The interaction between bilateral and multilateral action is evolving in the context of ‘global environmental law’ – a concept that is emerging from the promotion of environmental protection as a global public good through a plurality of legal mechanisms relying on a plurality of legal orders. The notion of global public goods can thus help one better to understand recent bilateral initiatives aimed at supporting the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements and the decisions of their compliance mechanisms. Innovative linkages between the compliance system under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and bilateral trade agreements recently concluded by the European Union and the US provide an example. Innovative opportunities for bilateral initiatives supporting the implementation of the 2010 Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing are likely to lead to even more complex inter-relationships between different legal orders. This new approach to bilateralism that aims to support the interests of the international community can be assessed in the context of earlier debates on unilateralism, with a view to emphasizing the role of international law in the identification and delivery of global public goods, and the role of global environmental law in understanding the interactions among a plurality of legal orders.
- bilateral trade agreements
- endangered species