Most of what is known today as ‘international environmental policy’ does not date back much further than the late 1960s and early 1970s. Therefore, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held at Stockholm in June 1972 may serve as a good starting point for discussing the relationship between intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and international environmental regimes. The Stockholm Conference was probably the major event for raising the environmental consciousness of international decision makers, and in the Declaration resulting from this conference the delegates of 113 states agreed that
States shall ensure that international organizations play a co-ordinated, efficient and dynamic role for the protection and improvement of the environment. (Principle 25)
This was preceded by an emphasis on “co-operation through multilateral or bilateral arrangements or other appropriate means” which were regarded as “essential to effectively control, prevent, reduce and eliminate adverse environmental effects” (ibid., Principle 24).
In this chapter we shall elaborate what role IGOs may play and have played in the formation and the further development of normative frameworks of international cooperation, or, as they have come to be called, of international regimes.