Institutionalized review processes of the adequacy of commitments in international environmental agreements
The central objective of the study is to assess whether the various review mechanisms of the adequacy of commitments contained in international environmental agreements have facilitated diplomatic processes towards more effective solutions to environment problems, and if so, how and under what conditions. The effectiveness of an environmental treaty is considered to be whether it contributes to solving the environmental problem which prompted the Parties to negotiate it. The components of effectiveness can be broadly divided into issues of implementation (sue the Parties doing what they have agreed to do?) and adequacy (are the commitments that the Parties have agreed to capable of solving the problem?). This study examines review mechanisms to address this second aspect of effectiveness which serve to address scientific uncertainty in environmental negotiations.
Presently, there are six environmental treaties which contain such review mechanisms. They are: 1987 Montreal Protocol, the 1988 Nitrogen Oxides Protocol, the 1989 Basel Convention, the 1991 Volatile Organic Compounds Protocol, the 1992 Climate Change Convention, and the 1994 Sulphur Protocol. Each of these treaties is examined to describe the history of each treaty and the institutional and legal elements supporting the review processes, to explain how the review processes have functioned and what their results have been, and to assess the extent to which each of the review processes has helped to revise the commitments in their respective treaties to make them more effective.
The effectiveness of these review mechanisms has varied from case to case. To explain why, this study compares the political for a, environmental objectives, scientific assessment processes, review mandates, and decision-making and revision procedures. It then suggests an ideal set of legal and institutional provisions to ensure the efficacy of review processes of the adequacy of commitments and identifies several environmental treaty negotiations where these lessons can be applied. Finally, it reflects on the incremental development of international environmental law and the contribution of review processes of the adequacy of commitments to the effectiveness of international environmental agreements.
0616: International relations
0768: Environmental science