Farewell editorial

  • Courtney VegelinEmail author

After five years as Managing Editor of International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (INEA), I will be leaving this position at the end of 2019. I joined in late 2014, taking over from Agni Kalfagianni, of Utrecht University and a current editorial board member of INEA. It was an exciting opportunity for which I remain grateful. I have learned a great deal about more than only managing a journal, and I look forward to applying the experiences I have gained in the next phase of my career. I would also like to warmly welcome Dr. Nicky Pouw of the University of Amsterdam who will be replacing me as managing editor as of January 2020.

It is very satisfying to leave the journal after five years of steady growth, put in motion before I joined the INEA team. We have enjoyed an annual rise in the impact factor, with the 5 year average at 2.404 (2018). The output of the journal has also grown, as well as authorship from outside the Global North. In my first two years, we produced four issues a year with five articles, which evolved into six issues per year with eight issues per article, more than doubling the number of published articles per year. While these are exciting developments, indicating the growing reach and interest in the journal, they certainly brought (worthwhile) managerial challenges with it. However, many of those challenges could be dealt with because of our editorial board and loyal reviewers who have repeatedly donated their time and expertise to facilitating the growth of the journal, undoubtedly under conditions of heavy work pressure of their own. I would like to thank them for this. A special thank you also goes to our associate editors, Peter Sand, Oran Young and Richard Howarth, who have been crucial to maintaining stability and quality over the years. I am very grateful to you and your efforts.

A number of special issues were published in the last five years reflecting the emerging issues related to international environmental agreements, the priorities of the journal, as well as the added value of the journal’s multidisciplinary approach. The special issues we had the honour or publishing included: The Economics of a Paradigm Shift in the Climate Negotiations (2015); The Securitization of Water Discourse (2015); International Environmental Justice and the Quest for a Green Global Economy (2015); Making the SDGs Succeed (thematic issue, 2016); Managing fragmentation and complexity in the emerging system of international climate finance (2017); The International Governance of Energy Subsidies (2017); Achieving 1.5 °C and Climate Justice (2018); and Exploring Global and Transnational Governance of Climate Change Adaptation (2019). While each special issue has a disciplinary leaning, they are also characterized by multidisciplinarity. It is my own view that this multidisciplinarity is one of the greatest contributions of the journal to not only the academic world, but in collaboratively generating knowledge for the urgent analyses and solutions needed to address the growing spectrum and complexity of environmental threats to non-human and human survival. I expect that multidisciplinary contributions will only get stronger in the future of the journal.

The themes of politics, law and economics have also continued to grow and change in the last five years. The topics and frameworks remain as diverse as observed by my predecessor in her farewell editorial in this journal in March 2015. However, I will attempt at discerning something of a shared theme throughout a small majority of publications in the last five years as re-conceptualizations of threats. Nearly all publications are motivated by giving attention to some kind of environmental threats within planetary boundaries. However, those threats are conceptualized not only in relation to our livelihoods and our earth, but as threats to our governance systems and institutions in their capacity to transform and deal with them, threats to our frameworks of international law to the extent that they fall short in discovering and including all entities that need legal recognition, and threats to the sustainability of economic systems in the context of shifting national and global priorities, private sector interests and stranded assets. In all cases, business-as-usual is not an option and our authors are actively contributing to new ways of confronting the limitations of our knowledge on these matters.

Another observation made by my predecessor at the time of her departure was the emerging emphasis on justice in relation to international environmental conflicts and agreements. This theme has continued to grow in relevance for the journal, along with the related notion of equity. In a simple scan, it becomes evident that the number of articles with the words justice or equity in the title is the same since 2015, as in all the years of the journal prior to 2015. In other words, these themes have received the same attention in the last five years as in the previous fifteen years. What is also remarkable is that there is no disciplinary claim on these themes. They are explored in relation to politics, law and economics and represent cross-cutting interests and frameworks for analysis. I can foresee the journal playing a leading role in pushing further the much needed narrative of enhancing justice and achieving equity within the context of climate change in the coming years.

I will close with a few personal words, and start out by thanking the support staff at Springer, and the student assistants we have had over the years who have helped us keep up with the growing pressure. A very special thank you must go to Fritz Schmul, our publishing editor at Springer, who has been a wonderful support in many different ways. I value this support greatly. Finally, if I may indulge a bit, I would like to extend my boundless gratitude to our fearless and tireless editor-in-chief, Joyeeta Gupta. I have learned more than I would have imagined possible from one person, I am very grateful for the enduring friendship, and I look forward to working with you in different contexts in the future. I now look forward to joining the editorial board of INEA in 2020 and to being part of its 20-year anniversary next year!


Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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