus book demonstrates the urgency required for integrated approaches to development in order to address poverty and achieve sustainable development. It provides valuable historical examples that demonstrate why development planning and practice need to be done differently, and with more urgency. It is a 'must-read' for development planners and practitioners globally who have a conscience for really improving the lives of the poor and bettering the world. It is a timely publication that will go a long way in contributing towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development” 


Hesphina Rukato, Executive Director, Centre for African Development Solutions.


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March 2016

 Speaking at the United Church in Chapel Hill on the issue of Global Citizenship. If you are interested do watch the video here.

 I also participated in a webinar on partnerships organized by the NGO Major Group and UNDESA looking at the outcome from the government retreat on SDG Partnerships and to help preparation for the upcoming ECOSOC Partnership Forum on the 31st of March.

UNDESA with help from the Universality of North Carolina had put together the government workshop on the 5th and 6th of February. 

The output from that workshop can be found here.

The input paper well worth a read can be found here. 

Although multi-stakeholder partnerships will not be the major implementation agent for the SDGs they will play a role and the how they are managed will be critical. The new rules which will be developed will be retrospectively applied to the UNDESA database.

One of the critical issues is that the database hosts a mixture of things and the suggestion is to take out:

  1. Voluntary initiates by individual organizations
  2. PPPs which are a contractual relationship between a form of governments and the private sector

The remaining would be sub divided into three categories

  1. UN initiated partnerships
  2. Partnerships involving the UN
  3. Partnerships that do not involve the UN

The modalities and reporting would be different for the different types of partnerships.

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February 2016

On the 23rd of February I gave a speech at the East Midlands Liberal Democrat Assembly on the SDGs and the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the implications for the UK.

It can be found here.

On the 5th and 6th of February UNDESA with the Global Research Institute of the University of North Carolina held a retreat on Multi-stakeholder partnerships on implementing the 2030 Agenda: Improving accountability and transparency. 

 A copy of the outcome can be found here under DESA Expert Group Meeting Summary




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January 2016

On the 27th of January friends of Maurice Strong met in Ottawa to celebrate his life. Opening  the event Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose late father picked Strong to set up the Canadian International Development Agency in 1968, called him "a truly great citizen of Canada and citizen of the world" who has left behind an incredible legacy as "a brilliant businessman, devoted environmentalist, an inspirational philanthropist." 

"This is not just a technical issue. Everybody's actions are motivated by their inner life, their moral, spiritual and ethical values. Global agreements will be effective when they are rooted in the individual commitment of people, which arises from their own inner life." Maurice Strong

Also speaking were former World Bank president James Wolfensohn, former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and her husband, author John Ralston Saul, and Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director. 

A messages from former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, who called Strong the "father of the world environmental movement."

Maurice like will probably not be seen again he headed the first UN conference on the environment in Stockholm in 1972, set up the UN's environment program, and led the Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. But so much more helping address the famine in Africa, the problems in North Korea, reorganizing the UN. 

From Maurice's closing statement in 1972 at the Stockholm Conference:

"So there is reason to hope in the work it has done -- in the programmes it has adopted -- in the awareness it has expressed of our global unity -- in the affirmation that the problems of the human environment can only be resolved if we place man at the center of our concerns -- and in the conviction that we must liberate ourselves from the outdated and outworn habit of the past.

Mr. President, I believe that, as we leave now, we must do so with determination to build on the foundations we have laid here in Stockholm. If we do not, then this Conference will have been a brief flash, a meteor burning its way through the blackness of space.

And I believe that we will build together -- that we will continue together to work for the achievement of the larger, richer future which the collective will and energies of mankind can shape -- that we will together continue our long journey towards a creative and dynamic harmony for all life on this Planet.

I believe we will because this Conference has demonstrated that the United Nations is at the heart of our turbulent and troubled world. It has demonstrated that, if Governments given it their support and co-operation, it can and will play a vital role in bringing harmony between man and the natural systems, which support this life. 

And if it does, perhaps then it is not too much to hope that it can and will fulfill the hope of the Charter and inspire a peaceful and just world community in which diverse states and people co-operate for the common good of all mankind."

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December 2015

Santa Claus Takes on Climate Change will you join  him?

Just as the Paris Climate Conference was about to start there is an Indiegago campaign on Santa Claus take on Climate Change.

The objective is to help the next generation understand climate change. We will create a free downloable comic as part of the Comics Uniting Nations initiative

Comics Uniting Nations is a monumental partnership between a group of innovative nonprofits, 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 (SDGs) accessible to the citizens of the world through comics. One of the SDGs is on climate change.

This Indiegogo project is supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in particular this comic is focused on Santa Claus taking on Climate Change. It is based on a story that was written for the BBC in 2009.  You can support the comic here 

Deutsche Weller radio picked up the story of Santa Claus Takes on Climate Change and interviewed me on  their Living Planet broadcast on the 18th of December.The podcast can be heard here.  

I have two books which will be published in 2016.

The Water, Food, Energy and Climate Nexus: Challenges and an agenda for action -  (May 2016) Edited by Felx Dodds and Jamie Bartram with Foreword from Prince Charles, Routledge

Negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals: A transformational agenda for an insecure world  (September 2016)  by  Felix Dodds and Jimena Leiva Roesch , Routledge 

I also have an UNEP Perspective on Major Groups and Stakeholders with UNEP (March 2016) by Felix Dodds and Mark Halle 

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November 2015

On the 26th of November one of the great advocates for sustainable development Maurice Strong died. I had had the pleasure of working with him on what turned out to be his last book Only One Earth: The Long Road via Rio for Sustainable Development. The book looked at the development of sustainable development over the last 40 years its highs and its lows. A recommended reading for anyone who is interested in engaging in sustainable development.


"Maurice Strong – former entrepreneur, energy company CEO, NGO, Head of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA),the first Executive Director of UNEP, Secretary-General of the UN conferences at Stockholm (1972) and at Rio (1992), author, president of the council of the UN University for Peace, and professor at Peking University – who in some ways can be said to have single handedly invented the intergovernmental environmental and sustainable development governance process. This continues in my blog here."

I also wrote an obituary for Maurice with my other co-author of Only One earth Michael Strauss in the Guardian which can be read here. 

 Santa Claus Takes on Climate Change will you join  him?

Just as the Paris Climate Conference is about to start we are launching an Indiegago campaign.(click here)
The objective is to help the next generation understand climate change. We will create a free downloable comic as part of the Comics Uniting Nations initiative
Comics Uniting Nations is a monumental partnership between a group of innovative nonprofits, 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 (SDGs) accessible to the citizens of the world through comics. One of the SDGs is on climate change.
This Indiegogo project is supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in particular this comic is focused on Santa Claus taking on Climate Change. It is based on a story that was written for the BBC in 2009 

The first New World Frontiers paper 'Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' is now available here. It focuses on how the Sustainable Development Goals became part of a transformation agenda and the problems that will continue to have an impact as we move towards implementation. It ends looking at the challenges for stakeholders themselves.


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