- Das System der Erfüllungskontrolle des Kyoto-Protokolls: eine Bestandsaufnahme nach sechs Jahren Praxis
- Archiv des Völkerrechts
- Volume | Issue number
- 50 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- ACELS (FdR)
This article aims to demonstrate that the Kyoto Protocol’s compliance system and the experience gained from its operation since 2006 constitute a landmark in international climate policy and global environmental governance more broadly. The compliance system forms an integral part of the governance system of the Protocol and provides for an unprecedented administrative review, by an independent international body, of state action to implement the Protocol. It is unique for multilateral environmental agreements, especially because of its objective to enforce compliance as well as to facilitate and promote compliance.
We develop our argument by focusing on the main elements of the compliance system and its functioning. Accordingly, the article first addresses the rules and practice regarding the institutional setup of the Compliance Committee of the Kyoto Protocol, including an Enforcement Branch and a Facilitative Branch. This is followed by an analysis of the general procedures of the Committee, as well as the specific procedures applicable to its Enforcement Branch, and the ‘consequences’ to be applied to resolve compliance problems. The article concludes with an overall assessment of the operation of the compliance system until the middle of 2012.
With more than six years of practical operation behind it since 2006, the Kyoto Protocol’s compliance system has further matured and proved that an independent international review of state action can be efficacious in promoting compliance with a multilateral environmental agreement. Having addressed eight cases, the Enforcement Branch of the Compliance Committee of the Kyoto Protocol has proved its ability to effectively address and resolve cases of non-compliance within the framework of the applicable rules. Beyond its role in ensuring compliance with the Protocol’s emission targets, it is an essential component in securing the accurate ‘measurement, reporting, and verification’ of greenhouse gas emissions under the Protocol and the effective functioning of its carbon-market mechanisms. The major gap and weakness in the operation of the compliance system can be seen in the lack of mobilization of the Facilitative Branch. Nevertheless, the operation of the compliance system to date provides evidence that its overall design and its individual elements establish an important benchmark for future climate and environmental governance.
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