Skip navigation

Sebastian Oberthür

Sebastian Oberthür is Academic Director of the Institute for European Studies at Free University Brussels and the coeditor (with Thomas Gehring) of Institutional Interaction in Global Environmental Governance: Synergy and Conflict among International and EU Policies (MIT Press, 2006)

Titles by This Editor

Regime Interplay and Global Environmental Change

Institutional interaction and complexity are crucial to environmental governance and are quickly becoming dominant themes in the international relations and environmental politics literatures. This book examines international institutional interplay and its consequences, focusing on two important issues: how states and other actors can manage institutional interaction to improve synergy and avoid disruption; and what forces drive the emergence and evolution of institutional complexes, sets of institutions that cogovern particular issue areas.
The book, a product of the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change research project (IDGEC), offers both theoretical and empirical perspectives. Chapters range from analytical overviews to case studies of institutional interaction, interplay management, and regime complexes in areas including climate change, fisheries management, and conservation of biodiversity. Contributors discuss such issues as the complicated management of fragmented multilateral institutions addressing climate change; the possible “chilling effect” on environmental standards from existing commitments; governance niches in Arctic resource protection; the relationships among treaties on conservation and use of plant genetic resources; causal factors in cross-case variation of regime prevalence; and the difficult relationship between the World Trade Organization and multilateral environmental agreements. The book offers a broad overview of research on interplay management and institutional complexes that provides important insights across the field of global environmental governance.

Synergy and Conflict among International and EU Policies

This systematic investigation of the interaction among international and European institutions provides both a theoretical framework for analysis and the first broad overview of this largely uncharted field of research. By offering detailed case studies and a systematic analysis of results, the book examines the effects of institutional interaction on environmental governance and explores the ways in which international and European Union policies can either reinforce or undercut one another.After a conceptual overview in which Oberthür and Gehring identify three causal mechanisms by which institutional interaction can affect environmental governance, ten case studies apply this theoretical approach. Six cases use an international institution as their starting point and four begin with a European Union legal instrument. The international regimes examined include the widely known Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and World Trade Organization and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The EU instruments analyzed include lesser-known directives on the protection of habitats, the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms into the environment, and air quality. The studies show that although conflict and interference among different regimes and institutions do take place, synergistic interactions are common. The findings on the importance of, and mechanisms behind, these outcomes offer valuable insights for both scholars and policymakers.Contributors:Beatrice Chaytor, Clare Coffey, Andrew Farmer, Thomas Gehring, John Lanchbery, Sebastian Oberthür, Alice Palmer, G. Kristin Rosendal, Jon Birger Skjærseth, Olav Schram Stokke, Ingmar von Homeyer, Jacob Werksman, Jørgen Wettestad