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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 2013 Vol. 9, No. 4, 347–363, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2013.853696 Eleni Dellas and Philipp Pattberg* Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Department of Environmental Policy Analysis (EPA), VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands This article systematically assesses the likelihood of effective implementation of several key options to reduce global biodiversity loss, including ‘conventional’ biodiversity policies, such as expanding protected areas, and policies primarily developed for other purposes but with potential positive side effects for biodiversity, such as ambitious climate change mitigation efforts, forest protection, and sustainable fishing practices. While existing studies highlight the technical feasibility of implementing such policy options, their political feasibility is rarely considered in detail. Political feasibility refers to the constraints that either make agreement on policies difficult in the first place for limit or prohibit the effective implementation of agreed policies. Drawing on a broader research project that models the effectiveness of international environmental regimes based on the robust findings of regime theory, we utilize a novel assessment framework to study the political barriers and opportunities to the implementation of biodiversity policies at the global level. The analysis suggests that focusing on those options that are technically less ambitious is more likely to be implemented in the short term. In conclusion, the article highlights the importance of analyzing the institutional and governance-related aspects of policies to reduce biodiversity loss. Keywords: biodiversity loss; policy effectiveness; climate change; sustainable forest management; sustainable fisheries; protected areas 1. Introduction These developments have encouraged an increased focus on policy options to effectively address biodiversity Biodiversity loss has both local implications and inher- loss. In the words of Global Biodiversity Outlook (CBD ently global dimensions, requiring global solutions 2010): (Swanson 1995). Models of biodiversity loss show a decline in vertebrate populations by nearly one third Well-targeted policies focusing on critical areas, species since 1971 and indicate that among ‘selected vertebrate, and ecosystem services are essential to avoid the most invertebrate and plant groups, between 12% and 55% of dangerous impacts on people and societies. Preventing species are currently threatened with extinction’ (CBD further human-induced biodiversity loss for the nearterm Secretariat 2010, p. 24, 26). Increased understanding of future will be extremely challenging, but biodiversity loss the importance of biodiversity across multiple dimen- may be halted and in some aspects reversed in the longer term, if urgent, concerted and effective action is initiated sions indicates that the damages caused by these trends now in support of an agreed long-term vision. are widespread and severe. Consequently, loss of biodi- versity threatens to, inter alia, negatively affect the tour- ism industry, leading to lowered agricultural productivity In support of the much needed ‘urgent, concerted and through lowered soil fertility and disruptions of insect effective action’, a recent study (PBL 2010) by the crop pollination; reduce global fish catches; complicate Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) natural hazard management; lead to the destruction of models the impacts of eight global strategies to reduce biodiversity loss: significant expansions of protected genetic resources that are of value for medicine, agri- culture, and ecosystem resilience; and destroy biodiver- areas, reducing deforestation and marine fishing efforts, sity that is of invaluable cultural significance for many improving forest management, changes in agricultural societies (UNEP 2007;OECD 2008; CBD Secretariat practices to increase productivity and reduce post-harvest 2010). The economic implications of biodiversity loss losses, changing diets toward less meat-intensive con- are estimated at potentially hundreds of billion US$ sumption patterns, and mitigating climate change. Not all (UNEP 2007, p. 161). Furthermore, the poorest people of these strategies can make equally substantial contribu- are likely to suffer disproportionately due to a greater tions toward reducing global biodiversity loss. Dietary dependence on local ecosystems for livelihood security change toward a less meat-intensive diet, for example, is (UNEP 2007, p. 158; OECD 2008; CBD Secretariat expected to contribute to a reduction in loss of mean 2010). The direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity species abundance (MSA) of nearly 50% by 2050, while loss are projected to continue largely unabated in the expanding protected areas to 20% of terrestrial ecoregions coming decades. would lead to a reduction of around 10% by 2050. *Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2013 Taylor & Francis 348 E. Dellas and P. Pattberg Such studies are part of a broader attempt to develop Section 3 provides a detailed assessment of the four con- scenarios of biodiversity loss and to model the effects of crete cases in terms of their likelihood of implementation. different policies to address it (e.g., Alkemade et al. 2009). Section 4 discusses implications of our findings. However, while many of the suggested strategies are tech- nologically and economically viable, they are not always 2. Assessment framework: building on international politically feasible. Political feasibility refers to the con- regime theory straints that either make agreement on policies difficult in the first place or limit or prohibit the effective implemen- Effectively addressing global biodiversity loss will require tation of agreed policies. Furthermore, in contrast to mod- significant behavioral, technological, and institutional eling and scenario-building, studies on political feasibility change. However, not all potential strategies of achieving and implementation (and particularly attempts at modeling such change are equally realistic to be implemented. Thus, this) remain limited. This paper addresses these research the framework outlined below assesses the likelihood of lacunae by systematically evaluating the potential effec- implementation of different strategies for reducing global tiveness of those four strategies for addressing global biodiversity loss. Drawing on the international regime biodiversity loss that already have been agreed upon by literature (a subfield of the discipline of International international or transnational actors (as opposed to those Relations), the framework identifies factors that have a potential strategies for which no current cooperative struc- positive influence on implementing agreed upon policies ture exists, such as inducing global dietary changes). The (what we refer to as regime implementation). A detailed four concrete institutions analyzed in this paper, the version of the analytical framework applied in this article Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United can be found in Dellas et al. (2011) and de Vos and Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change colleagues (2013). As a consequence of the choice of (UNFCCC), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and academic literature underlying our framework, we focus Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), also provide a only on those strategies that need to be implemented balanced assessment in terms of international and transna- through international or transnational cooperative action tional governance initiatives. (as opposed to strategies that potentially could be imple- By applying an assessment framework detailing the mented by actors unilaterally). This is justified, first, by factors that affect the effective implementation (and the global aspiration of biodiversity conservation. Given thereby also indirectly the potential effectiveness) of the pervasive nature of biodiversity loss, its geographic cooperative agreements to address biodiversity loss, this spread, and the underlying drivers, actions by individual paper has two concrete aims: first, it illustrates the added states will not be sufficient to substantially reduce biodi- value of using a formalized assessment framework (build- versity loss. Second, as all policies suggested have poten- ing on political science and International Relations scho- tial impacts on markets and competitiveness (PBL 2010), larship) to evaluate the political feasibility of policy it is highly unlikely that states would pursue costly biodi- options (in addition to existing analyses that focus only versity policies unilaterally, instead of attempting to reach on the technical feasibility); second, this paper examines an international agreement that would level the playing which of the four already existing strategies scores high- field. Consequently, this paper assumes that the strategies est in terms of effective implementation. Based on an to reduce loss in MSA will be realized through interna- application of our assessment framework to the four tional or transnational cooperation (in the form of success- concrete options, we contend that the strategy that is ful formation and implementation of an international or currently most feasible is expanding protected areas (by transnational regime), although other alternative strategies intensifying implementation of the work of the CBD on at sub-national, national and regional levels are also theo- protected areas), although its contribution toward redu- retically conceivable (see, e.g., Smith et al. 2003). In the cing global biodiversity loss may be modest. In addition, empirical