African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 382

Full Length Research Paper

The influence of Treaty Design on the participation of Developing and Developed Nations in International Environmental Agreements (IEAs)

Chenaz B. Seelarbokus
  • Chenaz B. Seelarbokus
  • Department of Political Science and International Affairs, Kennesaw State University, 1000 Chastain Road, MD 2205, SO Bldg 22, Room 5067, Kennesaw, GA 30144-5591, U.S.A.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 12 March 2014
  •  Accepted: 03 September 2014
  •  Published: 30 November 2014


It is an observed fact that developing and developed countries participate in International Environmental Agreements (IEAs) to different levels. Do IEA provisions exert differential levels of influence on the participation of developing and developed countries? This paper relies on multivariate regression analysis to examine the relationship between key IEA provisions and the participation of developing and developed countries in thirty-one global IEAs. The texts of the selected IEAs are analyzed and coded for the presence (or absence) of key provisions pertaining to, inter alia, strength, flexibility, transparency, and participation incentives such as financial and technology transfers. Results of the analysis show that strong binding provisions within IEAs tend to detract both the developing and developed countries from participation. On the other hand, provisions supporting greater flexibility (e.g. clauses promoting dispute resolution through negotiations first) or greater transparency (e.g. through NGO observership or reporting requirements) seem to be attractive to both developing and developed countries. These findings suggest that effective international environmental cooperation cannot be compelled; rather, it needs to be made attractive through the right mix between enforcement mechanisms and flexibility clauses, as well as through appealing participation incentives.

Key words: Treaty design, international environmental agreements, environmental regimes, participation, international environmental cooperation.