Are international environmental agreements enforceable? implications for institutional design
Author: Matisoff, Daniel
Source: International Environmental Agreements, Volume 10, Number 3, September 2010 , pp. 165-186(22)
Abstract:Over the past several decades, European international environmental institutions have evolved, heeding institutionalist calls for stronger institutions backed by sanctioning and dispute settlement mechanisms. This apparent increase in institutional strength has led to a corresponding increase of the behavioral effectiveness, or active compliance management of institutions as observed in the incidence of arbitral tribunal decisions. However, upon closer examination, it is apparent that this behavioral effectiveness has not been exclusively due to provisions for arbitral tribunal decisions within international environmental agreements. Rather, the incidence and enforcement of these arbitral tribunal decisions is linked to the institutional design of the enforcement mechanisms. Most international environmental agreements rely on parties to raise disputes and enforce commitments, causing individual countries to bear the cost of enforcement. In addition, bringing a dispute to an arbitral tribunal requires the accordance of the parties to the dispute. In contrast, the European Court of Justice allows for enforcement to originate from a strong central authority and for the cases of arbitration to be filed unilaterally. International environmental agreements that have been joined by the European Community and have a provision for an arbitral tribunal have stronger enforcement mechanisms, are more likely to result in enforcement action, and are more effective in generating behavioral change.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2010-09-01