The Time Dimension in International Regime Interplay

Global Environmental Politics, Vol 2, No 3, 2002, pp. 98-117.

Interplay between different international agreements is a novel field of study in regime theory. However, the importance of understanding this interplay is increasing,due to the rising number of international agreements With overlapping functional scopes. While analyzing the interplay between different international agreements pertaining to the management of plant genetic diversity in agriculture I found that different development stages of overlapping international agreements were important in explaining how the regimes affected each other. Of the Three international agreements I investigated, one was under implementation, the second was partly under implementation, and the third was under negotiation up to November 2001, when it was adopted. Not surprisingly, it appeared that the regimes under implementation influenced the regime under formation. Moreover, and quite surprisingly, it also turned out that the regime under formation developed a potential to modify the effects of a regime under implementation, despite its weaker enforcement mechanisms. However, the negotiation of that agreement was delayed due to particular formulations in the two other agreements. The emerging picture of how these three agreements influenced eachother was puzzling. It was while seeking to piece together this Puzzle that Three propositions took form on how different Development stages of international agreements may affect their interplay. In this article, I present these propositions on regime interplay and discuss the irrelevance in the case of overlapping regimes pertaining to the management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.



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