STV4214B - International Environmental Governance

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Since the industrial revolution, human use of natural resources has increased substantially. So has the imprint of human activities on many ecological systems. These developments generate new challenges for environmental governance. The fact that the boundaries of states rarely coincide with those of ecosystems or systems of human activity implies that effective governance of the use of natural resources and environmental services often requires international cooperation.

Over the past four to five decades we have seen a rapid growth in the number of international regimes and organizations established to cope with this challenge. However, the effectiveness of these institutions varies significantly, and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that the overall growth in capacity for governance has not kept pace with the growth in human ‘footprints’ on the Earth System. This course reviews critical factors behind this discrepancy and explores how international regimes and organizations can narrow the gap.

Learning outcome


Students will

  • Further develop their understanding of environmental change as a challenge for international governance
  • Better understand conditions for ‘success’ and causes of ‘failure’ of international regimes and organizations
  • Learn how different regulatory tools and institutional designs ‘work’


Students will

  • Learn how to describe and diagnose instances of resource depletion or environmental change as problems of international environmental governance
  • Enhance their skills in detecting or designing solutions that – in addition to being environmentally sustainable – meet, to the extent possible, basic standards of economic efficiency and political feasibility
  • Learn how to assess and explain the performance of international institutions


Students will

  •  Improve their knowledge base for professional work that involves describing and ‘diagnosing’ challenges of international environmental governance and makes good use of these ‘diagnoses’ in identifying opportunities and designing solutions


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Apply for guest student status if you are admitted to another Master's programme.

For incoming students

All Master's courses in Political Science must be registered manually by the Department, they will not appear in Studentweb. Contact your international coordinator at UiO.




One written essay (3500-5000 words in length).

Three hour written exam.

The final exam counts 60 percent of the grade, and in order to pass the course, your essay and your written exam must be passed in the same semester as the course is taught.

You will receive one overall grade for the course.

Guidelines for home assignments - Technical standards, deadlines etc.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.



The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.

The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. The examiner decides whether the explanation is to be given in writing or verbally.

Ask for explanation of your grade in this course

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

If you wish to withdraw from the exam you must do so in Studentweb at least two weeks prior to the deadline. Failure to do so will be counted as one of the three opportunities to sit the exam.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






This course is not given on a regular basis


This course is not given on a regular basis

Teaching language