Equality among Unequals in International Environmental Law: Differential Treatment for Developing Countries

By Anita Margrethe Halvorssen | Go to book overview

6
International
Institutional Structures

To promote the participation of developing countries in international environmental agreements, international institutions are playing an ever- increasing role and new entities are being established. As mentioned in Chapter 4, they can function both as implementing agencies for treaties containing incentives for developing countries or alternately by promoting participation of developing countries in the treaties by working outside or independently of the treaties.

A need to revamp all international institutions dealing with issues relating to environment and development became apparent as the international community recognized that these two issues were interrelated. This reorganization is already underway in many of the international institutions, such as the World Bank and many other specialized agencies of the United Nations. In addition, new institutions have been established, such as the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

Before the Rio Conference, there was a series of suggestions as to what kind of institutional arrangements should be established in the context of sustainable development within the framework of the U.N. system. Some of them promoted an environmental "super-authority," 1 but most of them opted for strengthening the already existing structures. Then Agenda 21, adopted at Rio, addressed the issue in its chapter 38, "International Institutional Arrangements." 2 Here it describes the relevant entities within and outside the U.N. system-in addition to NGOs-and their functions in relation to implementing Agenda 21. However, in the five years since the blueprint for action was adopted, lack of funding has curtailed some of the developments that were supposed to have taken place, such as the up grading of, and provision of adequate financial resources for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The special session of the General Assembly that took place in June of 1997, reviewing the first five years of Agenda 21's implementation, also

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