Implementing Environmental Law
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Implementing Environmental Law

Edited by Paul Martin and Amanda Kennedy

At the Rio +20 conference attention was focused upon the variable effectiveness of a large range of international instruments. The IUCN too has recently began to focus upon the effectiveness of legal arrangements for environmental governance. Both of these developments are representative of an increasing awareness that legal environmental governance arrangements frequently fail to achieve the desired outcomes, or give rise to perverse and unexpected effects. The reasons why this may be so include issues such as the limited commitment of the responsible government or its agents, issues of corruption or incapacity, problems arising from the choice of the governance instrument, or the design of the law. This book tackles the challenges of implementation of environmental law, drawing upon the expertise of an international cast of contributors and investigations across a range of jurisdictions.
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Chapter 9: Marine protection treaties in Antarctic Waters: fragmentation or coordination in international treaty implementation

Gregory Rose


Awareness of the need for cross-sectoral coordination in marine management emerged in the middle of the last quarter of the twentieth century. Marine management fragmentation occurring at the national level is mirrored at the international level, where improved coordination in the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) is needed. This chapter considers international environmental coordination using a case study of Antarctic marine governance. The terminology used here reflects usage in the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP's) Guidelines on Compliance with and Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (UNEP Guidelines). A State is said to ‘implement’ an international norm at the domestic level when it adopts appropriate domestic measures to meet its obligations. Implementation measures might include legislation, policies or allocation of resources. Legal implementation occurs in three phases: adopting national legal measures; enforcing them; and reporting on the implementation measures. MEA ‘enforcement’ is the process of ensuring domestic conformity with national laws that implement MEAs. This typically involves coercive apparatus, such as inspectors, police, courts and tribunals. There is no MEA addressing international enforcement. International compliance mechanisms seek to ensure national implementation of MEAs. Part I of the UNEP Guidelines defines compliance as: the fulfilment by the contracting Parties of their obligations under a multilateral environmental agreement and any amendments to the multilateral environmental agreement. Reporting is often an obligation within an MEA’s compliance mechanism. It is helpful to report on obligations under particular treaty provisions, rather than for a treaty overall.

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