analysis, we focus both on regimes that are we also argue that a generic trade-off exists between public (agreements formed among states) and those that international approaches that have a higher potential are private (agreements formed among non-state actors). impact (as they are universal in their reach) and transna- An international regime can be understood as the for- tional approaches that have fewer barriers toward effec- malized rules and norms that govern the behavior of actors tive implementation but a lower level of ambition. In in the international system within a given issue area sum, our paper highlights the importance of analyzing (Krasner 1983). The academic literature on international the institutional and governance-related aspects of poli- environmental regimes provides numerous hypotheses cies to reduce biodiversity loss – at both international and regarding factors that increase or diminish the likelihood transnational levels – and thereby contributes to the of effective regime implementation (Bernauer 1995; broader quest for effective governance strategies for com- Sprinz & Helm 1999; Breitmeier et al. 2006). The frame- bating biodiversity loss within the context of global work summarized below synthesizes and integrates these environmental change (e.g., Kenward et al. 2011). findings into a formalized set of rules, which allows the The next section will outline our assessment frame- analyst to assess the likelihood of implementation of poli- work, focusing on factors that support or hinder successful cies (for a comprehensive discussion of scientific findings implementation of international and transnational policies. on regime implementation, see Dellas et al. 2011). International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 349 During the regime implementation stage, four charac- framework does not examine whether the rules implemen- teristics define the likelihood of effective regime imple- ted by a regime are sufficiently stringent for a significant mentation: the attributes of the environmental problem to impact on the problem that led to its creation. The follow- be regulated (problem structure); the constraints and ing sections outline the building blocks of the assessment autonomy of the negotiating parties and the addressees framework in more detail. of the regulations, e.g., economic sectors (labeled actors); other institutions, organizations, and norms in the wider international system that influence the actors’ preferences 2.1. Problem structure (regime environment); and the components of the institu- Environmental problems have different attributes, degrees tional structure (regime design). An overview of the fra- of difficulty, and complexity. Consequently, different pro- mework can be found in Figure 1. Assuming that these blem types call for different solutions. Scholars have iden- four building blocks are favorable, regime implementation tified various characteristics of problem structure that have (i.e., potential effectiveness of the regime) will be more implications for regime formation and implementation likely than under unfavorable conditions. (Young 1999; Miles et al. 2002; Hovi et al. 2003). This Before the following subsections discuss each of these section provides a short description of some of the key conceptual building blocks in more detail, we briefly characteristics of problem structure that our framework reflect on the limitations of our assessment framework. examines. First, while the issues examined under each conceptual First, problems can be distinguished as either colla- building block follow from robust findings of international boration or coordination problems. Collaboration pro- regime literature, they remain products of interpretation. blems exist in situations where the costs and benefits of Hence, different experts might disagree on the nuances. a problem and its potential solutions are unevenly distrib- Second, it is important to note that the literature surveyed uted in favor of some actors (Underdal 2002, p. 20). for this paper is not a completely coherent body of scholar- Characteristic examples of such cases are problems of ship in itself. Rather, it incorporates a wide range of transboundary pollution, or common-pool resources. underlying purposes and meta-theories that require the Often, a country that pollutes neighboring ones only analyst to make interpretations. Third, not all relevant pays a part of the costs, but enjoys all the benefits. Such literatures on cooperation between actors (such as eco- characteristics make reaching agreement on how to nomic or psychological theory) have been incorporated. address a collaboration problem, and ensuring compliance, The concepts included here are derived from a limited and difficult. Coordination problems, on the other hand, still clearly defined field of research on international institu- require cooperative efforts, but with the difference that tions, thus guaranteeing a minimum coherence in terms of actors’ preferences and interests converge. Typical exam- underlying ontological and epistemological assumptions. ples of such problems are measures to control air or We, however, acknowledge that our theoretical bias marine traffic (Underdal 2002). toward neoliberal institutionalism (regime theory) Second, problems can be distinguished as either sys- excludes other plausible accounts of the likelihood and temic or cumulative environmental problems. While the effectiveness of international cooperation. Fourth, the fac- activities causing systemic problems do not necessarily tors included in this paper are by no means meant to be take place at a global scale, their physical impacts are conclusive, but rather represent a preliminary list that global. Emissions of greenhouse gases or ozone depleting could be expanded or refined. The relation of the different gases are, thus, systemic environmental problems; factors to each other is also not set in stone and needs to be although the emission of these gases is asymmetrically examined further; for example, we currently lack informa- distributed throughout the world, they spread throughout tion on the weighting of different variables, and therefore the whole atmosphere. Conversely, the causes of cumula- this paper assumes that all factors are equally important. tive problems are local in nature but widely replicated, Finally, it is important to emphasize that our assessment thus leading to a change in the overall environment Problem structure Regime environment Actors Regime Design REGIME IMPLEMENTATION Likelihood of regime implementation Figure 1. Context and design variables in regime implementation. 350 E. Dellas and P. Pattberg (Turner et al. 1990). The regime literature suggests that 2.3. Regime environment implementation of regimes tackling cumulative problems The embedding of a regime in a larger institutional frame- may be less successful, since the lack of immediate cross- work increases the likelihood of regime implementation. border implications makes the detection of noncompliance Furthermore, institutional interplay may have positive or less likely. Conversely, noncompliance with the provisions negative implications for regime implementation. In the of regimes tackling systemic environmental problems has case of most environmental regimes, some interaction global impacts. exists with other institutions, in particular, as the number And, third, the regulation costs actors face complying of institutional arrangements addressing environmental with the rules of a regime are an important explanation and other issues is increasing. Institutional interplay can for how difficult it is to solve the environmental problem be negative, for example, when the provisions of regimes (e.g., Barrett 1999; Biermann & Siebenhüner 2009). contradict each other, as is the case with the climate Solutions to some problems can have significant environ- change and the ozone depletion regimes (Young 2008,p. mental benefits at relatively low cost, whereas in other 123, 124). However, interplay can also be positive and cases the cost of action is high and the environmental reinforce the activities of a regime, particularly when they benefits are less clear, thus deterring actors from regime are working on similar issues. formation and implementation. However, regulation costs are not fixed, as, for example, technological innovations can reduce regulatory costs. Conversely, prolonged inac- 2.4. Regime design tion may lead to an increase in the costs of reversing the damage. Following this review of the context variables, this section will discuss six variables associated with ‘regime design’, which plays an important role in regime implementation. First, since many environmental problems are character- 2.2. Actors ized by high scientific uncertainty, improved scientific The interests and power of actors are often seen as impor- understanding could encourage improvements in the way tant factors in explaining the operation of international the problem is managed or solved. Therefore, the extent to regimes. This section presents some key actor-centered which a particular regime promotes scientific knowledge characteristics for regime implementation found in the generation can have an indirect, albeit significant, impact literature. Asymmetry of interest between actors that are on regime implementation by encouraging behavioral and significant for causing or addressing a problem can ham- policy changes, which can in turn lead to the solution or per regime implementation by diminishing participation in improvement of the environmental problem (Andresen the regime (Underdal 2002,p.17–20). et al. 2000; Mitchell 2008). Such knowledge generation It is important to differentiate between participation typically occurs through large-scale international scientific by states that are powerful