International Environmental Financial Mechanisms

The final element of the international governance system is the financial mechanisms that have developed to support the work of international environment agencies and to assist in the achievement of international environmental objectives. These range from the general (e.g., the financial arrangements governing the World Bank and United Nation) through to the more specific, which concentrate solely on environment issues. The Global Environment Fund (GEF), established by the OECD in the early 1990s, is one example. Consistent with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, many MEAs now include provisions requiring developed countries to transfer technology and financial resources to developing countries to assist them to meet their environmental obligations. One of the earliest examples was the Multilateral Fund established under the Montreal Protocol to assist developing countries phase out the use of ozone-depleting substances. In some cases, including under the Montreal Protocol, the obligation of developing countries to comply with the terms of the agreement has been made contingent on the extent to which developed countries provide the specified financial and technical assistance. For example, Article 4(7) of the UNFCCC states that

The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively implement their commitments under the Convention will depend on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources and transfer of technology.. .

Despite considerable progress being made in some areas, the international environmental governance system has generally failed to bring about substantial and sustained changes in the stewardship of natural resources and environmental systems. In many cases, this is due to the difficulties associated with designing agreements and systems that can accommodate the divergent interests of the states that are involved in transnational environmental issues. Negotiations can be tediously slow and the need to reach consensus can lead to lowest common denominator outcomes. Similarly, due to the reluctance of states to place constraints on their sovereign rights over natural resources, it has been difficult to establish appropriate mechanisms for monitoring compliance and enforcing the terms of the agreements. The international governance system has also been hampered by a lack ofresources for key institutions and programs.

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