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In response to the emergence of sustainable development as the dominant environmental and economic paradigm, a number of mechanisms have been developed to assist in the implementation of these principles. Examples of these "super" instruments abound--market measures, eco-covenants, joint implementation and voluntary compliance. Appreciably less enthusiasm has been dedicated to capacity building for other more traditional tools prescribed by international laws. Counted among the disregarded tools is the widely maligned and misunderstood role of enforcement. This thesis argues that the potential for effecting innovative reforms may be significantly threatened by an underlying misunderstanding and failed appreciation of the critical role that enforcement can and must play in achieving sustainable development. Without a better understanding of the potential contribution of enforcement and the minimum framework necessary to ensure compliance, it will be difficult to fully comprehend the underlying barriers to implementing sustainable development. A lack of political will coupled with an under-commitment of resources, will inevitably result in failed capacity to achieve any measurable results.