and states that are important assessments, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on for the creation of a regime governing a particular Climate Change (IPCC). However, Mitchell et al. (2006) issue due to their stake in the cause and/or solution indicate that the influence of such assessments also varies of the problem. For example, in the case of the according to whether its intended audience considers the International Whaling Commission, participation by assessment to be salient, credible, and legitimate. Another traditional or aboriginal whaling states was definitely dimension of knowledge generation is the promotion of important for addressing the problem of whaling public awareness, thus raising the salience of the problem (Andresen 2002). However, not all of these states can on global and national policy agendas. necessarily be considered powerful. Not only the sup- Second, while full compliance does not guarantee suc- port of powerful or important states can encourage cess at attaining environmental improvement (for example, regime implementation, but also the participation of if the goals of a regime are rather unambitious or if not all high-level ministerial representatives from the nego- major contributors to an environmental problem partici- tiating countries rather than lower-level delegates at pate in a regime) (Mitchell 2008), strong compliance conferences of the parties (COPs), as political pressure mechanisms are generally considered important for regime on decision-makers is maintained (Skjærseth 2002, implementation. The strength or weakness of regime com- 2006). pliance mechanisms can be ranked in three levels. At the Furthermore, when multiple economic sectors need to weakest level, there is no compliance mechanism. At an be regulated to address an environmental issue, this may intermediate level, each party establishes a mechanism for affect regime implementation negatively. This is because monitoring regime implementation. Finally, a strong com- ‘transsectoral problems require concerted action among pliance mechanism not only monitors implementation, but relevant public authorities both horizontally, and verti- also has the authority to apply sanctions on non-compliant cally’ (Skjærseth 2002, p. 179). Several agencies and parties (Young 1999,p.88–97). ministries may be affected by the task of regulating the Further issues that are important for compliance and issue and have to coordinate amongst each other, in addi- compliance mechanisms are the precision of the rules tion to the relevant ministries of other countries. established by the regime, as well as to what extent they International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 351 are legally binding. Therefore, scholars have also worked 3. Assessing options for reducing global biodiversity on evaluating to what extent a regime leaves room for loss interpretation regarding the goals and targets that are to be A significant reduction of biodiversity loss of 50% by achieved, and whether the conditions of obligation are 2050 requires full implementation of all the strategies explicit (Abbott et al. 2000). outlined in Section 1. In the case of some of these strate- Third, positive incentives or side-payments can also be gies, such as changes in agricultural practices to increase important aspects of regime design by helping states to productivity and reduce post-harvest losses and changing comply with its rules. Positive incentives are particularly diets toward less meat-intensive consumption patterns, important in cases of involuntary noncompliance, when concerted action at the international level is thus far lack- states are willing to comply but lack the necessary capa- ing. Thus, these are cases where regime formation still has city to do so. They can have the form of financial assis- to take place. However, for the other strategies discussed tance, transfer of technological expertise, or other bilateral in Section 1, international cooperation is already some- assistance outside the framework of the treaty, and have what more established. For example, expansion of pro- been included in various agreements such as the Montreal tected areas is a priority of the CBD, making marine Protocol, the Kyoto Protocol, and the CBD (Brown Weiss fishing efforts more sustainable and improving forest man- & Jacobson 1998). Fourth, differentiation of rules may agement are the goals of certification schemes such as the also contribute to increased regime implementation by MSC and FSC, and climate change mitigation is mandated allowing rules to be adapted for the different capacities under the UNFCCC. Our framework does not examine the and responsibilities for an environmental problem of actual impact of these agreements on biodiversity, but actors. whether the context and design variables relating to this Fifth, mechanisms for reporting and implementation regime indicate a high potential likelihood of implementa- review allow parties to international agreements to tion. Furthermore, the level of ambition of these institu- exchange data, monitor activities, assess the adequacy of tions does not correspond to what research has identified commitments, and handle poor implementation (Victor as necessary for a significant contribution to reducing et al. 1998). Such mechanisms are, thus, also important global biodiversity loss (see Table 1 below for an over- for monitoring compliance and deciding on adequate mea- view of these schemes and their ambitions). Nonetheless, sures in cases of noncompliance. Sixth, and finally, a these institutions will be discussed here because these strong secretariat can be central to the regime’s imple- instruments are the most congruent with the corresponding mentation. To be characterized as strong, it has to be strategy to reduce biodiversity loss. Comparing their like- autonomous in developing policies and have adequate lihood of successful implementation allows us to, first, test financial resources (Biermann & Siebenhüner 2009). our assessment framework, and second, identify which This list of factors explaining effective implementation strategies are most likely to be implemented (and thus of international and transnational environmental regimes contribute to reducing biodiversity loss) and why. This should not be considered conclusive. However, we have allows us to suggest priorities in addressing biodiversity decided to include only factors that are relatively straight- loss and what may need to be done to overcome barriers to forward to observe and verify. Not addressed here, due to implementation. a lack of unambiguous evidence, are: participation by Table 2 provides an overview of the four cases stakeholders (e.g., nongovernmental organizations – included in this analysis and the corresponding barriers NGOs), decision rules, cumulative or crosscutting clea- and opportunities to implementation identified in each vages, relative strengths of pushers and laggards during case. The MSC and FSC have fewer favorable conditions negotiations, and transaction costs. When analyzing the (indicated by factors colored in green) than the UNFCCC different factors, we differentiate between those that act and CBD. Overall, fewer factors are listed for the MSC as barriers to effective regime formation and implementa- and FSC, as some information is not available or some tion, those that are ambiguous due to insufficient data or categories do not apply. Both the UNFCCC and CBD have could work in multiple directions, as well as those that are regime designs that are favorable (e.g., rule differentiation, predicted to have a positive effect on influencing effective scientific knowledge generation). While the CBD is also regime implementation to reduce biodiversity loss. characterized by a number of neutral or ambiguous (yel- The following section will apply the assessment fra- low) factors, the UNFCCC is hampered by several clearly mework to several cases of existing international and unfavorable (red) factors, mostly related to the problem transnational cooperation where full implementation structure and actor interests. Thus, overall, the CBD’s could have significant benefits for reducing biodiversity program on protected areas emerges as the option that is loss. The application of the framework allows us to most feasible to be implemented. The following para- identify which cases have the highest likelihood of suc- graphs will shortly discuss the key findings for each case cessful implementation and therefore should be priori- (note that not each category listed in the table is discussed tized politically. in the paragraphs below). 