MEA Compliance Procedures: Overview of Key Design and Implementation Issues

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Multilateral Environmental Agreements, MEAs, Non-Compliance Procedures, Compliance, Compliance Systems, Compliance Theory


Non-compliance procedures under multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) have emerged over the past few decades as they have in other areas of international law. This paper provides an overview of the underlying compliance theories for facilitative and enforcement based compliance approaches, highlights experiences under selected MEAs, and identifies key compliance system design issues. This paper first offers a high-level overview of the key features of a selection of MEA compliance systems. It then considers the role of non-compliance procedures in MEAs and the underlying theoretical foundation for facilitative and enforcement-based compliance systems. The roles and interconnections among the primary rule system, the compliance information system, and then non-compliance response system are discussed. This is followed with an exploration of the key design elements (from scope and triggers to consequences), which are then explored further using compliance systems under the UN climate regime as a case study.