Governing International Rivers
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Governing International Rivers

Polycentric Politics in the Mekong and the Rhine

Tun Myint

This important book employs the theory of polycentricity, a system with several centers as an analytical concept to explain the multilayered international environmental governance of river basins. It introduces a new methodological framework to deconstruct and investigate the dynamics of citizens, states and non-state actors in world politics via the context of river basin governance.
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Chapter 4: Multilayer Environmental Governance in the Rhine

Tun Myint


With the five member countries plus the EU, ICPR has transformed from an international law treaty-type regime to a soft-law action-oriented regime. There were three major formal mechanisms of the ICPR environmental governance during the 50 years of its existence, from 1950 to 2000. The first two are legally binding treaties: the Chemical Convention and the Chloride Convention. The third and the most well known among practitioners and observers of river basin governance was RAP, a non-binding actionoriented program inaugurated in 1987 and ended in 2000. Two legal regimes designed for ICPR environmental governance are the central focus analysis in this chapter using the IAN framework that I developed in Chapter 1. In this chapter, I first discuss the evolution of the issue of Rhine water pollution to explain how the issues of water pollution became environmental governance issues in national and transnational layers.1 Second, I analyze the interplay of issues, interests and actors in the governance processes of the Chemical Convention and the Chloride Convention. The analyses of these two conventions are aimed to shed light on how a statecentric international regime operated and to explain how it failed to produce the objectives and goals agreed upon in these legally binding conventions. By so doing, this chapter provides an analytical landscape for Chapter 5, in which I analyze the cases of RAP and IWT. EVOLUTION OF THE RHINE WATER POLLUTION ISSUE The evolution of governance issues to become policy agenda for river basin development planning has been closely associated...

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