Considerations of equity and international environmental institutions

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International co-operation is required to combat stratospheric ozone depletion, climate change and other adverse environmental changes. International environmental institutions (IEIs) are the most significant manifestation of such co-operation. The creation and effectiveness of IEIs are promoted when they contain provisions for international equity, which can be defined as the fair and just distribution among countries of benefits, burdens and decision-making authority, usually with special consideration given to poor developing countries. Examples of equity provisions in IEIs include new and additional funds and technology transfers on preferential terms to developing countries, as well as changes to international environmental funding mechanisms that allow developing recipient countries to participate in decisions regarding allocation of funds. Considerations of international equity were prominent in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development agreements and suggest that provisions for international equity ought to be a part of future IEIs. While traditional theories of international relations are helpful in explaining and understanding this process, future research should also look at the important role that ideas such as international equity play in the creation, evolution and implementation of IEIs. The practical results may be simultaneously less global pollution and less suffering among the world's poor. Copyright © 2007 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-301
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996


Harris, P. G. (1996). Considerations of equity and international environmental institutions. Environmental Politics, 5(2), 274-301. doi: 10.1080/09644019608414265


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