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Reforming international environmental governance : an institutionalist critique of the proposal for a World Environment Organisation

[journal article]

Gehring, Thomas; Oberthür, Sebastian

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-130712

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Abstract "This article argues that a World Environment Organisation (WEO) does not promise to enhance international environmental governance. First, we claim that the establishment of an international organisation alone in a policy field currently populated by regimes cannot be expected to significantly improve environmental governance because there is no qualitative difference between these two forms of governance institutions. Second, we submit that significant improvement of international environmental governance through institutional rearrangement must rely on a modification of decision-making procedures and/or a change of institutional boundaries. Third, we develop three principal models of a possible WEO. A WEO formally providing an umbrella for existing regimes without modifying issue-areas and decisionmaking procedures would be largely irrelevant. A WEO integrating decision-making processes of existing regimes so as to form comprehensive ‘world environment rounds’ of intergovernmental bargaining would be largely dysfunctional and prone to a host of negative side-effects. A ‘supranational’ WEO including large-scale use of majority decision-making and far-reaching enforcement mechanisms across a range of environmental issues might considerably enhance international environmental governance, but it appears to be grossly utopian. In conclusion, a WEO cannot be at the same time realistic, significant and beneficial for international environmental governance. Available political resources should be invested in advancing existing and emerging sectoral environmental regimes rather than in establishing a WEO." [author's abstract]
Keywords global governance; governance; environment; environmental protection; institution; cooperation; international cooperation; multilateralism; global governance
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy; Special areas of Departmental Policy; Ecology, Environment
Method documentation
Free Keywords co-operation theory; international environmental governance; international institutions; multilateral environmental agreements; regime theory; World Environment Organisation
Document language English
Publication Year 2004
Page/Pages p. 359-381
Journal International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 4 (2004) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10784-004-3095-6
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne