The role of international institutions in environment and security issues in general and positive dispute prevention in particular is especially relevant in the field of environmental regulation and, development and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements. In this respect, monitoring compliance and the need for capacity building as a major part of a strategy to combat environmental threats to security are recognized as crucial issues.The article explores the role that the United Nations Environment Programme, historically as well as in the present, plays in the issue of positive dispute resolution. Firstly, the article clarifies the concept of environmental dispute, showing the complex dynamics around potential environmental disputes and conflicts. The concept strives to clarify the different types and levels of conflicts in various socioeconomic and political contexts. These “definitions” then also serve as matrix to identify a few real-world examples and lead to the clarification of the role, the United Nations Environment Programme can play.Particular examples of UNEP’s involvement in finding solutions to otherwise competing or confrontational situations, related to environment that are discussed in the Article include the development of the Mediterranean Action Plan and the Zambezi River System Action Plan. In addition, UNEP’s role in the following areas is explained and assessed: negotiation and adoption of international environmental instruments;work in the field of implementation of and compliance with international environmental agreements;work in the area of environmental assessment, information and early warning, and;work related to water issues;involvement in environmental diplomacy;co-ordination of work on environmental matters.The article ends with outlining the borders of UNEP’s mandate for action, stressing that international organizations such as UNEP can best contribute to the prevention of environmental disputes instead of taking an active role in solving existing disputes. A pragmatic way forward is suggested on how international institutions can best focus their efforts in this process. The areas of monitoring, assessing, reporting, developing action plans, initiating new legal instruments and providing assistance to build environmental capacity in developing countries are listed as priorities.
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- Achievements and Limitations of International Environmental Regimes and Institutions in Positive Dispute Prevention: UNEP’s Role
Sabine J. H. Hoefnagel
Aiko U.D. Bode
- Springer Netherlands
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