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Part IV Activities of Organizations, Ch.20 Environment

David A. Wirth

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations

Edited By: Jacob Katz Cogan, Ian Hurd, Ian Johnstone

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 09 August 2022

Climate change — Environmental disputes — Collective security

This chapter surveys settings under the auspices of international organizations (IOs) and institutions, and highlights a number of underappreciated structural attributes of international environmental governance. It shows that many IOs whose functional orientation is not primarily environmental, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), are very active on the environmental front. Only one international institution — the United Nations Environment Program, which is not even formally an international organization — is charged with environment as its primary mission. The treatment of environment is highly compartmentalized and fragmented, distributed among multiple multilateral institutions and international agreements. An identifiable model of an organic treaty establishing a comprehensive, self-contained regime has also emerged in recent years. The environmental-treaty-as-governance-structure is an alternative to, although in some ways the functional equivalent of, a formal international organization as an international institutional vehicle for addressing environmental issues.

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