Environmental Encounters or Foreign Policy?
Chapter 2: Environmental regimes and Russia’s approaches to environmental and foreign policy
International environmental problems have been on the political agenda for some four decades now. International agreements are the means through which lofty ambitions are intended to translate into practical measures and outcomes in specific areas. It is easy enough for governments to profess allegiance to forward-thinking policies at international conferences, because such statements are not binding. The traditional approach to dealing with that problem has been to establish multilateral environmental agreements. The number of international treaties in existence depends on how you count them, but they certainly number in the hundreds, and many of them have appeared in the course of the last 20 to 30 years. The great majority of treaties are bilateral. There is a sizeable number of regional treaties as well, but far fewer global ones – because environmental problems can usually be dealt with more effectively at lower levels. Nevertheless, it is the global treaties that generally attract most attention among policy-makers and the media. This is because they concern the environmental problems that are the most difficult to solve and that, as a result, lead to heated political and economic debates linked to responsibilities and equity between nations.
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