IV.   Strategies To Engage Countries


The Big Picture

What's The Hold Up?

Perspectives of the Developing World

Strategies To Engage Countries

Choices: Corporate or "To Each Her Own"



A.   Positive Incentives

Several strategies exist which may be useful in gaining international participation in environmental accords.  First, and the critical strategy to engage the developing countries, is positive incentives. Brazil, China and India are countries that support environment conservation but lack the capacity to act.   Positive incentives in the form of technology transfers and financial assistance would clearly be useful in gaining increased developing country participation.   One example: making the transition from highly polluting fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy would  help to alleviate national pollution problems and promote rapid development while simultaneously increasing energy efficiency dramatically  and decreasing carbon emissions.  The mechanisms have been suggested but progress seems to be slow.  According to an attorney for a Indian Power Company,  the technology is needed desperately in India and the government and people of India are very concerned with their national pollution problem;  the U.S. patents simply prevent the country from getting the technology at a reasonable cost.  

 Moreover, positive incentives would be very important to ensuring compliance with the terms of future agreements.  In addition to the UNFCCC, Brazil, China, and India* are parties to five international environmental treaties: The World Heritage Convention (WHC), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES), the London Convention of 1972(LC), the 1983 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA), and the Montreal Protocol on Substance That Deplete the Ozone Layer (MP).[* with the exception that India is not party to the LC.]  The nations generally have had little difficulty fulfilling the procedural requirements of the agreements, however, substantive performance has varied from poor to good depending on requirements of the treaty and the characteristics of each region of the country.17

In studying the compliance of the focus countries to these treaties three trends emerged which affected their ability to comply to the terms of the agreements: (1) ineffective or dishonest bureaucracy caused by; (2) financial resource limitations and (3) divided public support.  The "more pressing concerns" touched upon in Section III. are in large part responsible for these trends.  With two of the treaties, ITTA and CITIES, compliance was especially poor.18  Many factors likely contributed including: large and unsupervised national borders, a lack of cooperation between federal and state agencies, dependence upon the people to meet their subsistence needs, differences in willingness of officials to enforce the laws, and minimal personnel and funding to manage environmental resources.19 For example, in Brazil the IBAMA has only 28 officials to oversee the entire Brazilian Amazon; that is only one federal official per 42,000 square kilometer. Local and state officials in the Amazon region support and protect certain wood smugglers. In Para state, loggers built over 3000 kilometers of illegal roads for the transport of wood passing through protected areas. In 1994 alone, the value of wood smuggled out of the country was estimated to be U.S.$81 million.20 Such performance suggests that in the global warming context these governments will likely be no more effective at preventing deforestation.  If the world is to successfully combat global climate change it must engage and assist the developing with positive incentives.  

B.   Sunshine Methods

Sunshine methods are a second strategy available to engage developing countries.  "Sunshine methods are intended to bring the behavior of targeted actors into the open for appropriate scrutiny." Theses include: regular national reporting, peer scrutiny of reports, on-site monitoring, access to information by nongovernmental organizations and participation of NGOs in monitoring compliance media access and coverage to provide public awareness."21 Sunshine methods would encourage engagement in the developed and the developing worlds

Sunshine methods would be most effective with respect to the developed country parties. Should the Kyoto Protocol enter into force, sunshine methods would most probably engage active participation from both those developed countries that ratified and those that did not.  Perceptions of fairness and blameworthiness point to a duty owed by the polluting nations to the rest of the world.  Moreover, the developed world pushed for a cost-effective solution in recognition that it would be "footing the bill" to undo much of what it had done.  Key mechanisms such as emissions trading, joint implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism are included in the Kyoto Protocol as a compromise to specifically address this goal.  

.In the developing world, sunshine methods would again "cast light on the positions of the nations" in the international community and lead to increasing engagement and compliance.  NGO participation would be especially important in  the developing countries in that it would help increase public awareness, garner public support, and perhaps even pressure government. Public opinion is very important, as a state’s authority to act depends upon the consent of its people.

The business community may also be engaged by sunshine methods. Frequently, multinational corporations use environmental preservation as a marketing tool, improving their image with the help of national press coverage.  This also would serve as a positive incentive for developing countries to participate fully, as they could benefit from potential transfers or investment.

C.   Coercive Measures

Coercive measure such as penalties and sanctions are a third option available to engage the developing countries. Though considered by some to be irrelevant and ineffective with respect to environmental treaties, the U.S. for example has, on occasion, made use of trade restrictions, which are similar to sanctions.22 Given the significance of this issue, coercive measures should be used as weapon of last resort should they be necessary to engaging developing country participation.

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