352 E. Dellas and P. Pattberg Table 1. Overview of agreements. Ambition of PBL option (where multiple option variants In operation Number of countries are available, the moderate Scheme Aim of the scheme since involved option is considered) CBD (we examine Establishment of protected areas 29 December 193 parties to the Expanding protected area only CBD work on (Article 8, convention text) 1993 convention coverage to 20% of all protected areas, At least halve and, where feasible, bring terrestrial ecoregions not the convention close to zero the rate of loss of as a whole) natural habitats, including forests (Aichi target 5) Expanding protected area coverage for terrestrial and inland water areas to at least 17%, and for coastal and marine areas to at least 10% (Aichi target 11) MSC According to the MSC Integrated 1997 315 fisheries around To reduce fishing efforts to Strategic Plan 2012–2017, its the world certified maximum sustainable yield mission ‘is to use our certification or in assessment (MSY) levels, and and ecolabel program to contribute to compensate for the reduction the health of the world’s oceans by in fish catches by additional recognizing and rewarding aquaculture sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood, and working with our partners to transform the seafood market to a more sustainable level’ (MSC 2012,p.2) One of the primary objectives for 2012– 2017 ‘is to reach 15 percent of global fisheries landings certified to the MSC standard by 2017, and 20 percent by 2020’ (MSC 2012,p.7) FSC The Forest Stewardship Council A.C. 1993 The FSC currently The PBL option aims to reduce (FSC) shall promote environmentally certifies forests in the logging impact by appropriate, socially beneficial, and 80 countries implementing Reduced economically viable management of Impact Logging (RIL) the world's forests. techniques, and combining this with intensively managed forest plantations to supply 25% of global wood demand by 2050 UNFCCC (the focus The Kyoto Protocol specifies collective 21 March 195 parties to the This option aims to reduce here is on the emissions reductions of six 1994 convention, 192 greenhouse gas (GHG) Kyoto Protocol) greenhouse gases by at least 5% convention parties emissions to about 25 Gt (relative to the 1990 baseline) for the are party to the CO eq/yr in 2050, with the Annex 1 countries Kyoto Protocol target of stabilizing GHG concentrations at 450 ppm CO eq after 2100 (PBL 2010, p. 99) 3.1. Sustainable forest certification – likelihood of hinder the implementation of voluntary certification effective regime implementation schemes. A number of international programs and institutions have worked on the formulation of common principles and commitments on improved forest management, although 3.1.1. Barriers to implementation the implementation of these commitments remains limited According to the assessment framework, three concrete (Visseren-Hamakers & Glasbergen 2007). However, sub- barriers to implementation of forest certification as a biodi- stantial attempts to implement sustainable forest manage- versity policy exist: the collaborative and cumulative nature ment practices have occurred in the context of voluntary of the problem (forest degradation and deforestation) and market-based forest certification (Gulbrandsen 2008). the negative interplay with other environmental institutions, Thus, this section considers what factors encourage or in particular climate change and biodiversity related. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 353 Table 2. Overview of barriers to regime implementation. Rule category Rule UNFCCC MSC FSC CBD Problem Collaboration or coordination Collaboration Collaboration Collaboration Collaboration structure problem problem problem problem problem Systemic or cumulative Systemic Cumulative Cumulative Cumulative environmental problem problem problem problem problem Systemic problem with important Yes n/a n/a n/a state nonparticipation Regulation costs High Low Low Low Actors Powerful state interest asymmetry High interest Medium Medium Low interest asymmetry asymmetry Important state interest asymmetry High interest Medium Medium Low interest asymmetry asymmmetry Powerful state/actor participation Medium n/a n/a High Important state/actor participation Medium n/a n/a High Participation of high-level ministerial High n/a n/a Medium representatives Economic sectors High Low Low Low Regime Embedded in a larger institutional n/a n/a n/a n/a environment framework Negative or positive institutional Negative and Negative Negative Negative and interplay positive interplay interplay positive interplay interplay Regime design Scientific knowledge generation Credible and n/a n/a Credible and mechanism neutral neutral Compliance mechanism Strong Medium Medium Weak Rule precision High Low Medium Medium Legally binding rules Yes Voluntary Voluntary Yes scheme scheme Side-payments Yes No consistent No consistent No consistent side-payments side-payments side-payments Rule differentiation Yes Inadvertent rule Inadvertent rule Yes differentiation differentiation 3.1.2. Ambiguous factors than those promoted by the FSC (Gulbrandsen 2005, p. 43, 46; Chan & Pattberg 2008). While asymmetry of interest among key actors is a clear A potential drawback for certification schemes is the lack barrier to implementation of voluntary forest certification of a strong compliance mechanism. Certification schemes do schemes, at least to a limited extent current forest certifi- check for compliance. Indeed, it has been argued that volun- cation schemes allow for differentiation of rules, which tary forest certification schemes such as the FSC and PEFC may attenuate this. Thus, forest owners are able to choose are in some cases better at ensuring compliance than national between different certification standards. For example, authorities, as in ‘most tropical countries, forest legislation is FSC Germany and the Programme for the Endorsement poorly enforced outside certified forests’ (van Bueren 2010, of Forest Certification (PEFC) Germany have been found p. 11). However, while some certification schemes such as the to have very different rules regarding issues such as pes- FSC have rather stringent compliance checking procedures, ticide use, choice of species for replanting, and require- forest certification schemes ‘lack the traditional enforcement ments for setting aside forest areas (Rametsteiner & capacities associated with the sovereign state’ (Bernstein & Simula 2003). And, in some cases, certification schemes Cashore 2004, p. 33, 23). Thus, while they can refuse to grant specify only overarching, guiding standards, leaving the or revoke certification in case of noncompliance, forest certi- details to be hammered out by national committees to be fication schemes do not possess any sanction mechanisms sensitive to national differences (an example of such an and therefore lack a ‘strong’ compliance mechanism. umbrella standard is the PEFC). However, while such Nonetheless, for the forestry companies that voluntarily sub- differentiation may be attractive for some reasons (e.g., ject themselves to the certification process, having their cer- to preserve the rights of access to a forest by indigenous tification suspended as a sanction for noncompliance may be groups), it may also undermine some of the benefits of a substantial compliance mechanism, as the ‘reward’ of cer- forest certification. For example, the PEFC, which allows tification may improve their reputation or allow them to national committees to define the details of certification charge a price premium for their products (Gulbrandsen criteria, is also frequently criticized for enabling forest 2008). companies to choose standards that are less stringent 354 E. Dellas and P. Pattberg Rule precision is a further ambiguous factor with (for example, some Regional Fisheries Management respect to forest certification implementation. To be con- Organizations conduct research, provide loose guidelines, ducive to reducing global biodiversity loss, the standards or establish protected areas, but do not establish and and indicators used by the certification schemes must be monitor sustainable catch levels). Others focus only on clear and measurable, in particular also those pertaining to specific species, families, or orders (such as tuna, salmon, biodiversity conservation. Many forest certification and whales), or on fisheries in specific regions (such as the schemes are well developed, with clear criteria and indi- Mediterranean or South Pacific). Considering this discre- cators. However, these criteria are not necessarily con- pancy with the option to reduce catch levels to MSY levels cerned with biodiversity conservation, thus there may be immediately or in the near future, this section examines a need to emphasize ‘clarity and consistency to ensure that implementation of voluntary fisheries certification biodiversity conservation requirements are not diluted’ schemes, such as the MSC. Certification schemes such (van Bueren 2010; Zagt et al. 2010, p. vii). as the MSC operate globally and certify the sustainable fishing practices of any wild capture fishery. The number of public and private, international, regional, and national 3.1.3. Positive factors fisheries certification schemes has been estimated at ‘400 The limited number of economic sectors directly involved and rising’ (FAO 2008, p. 26), indicating the increasing in forest certification is considered a positive factor for popularity and proliferation of this marine fisheries certi- implementation. In addition, as multiple certification fication as a strategy to combat overfishing (Kalfagianni & schemes exist that cater for different constituencies within Pattberg 2013). the overall economic sector of forestry (e.g., the FSC being favored by environmental interests, while the 3.2.1. Barriers to implementation PEFC is endorsed by forest owners), barriers to implemen- tation due to divergence of actors’ interests are very low. While rule precision may contribute to implementation, With respect to problem structure, regulation costs inaccuracy and lacking precision of rules is often criticized have been found to have a limited impact on the likelihood by many of the currently active marine fisheries certifica- of implementation of forest certification. While some stu- tion schemes (Accenture 2009). In some cases, this makes dies have highlighted the negative implications for small measurement and verification of the criteria open to inter- holders and actors in the developing countries more gen- pretation, and may encourage ‘arbitrary ecolabeling deci- erally (Pattberg 2006; Dingwerth 2008), the overall con- sions’ (Sainsbury 2010, p. 1). Clearly, a problem that tinuous growth of certified forest area around the world certification schemes need to address in the future is to indicates that regulation costs are not a major obstacle develop rules that are both precise and flexible enough to toward implementation. be applied to both small- and large-scale, developed and Mechanisms for regular