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Enforcement Mechanisms In International Law And International Environmental Law

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Chapter Summary

Multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) illustrate the maturation and sophistication of international environmental law. If anything, the diversity and flexibility of compliance approaches under MEAs highlight the limited purchase of simple dichotomies such as "binding vs. non-binding" or "enforcement vs. ineffectiveness". This chapter begins by exploring the concept of "enforcement" in international law in general. It suggests that a concept of enforcement as imposition of legal sanctions, or penalties, is unduly narrow. The chapter then canvasses some of the main theoretical assumptions about international law and compliance. An exploration of this theoretical context illuminates the reasons underlying common misconceptions about international law and its enforcement, and helps put in perspective the evolution of approaches to compliance in international environmental law. Finally, against the backdrop of these general considerations, the chapter examines key features of the approaches to compliance and enforcement in international environmental law and MEAs.

Keywords: enforcement; international environmental law; international law; multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); treaty compliance



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