Police Patrols & Fire Alarms in the Naaec
26 Pages Posted: 12 May 2005
A common critique of international agreements is that they lack enforcement and are weak. A key element of this purported weakness is the lack of effective monitoring of state compliance. This Article explores two modes of treaty monitoring: "police patrols" and "fire alarms." These concepts, drawn from the literature on congressional oversight in political science, are applied to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a side agreement to NAFTA. The Agreement is unusual in that it empowers private actors to bring direct complaints about noncompliance to an international organization, i.e., it creates a fire alarm for citizens and NGOs. The implications of this structure of treaty monitoring are analyzed, as are the reasons behind the creation of this treaty feature.
Keywords: North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, environmental law enforcement, treaty monitoring
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