Prospects for Global Environmental Accountability Bodies: Assessing the Suitability of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies Model for International Environmental Treaty Governance
Ratcliff, Blake L.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract: With hundreds of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) currently in force, and countless others operating on a regional or bilateral basis, the decentralized system of international environmental governance is clogged with vague treaty provisions and ... read moreuncoordinated and overlapping subject matter treatment that reduce treaty effectiveness. The current tools to monitor and promote compliance with MEA obligations are uneven, mostly non-binding, and ineffective in their efforts to coordinate their treaties and maximize active implementation. This research paper explores whether the UN human rights treaty bodies model, a method that has been used successfully in international human rights law for decades to urge treaty implementation and advance norms, is a framework that can be adapted and effectively employed in the framework of international environmental governance to accomplish the same goals. The treaty bodies model encompasses a system of mandatory periodic state reporting that centers on a constructive dialogue with an independent expert committee, general comments, and the adjudication of individual complaints. By exploring the development of human rights and international environmental governance, and the links between the two disciplines, this paper argues that the creation of global environmental accountability bodies, committees modeled closely after the human rights treaty bodies but tailored for international environmental regimes, can bring about effective and active treaty implementation and increased levels of compliance if challenges to their creation can be overcome.read less