reporting and implementation developing country fisheries. review also increase the likelihood of regime implementa- With respect to regime environment, one issue that tion. This is part of the regular procedures of many forest may hinder implementation is negative interplay with certification schemes; For example, the FSC regularly other regimes. In the case of fisheries certification, the checks whether a certified forestry continues to comply potential negative interactions with the World Trade with its standards (van Kuijk et al. 2009, p. 20). Organization (WTO) have received significant attention, In sum, our assessment indicates that voluntary forest as the certification standards may be discriminatory (e.g., certification is an issue marked by much ambiguity, result- if the high cost of demonstrating compliance with them ing from the diversity of certification schemes, lack of rule prohibits smaller fisheries or fisheries from poorer coun- precision, and inability to adequately sanction noncompli- tries to apply), and thus may also create obstacles to trade ance, despite good monitoring mechanisms and relatively (FAO 2008, 2010; Accenture 2009). Furthermore, it has low regulation costs. been argued that the standards of private certification organizations may reproduce similar rules already required by the authorities in the exporting or importing countries 3.2. Sustainable fisheries certification – likelihood of (FAO 2008, p. 96). Nonetheless, there have been substan- effective regime implementation tial efforts to ensure that certification standards are not This section examines the likelihood of implementation of discriminatory to products from particular countries or sustainable fisheries certification. Overexploitation and producers. depletion of marine fish stocks has substantial implications for marine biodiversity. It has therefore been suggested 3.2.2. Ambiguous factors that a feasible way to address this issue is to reduce fishing efforts to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels, and With respect to regime design, one factor that may miti- compensate for the reduction in fish catches by additional gate the asymmetry of non-state interests discussed above aquaculture (PBL 2010). Many existing fisheries organiza- is differentiation of rules. Actors interested in certification tions and instruments are far from the ambition of the can choose between different eco-labels that differ in terms recommendation to reduce fishing efforts to MSY levels of the level of rigor, consistency of testing, and even the International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 355 issues that are certified (for example, issues that are exam- social standards are borne by the certification schemes and ined may include the ecological sustainability of fisheries the fishing companies that wish to be certified. Although and ecosystems, traceability of certified products through the cost of applying for certification and complying with the supply chain, fair trade, workers’ rights, and/or envir- the requirements of a standard might hinder a more wide- onmental impact assessments such as carbon footprint spread implementation of some standards, there are incen- (Accenture 2009)). Not only are products certified by tives to apply for standard certification as well (such as the different eco-labels necessarily comparable, but also fish- possibility to charge a price premium or to use certification eries seeking the benefits of labeling may also be able to for promotional purposes). However, similar to the forest choose between different certification schemes that focus certification arena, regulation costs have been found to on criteria that are easiest for them to fulfill. This type of have a limited impact on the likelihood of implementation (not necessarily intentional) differentiation of rules is thus of fisheries certification. One indicator is the relatively not wholly desirable, however, efforts to address this high level of standard uptake within the fisheries sector. situation do exist, e.g., through the guidelines for marine While all voluntary certification schemes account for 22% capture fisheries eco-labeling developed and refined by the of the world’s fisheries, MSC alone certifies 12% Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Kalfagianni & Pattberg 2013, p. 130). (FAO) Fisheries and Aquaculture Department since 2005 In sum, our assessment indicates that voluntary fish- (Sainsbury 2010, p. iv). eries certification is an issue marked by some barriers to A further aspect of regime design that is ambiguous in implementation, such as the lack of rule precision and the case of fisheries certification schemes are side- negative institutional interplay. Additional ambiguity can payments. While voluntary certification is currently not be identified with respect to the development of side- associated with any systematic provision of side- payments and compliance mechanisms, while rule differ- payments, the FAO supports the provision of ‘funding to entiation has both positive and negative aspects to it. The support eco-label certification in developing States’, where two positive factors include the limited number of eco- fisheries may face more significant financial obstacles to nomic sectors involved and the low regulation costs. meeting the sustainability criteria of certification schemes, and moreover in demonstrating their adherence to those 3.3. United Nations Framework Convention on criteria (Sainsbury 2010, p. 28). Climate Change (UNFCCC) – likelihood of With respect to regime design, a strong compliance effective regime implementation mechanism is a further component of successful regime implementation, particularly in the case of collaboration This section discusses the likelihood of regime implemen- problems. In the case of voluntary fisheries certification, tation of the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC is an international compliance works somewhat differently than in the con- treaty that broadly aims to contribute to a reduction and text of formal, legally binding international agreements. stabilization of greenhouse gas emissions by its signa- Thus, compliance with the criteria of a standard is assessed tories. As the name indicates, it is a framework treaty by a second- or, ideally, a third-party actor. Furthermore, that itself does not specify greenhouse gas emissions in the case of the MSC, for example, fisheries are also reductions in detail. These were to be specified in subse- regularly re-assessed and monitored to ensure ongoing quent protocols such as the Kyoto Protocol. This protocol compliance with sustainable fishing criteria (Sainsbury specifies collective emissions reductions of six greenhouse 2010, p. 18). However, in many cases, the strength of gasses by at least 5% (relative to the 1990 baseline) for the compliance assessments is reduced by the fact that the Annex I countries. The UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol sustainability assessments of many certification schemes are not ambitious enough to limit greenhouse gas concen- rely on imprecise criteria (Accenture 2009). Moreover, a tration at 450 ppm. Nonetheless, evaluating the likelihood substantial weakness regarding compliance with fisheries of successful implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, based certification is the general lack of sanctions and corrective on the rules defined in the assessment framework, gives an measures (FAO 2008, p. 100). indication of the issues that would need to be addressed by a more ambitious successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. 3.2.3. Positive factors Similar to the case of forest certification, the limited num- 3.3.1. Barriers to implementation ber of economic sectors involved in fisheries certification is a positive factor for implementation. The existence of With respect to the problem structure of climate change multiple certification schemes catering for different con- mitigation, the projected regulation costs are higher than stituencies that we observed in the forestry case is also those of any of the other strategies discussed in this report. visible in fisheries certification (Kalfagianni & Pattberg Thus, estimates for stabilizing greenhouse gas concentra- 2013). Therefore, barriers to implementation due to diver- tions at 450 ppm range from 1% to 3% of global gross gence of actors’ interests are very low. domestic product (GDP), or roughly 1200 billion US$ With respect to problem structure, regulation costs for annually (UNEP 2008; PBL 2009), although implement- verifying and monitoring adherence to environmental and ing the Kyoto Protocol is significantly less costly. 