International Organizations and Environmental Policy

By Robert V. Bartlett; Priya A. Kurian et al. | Go to book overview

low politics issue areas with similar numbers of IEL, such as inland water management or culture.

This suggests that when there is an international agreement in high-politics areas, IOs are considered necessary. Another explanation, however, may be related to the nature of the specific IOs prescribed. In the area of nuclear energy, for instance, the primary role has been played by the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Atomic Energy Agency. In military activities it is the UN secretary-general who plays that role. The fact that all of these entities are tightly controlled by the major participants may explain the reason why they are used. Stated otherwise, the prescription of IOs may not be limited to low- politics areas. Under certain conditions--when appropriate IOs already exist and they are controlled by the dominant members--international environmental instruments in areas of high politics do prescribe a role for IOs.


FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

We close this chapter by recapitulating our findings, by pointing out some of the implications for international organizations and international environmental policy, and by suggesting some possible extensions of this research agenda.

What has been the diachronic relationship between IEL and the prescription of IOs? There is a clear and positive relationship between the growth of IEL and the prescription of IOs. Even though there has been a small decline in the rate of growth of newly used or newly formed IOs since the early 1970s, that decline is not matched by a decline in the frequency of 10 prescription. One reason for this pattern may be that, by the early 1970s, the range of IOs was adequate for the new IEL. A second explanation may be the resistance of some industrial countries to the formation of new IOs, thus leading to the use of existing ones.

Has the primary policy focus of the prescribed or formed organizations changed through time? The absolute number of primarily environmental IOs has grown, as has the frequency of their prescription. Although primarily nonenviromnental IOs continue to be extensively utilized, they are not as predominant as they used to be.

Are there any patterns with respect to organizational types? Generally speaking, organizations with a specific policy focus continue to be most prominent, whether these are regional or global. Regional, multipurpose organizations have also been prominent, particularly because of the environmental activism of the Council of Europe. Among global, specific focus organizations, the growing role of UNEP is worth noting.

Looking at the structure of the issue areas has also generated some intriguing

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