Global Governance of Hazardous Chemicals

From Politics, Science, and the Environment

Global Governance of Hazardous Chemicals

Challenges of Multilevel Management

By Henrik Selin

An analysis of the regime for the management of hazardous chemicals, highlighting the insights it provides for effective multilevel governance in other areas.





An analysis of the regime for the management of hazardous chemicals, highlighting the insights it provides for effective multilevel governance in other areas.

The challenges posed by managing hazardous chemicals cross boundaries, jurisdictions, and constituencies. Since the 1960s, a chemicals regime—a multitude of formally independent but functionally related treaties and programs—has been in continuous development, as states and organizations collaborate at different governance levels to mitigate the health and environmental problems caused by hazardous chemicals. In this book, Henrik Selin analyzes the development, implementation, and future of the chemicals regime, a critical but understudied area of global governance, and proposes that the issues raised have significant implications for effective multilevel governance in many other areas. Selin focuses his analysis on three themes: coalition building in support of policy change; the diffusion of regime components across policy venues; and the influence of institutional linkages on the design and effectiveness of multilevel governance efforts. He provides in-depth empirical studies of the four multilateral treaties that form the core of the chemicals regime: the Basel Convention (1989), which regulates the transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous wastes; the Rotterdam Convention (1998), which governs the international trade in chemicals; the CLRTAP POPs Protocol (1998), designed to reduce the release and transnational transport of emissions of persistent organic pollutants; and the Stockholm Convention (2001), which targets the production, use, trade, and disposal of persistent organic pollutants. The interactions of participants and institutions within and across different levels of governance have implications for policy making and management that are not yet fully understood. Selin's analysis of these linkages in the chemicals regime offers valuable theoretical and policy-relevant insights into the growing institutional density in global governance.


$44.00 X ISBN: 9780262013956 248 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262513906 248 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • A uniquely comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the global chemicals regime…Excellent background information for scholars of environmental governance, as well as for policy makers, participants, and stakeholders in the chemicals negotiations.

    Jessica Templeton

    Review of Policy Research

  • This well-written book tackles a very important, yet often neglected, aspect of modern environmental conservation concerns.

    Jolocam Mbabazi

    Environmental Studies

  • Selin's book presents one of the most comprehensive examinations to date of the chemicals regime. Its elaborate history of this regime, as well as its clearly structured case studies, will make this work an oft-consulted reference for those active in the chemicals realm (as scholars or practitioners). It also presents a useful starting point for anyone looking to find out more about the international governance of hazardous chemicals.

    Pia M. Kohler

    Global Environmental Politics

  • Sometimes a concise, compact book can make its points more convincingly than one packed with details. That is the case here…This lucid, compelling presentation demonstrates that the time to establish a global chemical management regime is overdue.


  • The research that went into producing these case histories is truly impressive—this book is essential reading for scholars and practitioners working in the area of hazardous chemicals management.

    Megan Mullin

    Perspectives on Politics


  • Global Governance of Hazardous Chemicals provides an illuminating account of the evolution of the global chemicals management regime. Selin's analysis of the agreements that make up this regime provides important insights into the role of coalitions and institutional linkages in the complex and multi-scale governance efforts aimed at improving chemical safety. Highlighting an issue that to date has received less attention that it deserves, this book will be an invaluable resource for scholars and practitioners in the field of global environmental governance.

    Jennifer Clapp

    CIGI Chair in International Governance and Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo, coauthor of Paths to a Green World

  • Taking examples from the policy area of international environmental protection, this book argues that throught the institutionalization of international cooperation, in the form of international regimes, we have reached the stage of global governance. In a mixture of empirical examples and theoretical reflections, the authors...exemplify the concept in various issue areas. Particular emphasis is given to the role of the emerging global civil society... The book is accessible for students of international politics, particularly students of international environmental policy and of international processes of institutionalization, from the undergraduate level to the level of research.

    Martin List

    Professor of International Politics, FernUniversitaet Hagen

  • This rich book helps us see global governance in context - as embedded in a transnational civic society and networks of institutional linkages. those of us who study governance mainly in terms of institutional 'mechanics' may have to ask for a time-out to digest fully the profound implications of this message.

    Arild Underdal

    University of Oslo

  • This wonderfully insightful book analyzes the emerging system of global governance for environmental management and probes the implications of this system for international relations practice and theory. The authors vividly portray how humankind's efforts to treat environmental issues have led to increasingly complex interactions among international institutions, international and national non-governmental organizations, and states. They use their empirical findings to enrich regime theory and to pose fundamental questions about the evolution of the global political system. They make a vital contribution to understanding both environmental policy and international relations.

    Harold K. Jacobson

    Jesse Siddal Reeves Professor of Political Science and Senior Research Scientist, University of Michigan


  • Runner-up, 2011 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award given by the International Studies Association