356 E. Dellas and P. Pattberg However, it has been emphasized that the cost of climate interplay. In addition to numerous possible direct interactions, change mitigation rises significantly the longer action is for example, with the CBD (encouraging plantations under the delayed, and that even though spending 2% or 3 % of Kyoto Protocol would be undesirable for forest biodiversity), global GDP on climate change mitigation may seem high, more diffuse potential interactions exist as well, including for global military spending is similarly high at 2.5% example that ‘trade liberalization advanced by the World (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007; Stern Trade Organization (WTO) may lead to rising GHG emissions 2007; UNEP 2008). due to induced growth in international trade’ (Oberthür 2006, A further issue that may affect regime implementation p. 56). Other interactions with WTO law were identified by negatively is the large number of economic sectors that is Zelli and van Asselt (2010). One potential area of interplay is needed for effective regulation. For example, for the year the flexibility mechanisms in the Kyoto Protocol; thus, for 2000, the most significant contributions to greenhouse gas example, the provisions on international emissions trading are emissions were assumed to come from transportation, directed at developed countries, and ‘could be considered a 13.5%; electricity and heat, 24.6%; land-use change, form of trade discrimination since it effectively excludes the 18.2%; and agriculture, 13.5% (Baumert et al. 2005; large majority of developing countries as well as third parties UNEP 2008, p. 44). Thus, regarding the number of sectors to the Kyoto Protocol from emissions trading’ if emissions that need to be regulated, this option also far exceeds the credits were considered to fall under the General Agreement other strategies discussed in this paper. on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (Zelli & van Asselt 2010,p. 81). Furthermore, implementation may be impeded by mul- Furthermore, various trade-related policies could be in conflict tiple dimensions of asymmetry of interest between power- with WTO law, for example, government procurement poli- ful states and/or important states, involving issues such as cies permitted under the climate regime, and implemented to the differing responsibilities and capabilities of states. achieve emissions limitations, could also be in conflict with Determining responsibilities and commitments for emis- WTO rules on this issue (Zelli & van Asselt 2010,p.83). sions reductions is not necessarily straightforward, and has been a consistent issue of contention from COP15, (COP15 was held in Copenhagen in 2009) when, for 3.3.2. Ambiguous factors example, countries such as China and India were taken aback by the demands to make commitments to make The targets of the Kyoto Protocol are also legally binding, emissions reductions as well, to the most recent COP18 which is one aspect that increases the likelihood of regime (COP18 was held in Doha in 2012), where, for example, a implementation. However, as mentioned above, fewer second Kyoto Protocol commitment period was agreed on, countries accepted the second commitment period com- but several countries that were previously included in the pared to the first one, significantly reducing the level of Kyoto Protocol refused to accept binding targets (Russia, ambition. Japan, and New Zealand) and one even completely refused to participate in a second commitment period (Canada). Asymmetry between states also exists in terms of their 3.3.3. Positive factors vulnerability to climate change, as well as their capacity to respond and adapt to it. Thus, developing countries ‘are While the problem structure of climate change mitigation especially vulnerable to climate change because of their may be complex, for example, characterized by strong geographic exposure, low incomes, and greater reliance on interest asymmetry, the regime design scores well on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture’ (Stern 2007, categories included in the assessment framework. many p. 104). For example, to address interest asymmetry, emphasis With respect to regime design factors influencing within the Kyoto Protocol and UNFCCC is generally implementation, the UNFCCC regime secretariat can be placed on differentiation of rules, based on the principle considered weak; while it has a substantial budget, its of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respec- autonomy is limited as a consequence of the strong asym- tive capabilities’ of states; for example, only Annex 1 metry of interest: ‘most parties do not want a strong and countries committing themselves to greenhouse gas emis- independent climate secretariat, which (…) possibly sions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol. favours the interests of one group of parties over those Furthermore, regime design mechanisms that increase of another’, and may have significant social and economic scientific knowledge generation, synthesis, and dissemina- consequences for the affected countries (Busch 2009,p. tion are likely to increase regime implementation. This is 254). Considering the divergent interests of different par- an area that has received significant amount of attention in ties, the climate secretariat has a difficult task finding a the context of the climate regime, for example, through the middle ground and is limited to being a ‘technocratic establishment of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and bureaucracy’ (Busch 2009, p. 260), and is reluctant to Technological Advice (SBSTA). Furthermore, the bodies develop its own policy proposals (Biermann & of the climate regime consult the scientific advice pro- Siebenhüner 2009, p. 329). vided by the IPCC. With respect to regime environment, the climate change The Kyoto Protocol has a strong compliance mechan- regime is characterized by both positive and negative ism. Article 18 calls on its signatories to define International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 357 ‘appropriate and effective procedures and mechanisms to goods or services, and the development and transfer of determine and to address cases of noncompliance with the low-emission technologies’. provisions of this Protocol, including through the devel- In sum, our assessment indicates that while the opment of an indicative list of consequences, taking into UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol are characterized by a account the cause, type, degree and frequency of noncom- favorable regime design, the problem structure is also far pliance’. In particular, Annex 1 parties must comply with more problematic than in the other cases discussed here. their emission targets and ‘the methodological and report- ing requirements for greenhouse gas inventories’ 3.4. Convention on biological diversity’s protected (UNFCCC 2010, p. 1). These greenhouse gas inventories area policy – likelihood of effective regime are not only a significant part of checking for (non)com- implementation pliance, but are also part of the climate regime’s mechan- ism for regular reporting and implementation review, a This section assesses the likelihood of regime implemen- further issue that is identified as contributing to an tation of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s work increased likelihood of regime implementation in the on protected areas. Thus, while the success of the CBD assessment framework. Greenhouse gas inventories are to regarding the different issues it addresses varies signifi- be compiled using the agreed methodologies developed by cantly, this paper focuses only on CBD work on pro- the IPCC, and in a common format, to ensure compar- tected areas, as this most closely reflects the strategy ability (Yamin & Depledge 2004,p.333–338). evaluated in PBL (2010): expanding protected area cover- The implications of noncompliance involve parties age to 20% of all terrestrial ecoregions (for a review of having to make the missed emissions reductions in the the technical potential of protected areas, see Mora and following commitment period as well as an extra 30%, to Sale (2011)). present a compliance action plan, and its right to take part The CBD encourages contracting parties to ‘establish a in emissions trading is temporarily suspended (UNFCCC system of protected areas or areas where special measures 2010). Such compliance action plans and suspension of need to be taken to conserve biological diversity’ and eligibility for emissions trading also apply to parties fail- ensure adequate management of these protected areas ing to comply with reporting requirements. (Article 8), targets which are elaborated on in several Side-payments also make regime implementation specific CBD programs. The CBD work on protected more likely, and in the Kyoto Protocol they are also areas was reaffirmed in the new Strategic Plan for 2011– intended to address the issue of different capabilities 2020: target 5 calls for at least halving the rate of loss of between states to implement an agreement and adapt to all natural habitats, and where feasible bringing it close to the problem of climate change. Thus, based on their zero, while target 11 supports coverage by protected areas emissions and capacity to cope, the UNFCCC and the for terrestrial inland, coastal, and marine areas by at least Kyoto Protocol ‘mandate financial and technological 17% and 10%, respectively. transfers from Parties with more resources to those less well endowed and more vulnerable’ (Yamin & Depledge 3.4.1. Barriers to implementation 2004, p. 264). The paragraphs of Article 4 in the UNFCCC require the provision of financial resources to The problem structure of issues tackled by the CBD has aid in implementation, reporting, adaptation, and technol- several potentially obstructive characteristics. Thus, estab- ogy transfer, while similar rules also apply under Article lishing protected areas tackles a cumulative problem 11 of the Kyoto Protocol. While neither document speci- that is furthermore also a collaboration problem. As fies the amount of funding to be provided, this is to be mentioned earlier, the regime literature suggests that specified in greater detail in subsequent agreements. cumulative problems may face difficulties in regime for- Overall, side-payments generated through the Clean mation, as well as implementation, since the lack of Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol immediate cross-border implications makes the detection (amounting to 22 billion US$ for climate change mitiga- of noncompliance less likely. The fact that the costs and tion activities in developing countries between 2004 and benefits of the problem and its potential solutions are 2008), have also been compared favorably to the funding unevenly distributed in favor of some actors is what mechanisms of other regimes, such as the CBD (UNEP/ furthermore makes this a collaboration