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Post-Treaty Politics

Post-Treaty Politics: Secretariat Influence in Global Environmental Governance

Sikina Jinnah
foreword by Oran R. Young
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  • Book Info
    Post-Treaty Politics
    Book Description:

    Secretariats -- the administrative arms of international treaties -- -would seem simply to do the bidding of member states. And yet, Sikina Jinnah argues inPost-Treaty Politics, secretariats can play an important role in world politics. On paper, secretariats collect information, communicate with state actors, and coordinate diplomatic activity. In practice, they do much more. As Jinnah shows, they can influence the allocation of resources, structures of interstate cooperation, and the power relationships between states.Jinnah examines secretariat influence through the lens of overlap management in environmental governance -- how secretariats help to manage the dense interplay of issues, rules, and norms between international treaty regimes. Through four case studies, she shows that secretariats can draw on their unique networks and expertise to handle the challenges of overlap management, emerging as political actors in their own right. After presenting a theory and analytical framework for analyzing secretariat influence, Jinnah examines secretariat influence on overlap management within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), two cases of overlap management in the World Trade Organization, as well as a case in which the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) secretariat failed to influence political outcomes despite its efforts to manage overlap. Jinnah argues that, even when modest, secretariat influence matters because it can establish a path-dependent dynamic that continues to guide state behavior even after secretariat influence has waned.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-32535-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Frank Biermann and Oran R. Young

    Humans now influence all biological and physical systems of the planet. Almost no species, land area, or part of the oceans has remained unaffected by the expansion of the human species. Recent scientific findings suggest that the entire earth system now operates outside the normal state exhibited over at least the past 500,000 years. Yet at the same time, it is apparent that the institutions, organizations, and mechanisms by which humans govern their relationship with the natural environment and global biogeochemical systems are utterly insufficient—and poorly understood. More fundamental and applied research is needed.

    Such research is no easy...

  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Oran R. Young

    Students of domestic politics have lavished attention on matters of public administration since the nineteenth century. Research on the role of administrative agencies emerged as a coherent field of study even before the advent of modern political science. During the last forty to fifty years, those interested in such matters have added a concern for bureaucratic politics or the political interactions that take place within and between public agencies. By contrast, studies of public administration at the international level are few and far between. There are a few studies of the secretariats of the League of Nations and the United...

  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. 1 Introduction: Secretariats as Overlap Managers
    (pp. 1-20)

    From the outside of an organization, office secretaries are nearly invisible. Simply doing the bidding of their bosses, they take instructions, write up memos, and make appointments for a controlling principal. They have no obvious source of power and are on the receiving end of authority. They appear to play, in other words, a derivative or secondary role. To understand how decision making unfolds within a professional office, many would simply bypass the secretary and go straight to the source of command. Viewed from the inside, however, this is nonsense. Anyone who has ever worked in a professional office knows...

  8. 2 Secretariats in Theory and Practice
    (pp. 21-40)

    A secretariat is most simply an international bureaucracy. It is the administrative structure that enables an organization, such as the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), or the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to operate. Yet secretariats are typically discounted as political actors in their own right.² Due to their administrative role, secretariats are assumed to be functionaries of their member states, with little (if any) decision-making authority. Indeed, they often perform mundane tasks such as organizing meetings, distributing documents, and maintaining websites—tasks that have little substantive impact on governance outcomes. Although these administrative tasks...

  9. 3 The Analytics of Influence
    (pp. 41-66)

    This chapter lays out the theoretical underpinnings and analytical framework deployed in this study to understand secretariat influence. The first half of the chapter explains how the core theoretical concepts of power, authority, and influence are understood and deployed in this book. It presents a new theory of secretariat influence that builds on emerging understandings of power in global governance. The second half of the chapter presents a theoretically derived analytical framework for understanding when secretariats are most likely to influence overlap management politics. That analytical framework is applied to the empirical cases that follow in chapters 4 to 7....

  10. 4 Origins of Overlap Management in the Biodiversity Regime Complex
    (pp. 67-92)

    Biodiversity loss is an intractable global environmental problem. Despite some of the oldest international regimes, widespread nongovernmental organization (NGO) activity, and a plethora of national-level institutions to address species and habitat loss, biodiversity loss continues to accelerate at an alarming rate. Current extinction rates are estimated to be 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the background extinction rate derived from the fossil record (Singh 2002, 646), with 27,000 species lost per year in tropical forests alone (Myers 1993, 74). Scientists estimate that if current extinction rates continue, we will lose 50 percent or more of all species by the end...

  11. 5 Marketing the Climate-Biodiversity Interface
    (pp. 93-120)

    Scientists have long discussed the current and projected impacts of climate change on the decline and loss of species due to increasing stressors on ecological systems (Parry et al. 2007). While this causal relationship between climate change and biodiversity loss is the dominant discursive frame of biodiversity-climate overlap in the scientific literature, political actors seeking to jump on the “climate change bandwagon” have adeptly and creatively diversified the ways overlap between these issues is framed to strategically shape governance of the intersection between these two issues (Jinnah 2011b).

    This chapter examines how the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity...

  12. 6 Trade-Environment Politics at the WTO
    (pp. 121-146)

    Overlap between trade and environmental issues hinges on the fact that trade liberalization contributes to environmental degradation.¹ More trade means more development and more consumption and, as a result, more resource use and more waste. Managing overlap is politically difficult because both environmental protection and economic development are laudable normative objectives, yet their relationship is colored by this underlying empirical tension. Further compounding this difficulty are the diverging policy approaches we have chosen to manage issues of trade and environmental protection across institutions (i.e., sanctions vs. environmental incentives) and the urgency demanded in both arenas. For example, over 1 billion...

  13. 7 The Limits of Secretariat Influence: CITES and the Protection of Commercially Exploited Aquatic Species
    (pp. 147-178)

    This final case examines how the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Secretariat managed overlap with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). CITES and FAO overlap in their work surrounding governance of marine and freshwater species that have commercial value, or as they are commonly referred to by both organizations, “commercially exploited aquatic species.” Whereas CITES aims to protect aquatic species that are threatened due to international trade, FAO is primarily interested in developing fishing industries to support economic development. At their core, therefore, FAO’s mission is anthropocentric, whereas CITES is primarily concerned with conservation of the...

  14. 8 Conclusions
    (pp. 179-196)

    Secretariats are more than administrative lackeys; they shape global governance in important ways. This book argues that in the messy world of overlapping regimes, secretariats emerge not simply as state functionaries or appendages, but as actors in their own right. Fundamentally, the book shows that secretariats influence politics by changing power relations between states. Although secretariats may not enjoy the coercive strength to dictate their will against state preferences, they can influence political outcomes in ways that reflect constitutive forms of power. The book illustrates how secretariats can shape power relations between states by designing rules and institutions (institutional power),...

  15. Appendix A: Case-Specific Methods
    (pp. 197-200)
  16. Appendix B: Details of Coding Procedure Used in Chapter 5
    (pp. 201-204)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 205-212)
  18. References
    (pp. 213-234)
  19. Index
    (pp. 235-246)