The EU in contemporary global environmental governance


Promoteur : Tom Delreux
Chercheuse : Frauke Ohler
Financement : FNRS aspirance

This project studies the role of the European Union (EU) in contemporary global environmental politics through an innovative combination of an outside-in mapping with an inside-out explanation of that role. Three dimensions of the EU’s role are examined : its environmental ambition, leadership and diplomacy. The project is innovative because of a twofold reason. First, counterbalancing the literature’s dominant focus on climate change, it focuses on the EU’s role in three less politicized, yet important, international environmental treaty regimes. Those regimes are the regime of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the regime of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, and the chemicals regime. Second, the project evaluates the EU’s role via an original outside-in mapping, based on non-EU centric evaluations by observers of the EU’s role. Variation in the role of the EU in the three environmental treaty regimes in the period 2010-2018, both over time and between the treaty regimes, are then explained through structured, focused comparisons based on an inside-out approach. Original empirical data are collected through several techniques. First, interviews and online surveys will be conducted with non-EU observers who have witnessed the EU’s role in the environmental treaty regimes : officials working at the secretariats of the international treaty regimes and Earth Negotiation Bulletin reporters. Second, data to explain variation in the EU’s role is gathered through semi-structured interviews with closely involved EU policy-makers, and through the analysis of official documents (from the EU and the secretariats) and specialized press reports on internal EU decision-making. The project will thereby contribute to a more fine-tuned understanding of the EU as international actor and to improved knowledge about the process and outcomes of international environmental cooperation.