GLOBE International was originally founded in 1989 by legislators from the US Congress, European Parliament, Japanese Diet and the Russian State Duma with the mission to respond to urgent environmental challenges through the development and advancement of legislation.
As early as 1992 GLOBE urged industrialised countries to take the lead in reducing CO2 emissions through the introduction of fiscal instruments for the encouragement of energy efficiency. GLOBE National Chapters grew in a number of countries and across the European Region. National Groups were instrumental in the advance of legislation on pollution, water, clean energy and oceans.
In 2005, GLOBE was invited to be the only non-governmental body to participate in the G20 Ministerial Gleneagles Dialogue. Following the request of the then UK Prime Minister and President of the G8, Tony Blair, GLOBE was asked to bring together legislators from all major political parties within the parliaments of the G8, European Parliament, Brazil, China, India, Mexico & South Africa.
This began a new phase of GLOBE's development and expansion. GLOBE Legislators Forums were created to bring together groups of 100 bi-partisan legislators twice a year from the G8+5 group of countries. A resulting series of policy dialogues were held in the US Senate, the UK House of Commons, the Brazilian Senate, the German Bundestag, the Japanese Diet, the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Senate and the Danish Parliament, the Folketing.
The dialogues included participation by then President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, then Prime Minister Tony Blair of the UK, then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Shinzo Abe of Japan and then Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
This second phase of GLOBE’s development culminated in the G8+5 legislators dialogue on climate change in Tokyo in June 2008 with a consensus agreement between one hundred senior legislators on Lord Michael Jay’s Post-2012 framework paper. The Forum also initiated the second phase of the GLOBE’s development. The strategy approved in the Tokyo summit expanded GLOBE's activities to the G20 group of countries as well increasing the range of policy areas to be covered. For the first time GLOBE formed International Policy Commissions – The International Commissions on Climate & Energy Security chaired by US Congressman Ed Markey, and on Land Use Change & Ecosystems chaired by Barry Gardiner MP of the UK and Senator Renato Casagrande of Brazil.
The Land Use Change and Ecosystems Commission, supported by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Environment Programme developed a set of forestry and terrestrial carbon position papers that were adopted at the GLOBE Copenhagen Legislators Forum held in November 2009. These served to support development of specific legislative proposals on forestry and payments for ecosystem services.
The Climate Change Commission produced a set of principles to guide national legislation that were formally presented to the GLOBE Copenhagen Legislators Forum by Congressman Markey and Congressman Wang. The Forum adopted the principles and the participating legislators and national GLOBE Chapters agreed to advance them through legislation within their respective national parliaments. The third phase of GLOBE's development began following the Copenhagen Legislators Forum with direct support to GLOBE National Chapters to advance national legislation. Legislators decided to take part in international summits to share best practice and present national case studies. Legislators also tasked the Secretariat to produce annual legislation studies to monitor progress under each policy programme. The first and main publication is the GLOBE Climate Legislation Study (now in it's fifth edition). The Study is produced in partnership with the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics and serves to baseline existing climate laws and regulation. The Study has been widely recognised for highlighting the growing trend of national climate change legislation.
GLOBE national chapters have been hosting annual Climate Summits coinciding with the UNFCCC COPs for several years. The last one was hosted by the Peruvian Congress in Lima in December 2014. The GLOBE Climate Legislation Initiative was formally launched in January 2013 at a summit held at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. A strand on Adaptation was launched in July 2013 at the 1st International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation hosted by the Chinese National Development & Reform Commission in Beijing from in July 2013.
A policy programme focusing on the advancement of environmental economic accounting as a tool for decision-making and, where appropriate, the incorporation of the valuation of natural capital into national accounts was launched in a summit held in the German Bundestag in June 2013.
GLOBE's work on forestry has developed into a specific Programme focused on advancing legislation in preparation for REDD+. The initiative is currently working in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mexico, Nigeria and Peru.
In 2012, GLOBE organised the first World Summit of Legislators brought together 300 legislators from over 86 countries. The World Summit established a dedicated international process for legislators that reconvenes on a regular basis. The second World Summit of Legislators took place in the Mexican Congress in Mexico City on 6-8 June 2014.