problem CBD/SP/PREP/1: 16). (Underdal 2002, p. 20). With respect to regime environment, in addition to the Some components of regime design are able to con- negative regime interplay mentioned earlier, there is also a tribute to a higher likelihood of implementation, even strong potential for positive interplay with other regimes. where preconditions are problematic due to an unfavor- Thus, depending on how it is implemented, climate change able problem structure. For example, a strong compli- mitigation can have significant positive effects for biodi- ance mechanism can contribute to implementation versity protection. With respect to legal interactions with despite collaboration problems. Collaboration problems the WTO, Zelli and van Asselt (2010, p. 84) have also such as biodiversity loss are difficult to address because identified possible positive interactions, such as ‘the the incentives to cheat are strong for participants, as it is removal of trade barriers in favour of climate-friendly not visible in the short term, while cheating is just as 358 E. Dellas and P. Pattberg beneficial as cooperation in the short term. In such biotechnology and distribution of its benefits). Article 20 cases, a strong compliance mechanism (i.e., one that furthermore emphasizes the financing responsibility of imposes sanctions in cases of noncompliance) is likely developed countries which are obliged to provide devel- to encourage more implementation. However, in the oping countries with adequate financial support to meet CBD, ‘sanctioning power is almost non-existent’ (Le the obligations of the Convention. Furthermore, pursuant Prestre 2004,p.71; Siebenhüner 2009). While compli- to Articles 15 and 19 in particular, the Nagoya Protocol on ance review is possible through national reports Access and Benefit-Sharing emphasizes the fair and equi- (required by CBD Article 26) and National table sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources. Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), Overall, by focusing on far more than a traditional con- which are the key implementation mechanisms of the servation approach, the CBD treaty ensures that ‘environ- CBD and its Strategic Plans (according to Article 6(a) mental and developmental interests were integrated to of the Convention), several parties have not yet adopted meet both the conservation interests of the North and the NBSAPs (Prip et al. 2010, p. 1), and not all have handed development interests of the South’ (Siebenhüner 2009,p. in national reports. 266). Thus, by including side-payments in several articles and subsequent protocols, the likelihood of implementa- tion of the CBD may be increased. However, as was 3.4.2. Ambiguous factors emphasized at COP10, the necessary resource mobiliza- tion has in practice fallen short, with many parties identi- One aspect of the regime design of the CBD that makes fying a lack of resources and economic incentives as key effective compliance mechanisms and sanctions proble- reasons constraining implementation (UNEP/CBD/SP/ matic is the lack of appropriate indicators for some of PREP/1: 15–16). the goals specified in the Strategic Plans. Without suffi- One last aspect of regime design that is ambiguous in ciently precise indicators, it is difficult to adequately the case of the CBD is precision of rules. The CBD is a determine the compliance with some of the targets. framework treaty, thus it is a rather general document that Thus, as has been highlighted recently, ‘the suite of lacks precise targets. The subsequent protocols, decisions, internationally developed biodiversity and ecosystem and recommendations provide more specific information service indicators is limited, and significant gaps exist’, on protected areas. Greater precision also comes in the in particular regarding genetic or ecosystem changes form of strategic plans which provide clear targets and (UNEP/IPBES/3/INF/2: 6–7). timetables. While there is little room for interpretation In cases where compliance mechanisms are weak, regarding these targets, the strategic plans and recent dis- mechanisms for regular reporting and implementation cussions at COP10 highlight the need for more precise review can contribute to effective regime implementation. indicators (UNEP/CBD/SP/PREP/1: 18). Thus, the current With regard to the CBD, some improvements are possible set of indicators measuring progress toward each target is in this area. Key instruments for reporting to the CBD are sufficient to establish broad trends in biodiversity loss. the national reports. However, not all parties to the con- However, as the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 indicates, vention consistently provide these, with national reports the degree of certainty is low or medium (or no indicators having been submitted by less than 150 countries (out of have been established at all) for 6 of the 15 indicators 193 signatories) by 2010 (CBD Secretariat 2010). (CBD Secretariat 2010). Thus, precision of rules in the Specifically for the CBD program of work on protected case of the CBD can be classified as medium. areas, an additional mechanism for reporting and imple- mentation analysis is the gap analysis, which requires countries to assess whether ‘a protected area system 3.4.3. Positive factors meets protection goals set by a nation or region to re- present its biological diversity’ (CBD Secretariat 2007, While the problem structure of establishing protected areas p. 1), and implement the necessary measures to address faces significant barriers, one aspect is mostly favorable, any existing regulatory gaps. Furthermore, recent discus- namely the costs of regulation. While the costs of estab- sions at COP10 indicate an increased interest in possible lishing protected areas can differ significantly depending additional measures for implementation review, such as on the quality, status and effectiveness of the protected ‘voluntary peer review mechanisms’ (UNEP/CBD/SP/ areas and high estimates of the cost of effective protection PREP/1: 16). of only existing protected areas indicate an annual cost of One potentially beneficial aspect of the CBD regime up to nearly 8 billion US$ (James et al. 2001; Bruner et al. design is that it involves the possibility of side-payments. 2004), the overall costs, even with an expansion of pro- In the case of the CBD, side-payments take several forms, tected areas, are significantly lower than regulation costs such as financial assistance and technology transfer. of some of the other strategies that may have positive Specifically, side-payments are included in the CBD implications for biodiversity conservation. For example, under Articles 15 (governing access to genetic resources), the costs of achieving greenhouse gas stabilization at 450 16 (access to and transfer of technologies), 18 (technical ppm have been estimated at 1200 billion US$ annually for and scientific cooperation), and 19 (handling of greenhouse gas reduction (PBL 2009, p. 13). Thus, while International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 359 funding of already existing protected areas in developing enable developing country Parties to meet the agreed full countries is ‘consistently less than what studies estimate to incremental costs to them of implementing measures be adequate’ (Bruner et al. 2004, p. 1121), overall regula- which fulfill the obligations of this Convention’. Article tion costs to ensure that current protected areas are not 20(4) is an even more explicit differentiation of rules as it simply ‘paper parks’ and expand protected areas are far highlights that developing country parties are only obliged more attainable than regulation costs for some other stra- to implement their commitments to the extent that devel- tegies discussed in this paper. Furthermore, a consideration oped country parties implement their obligations to pro- of costs of inaction or, alternatively, benefits of regulation vide financial resources and technology transfer. suggests further incentives for regime implementation. Furthermore, not only are the regime rules differentiated, Thus, protected areas provide significant values not only they are also legally binding, which contributes to effec- through the conservation of biodiversity, but also, for tive regime implementation. example, by supporting local livelihoods (TEEB 2009). Other aspects of CBD regime design are also rather The CBD benefits from actor interests that are consis- favorable to effective regime implementation. For exam- tently favorable to the implementation of protected areas, ple, the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and as it is an issue whose regulation affects few economic Technological Advice (SBSTTA), established by CBD sectors, making coordination among different ministries Article 25, can be seen as a mechanism for scientific less problematic. Furthermore, asymmetry of interest knowledge generation, synthesis, and dissemination, thus between powerful and important states within the issue supporting regime implementation. An ‘important function area is generally low, and therefore participation in the of SBSTTA is thought to be the socialization of delegates CBD is generally rather high. There are currently only four of developing countries and industrialized countries alike countries that are not parties to the convention: the United into the science and norms of the regime’, thus establish- States, Andorra, the Vatican, and South Sudan (several ing consensual scientific knowledge (Le Prestre 2004,p. countries with limited recognition are also not parties). 