Document Type


Publication Date



Negotiators of multilateral environmental agreements are frequently faced with the challenge of striking the right balance between stringency of commitment and breadth of participation. A perfect agreement on paper, with strong commitments and a robust compliance mechanism, might attract too few Parties (or too few key Parties) to achieve the agreement’s environmental objective. Conversely, broad participation in a weak agreement might also fail to accomplish the agreement’s goals.

This paper focuses on the various ways in which negotiators have worked to encourage participation in multilateral environmental agreements. In some cases, they involve steps taken before and during the negotiation of the agreement. In other cases, they involve the provisions of the agreements themselves (such as various forms of flexibility, incentives to join, and disincentives to remaining outside) or decisions taken by Parties after agreements have entered into force.


Environmental Law | Law