85). Based on the scientific knowledge it produces and Nonparticipation of the latter three is not significant for reviews, the SBSTTA has made more than 136 recommen- the implementation and expansion of protected areas. dations to the COP. The scientific information provided by However, the fact that the United States has signed, but the bodies of the CBD is furthermore ‘by and large seen as not ratified the treaty could have greater implications, as it scientifically credible and politically neutral’ (Siebenhüner can be considered both a powerful state and an important 2009, p. 270). state within the issue area (due to its vast territory and Additional regime mechanisms for scientific knowl- many different ecoregions). Therefore, continued nonpar- edge generation include the Global Biodiversity Outlook, ticipation by the United States could hamper progress which is a regularly published synthesis of the current toward increasing protected areas by 20% of all ecore- knowledge on biodiversity and biodiversity loss. gions. However, the US nonparticipation is mostly based Furthermore, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy on the fact that the CBD turned out not to be a pure Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services conservation treaty (an idea the United States strongly (IPBES) will be a mechanism similar to the IPCC, and supported and that reflects existing measures in the could contribute significantly by synthesizing the vast United States), but that it also addressed issues of ‘equity available scientific information in the area, as well as and economic development’ (McGraw 2004, p. 11). In this supporting credibility, consensual scientific knowledge, area, the United States already has relatively strong poli- and addressing knowledge gaps by conducting research cies in place, with, for example, 22.8% of its terrestrial and (TEEB 2009). Considering these various mechanisms for marine territory covered by protected areas, exceeding the scientific knowledge generation, this can be considered a CBD-protected area target. strong characteristic supporting regime implementation in Asymmetry of interest with respect to protected areas the case of the CBD. could also arise from the potential social, political, and Lastly, according to our framework, the likelihood of economic implications of establishing protected areas. For regime implementation is also increased by the presence of example, depending on how they are implemented, pro- a strong, autonomous secretariat. In the case of the CBD, it tected areas could lead to the displacement of communities seems that the Convention Secretariat neither has a very and loss of access to land and resources (Agrawal & significant budget, nor is very autonomous, as it remains Redford 2009). However, expansion of protected areas attached to the United Nations Environment Programme does not necessitate deeper lifestyle shifts such as changes (UNEP) (while other treaty secretariats, such as the cli- in production and consumption patterns associated with mate and desertification secretariats, are independent) problems such as climate change. (Siebenhüner 2009, p. 276). The implications of this Some aspects of regime design may also further attachment are that some important budgetary and staffing decrease the negative implications of asymmetry between decisions, for example, are still often made by UNEP, actor interests. In particular, in the case of the CBD, although the secretariat has gradually increased its compe- differentiated rules are included to allow for this. Thus, tences in these areas (Siebenhüner 2009). Despite this, the Article 20(2) places a responsibility on developed coun- CBD secretariat is generally considered to be ‘small but nhüner 2009, p. 265). Indeed, in tries to ‘provide new and additional financial resources to effective’ (Siebe 360 E. Dellas and P. Pattberg comparison to the secretariats of other treaties and inter- while the CBD protected areas program may be the most national organizations such as the climate secretariat, for likely strategy to be implemented in the short term, other example, it stands out as having substantial cognitive and more far reaching strategies for reducing global biodiver- normative influence, by demonstrating its expertise, pro- sity loss may become available in the long term, as pro- viding independent ideas and policy proposals (Biermann blem structures and actor interests change over time. & Siebenhüner 2009, p. 328–333). This paper also provided a first test case for our assess- In sum, our assessment indicates that despite some ment framework. While we acknowledge that the type of factors with an ambiguous or clearly negative effect on analysis that can be done with this framework is limited, regime implementation, overall, the likelihood of success- and it is furthermore not equally suitable for all cases (for ful implementation is high. example, it is less applicable to cases of private-sector regulation, such as the FSC and MSC), we nonetheless believe that future options for reducing biodiversity loss 4. Conclusions should be assessed for their political feasibility and poten- Reducing and eventually halting biodiversity loss is one of tial implementation. We also acknowledge that the frame- the key challenges of environmental governance in the work currently lacks precise indicators for some of the decades to come. Innovative policy options are urgently variables, thus comparison of, e.g., regulation costs is relative to the cases studied, rather than based on a con- needed. However, while a range of strategies exist that have the technical potential to substantially reduce biodi- sistent measurement scale of high, medium, and low reg- versity loss, few of these options are also politically fea- ulation costs. Nonetheless, the framework provides a sible. For a number of promising strategies, such as global useful starting point for comparing the political feasibility dietary change, the prospects of cooperating at the inter- of different policy options to reduce biodiversity loss. national level are dim. Other potentially effective strate- While the ambition level is too low both at the interna- gies for reducing biodiversity loss – such as climate tional and transnational level, this study clearly demon- change mitigation, expanding protected areas, and increas- strates that well-crafted institutions matter. Improving them ing sustainable forestry and fishing practices – could be therefore becomes a key challenge for everyone concerned pursued through already existing international and trans- about the current state of biodiversity governance. national environmental regimes. This paper has analyzed the potential of these existing institutions (CBD, UNFCCCC, FSC, and MSC) to contribute to reducing Acknowledgments biodiversity loss. We would like to thank our colleagues Jesper Berséus, Frank Our analysis has indicated that effectively implement- Biermann, Sofia Frantzi, Henk Hilderink, Peter Janssen, Marcel Kok, Arthur Petersen, and Martine de Vos for their valuable ing a strategy on increasing protected areas through the comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Financial support by CBD is the most feasible option, while substantial barriers the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in the con- to implementation remain in the case of the climate change text of the project ‘Modelling Governance and Institutions for regime and its biodiversity implications. Pursuing a reduc- Global Sustainability Politics’ (ModelGIGS) is gratefully tion of biodiversity loss by focusing on sustainable for- acknowledged. estry and fishing practices is also feasible, but in these cases, fewer positive factors could be identified. The finding that the CBD protected area policy is the Notes most likely to be implemented successfully is hardly sur- 1. Following recent scholarship in the field of global environ- prising, considering that it is the only instrument explicitly mental governance, we assume that there is no qualitative targeting biodiversity concerns. However, it suggests that, difference between inter-governmental and non-state regimes. despite discussions whether protected areas are an appro- 2. The framework is structured along the common differentia- priate instrument for biodiversity conservation and protec- tion between the regime formation and regime implementa- tion (e.g., Agrawal & Redford 2009), this may still be the tion phase (Underdal 2002, p. 6). For this analysis, we only best instrument currently available. We may need better focus on regime implementation, assuming that an institu- tional framework already exists. and carefully managed protected areas to avoid undesir- 3. Note that this specific category does not apply to non-state able side effects. Nonetheless, our analysis suggests that in transnational regimes such as the FSC and MSC discussed the short term, it may be best to focus on this instrument. further below. It is also worth noting that the ambiguous factors and barriers to implementation identified in all four cases are not necessarily static; In some cases, it is possible to List of acronyms: CBD – Convention on Biological Diversity modify the context variables and thus further increase the CDM – Clean Development Mechanism COP – Conference likelihood of regime formation or implementation. For of the Parties FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the example, in cases where the responsibility for a problem United Nations FSC – Forest Stewardship Council GDP – is distributed unequally among actors (or their capabilities Gross Domestic Product GHG – Greenhouse Gas GATT – to address the problem effectively), differentiation of rules General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade IPBES – can contribute to addressing such impediments. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Dec 1, 2013
Keywords: biodiversity loss; policy effectiveness; climate change; sustainable forest management; sustainable fisheries; protected areas
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