Making treaties work: the role of strategy, management, and operations in supporting effective multilateral treaty contributions to sustainable development

McInerney, Thomas F (2022) Making treaties work: the role of strategy, management, and operations in supporting effective multilateral treaty contributions to sustainable development. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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To address global sustainability challenges and humanitarian concerns, over the past 75 years states have developed hundreds of multilateral treaties. From climate change to human rights, these legal agreements have been ratified by large majorities of states. Given the perilous state of the planet and much of the global population, it is difficult to disagree with critics that existing treaty regimes have not delivered positive development results. Despite these assessments, innovations have been introduced in treaty practice that show potential for improving both global governance and development. This thesis examines these new approaches, which includes strategic management and the use of technology, by employing legal analysis, process tracing, and action research. The thesis is based on 14 published works of which eight are chapters in a monograph Strategic Treaty Management: Practice and Implications (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

The research makes three major contributions to knowledge. First, it provides an original detailed comparative analysis of treaty practice across multiple sectors and functional areas. The sectors include the environment (biodiversity, chemicals and wastes, climate change, fisheries), human rights, arms control, labour, and health. The functional areas include strategic planning at international and national levels, finance, synergies, science and technology, and performance management. Second, it identifies drivers of institutional change that these new practices have enabled or fueled. Third, it develops an interdisciplinary approach to research including international law, development studies, regulatory theory, and strategic management, which is used to develop guidance on good practices and can support future research.

Key findings are that the use of these new techniques of strategic management and technology have introduced greater flexibility, improved monitoring and performance management, enabled synergies across institutions and treaty regimes, and catalyzed diverse communities to advance treaty activities and shape agendas. Together these activities reflect complex adaptive system dynamics, which belie the assumptions of linearity on which the practices are ostensibly based. Notwithstanding these tentative positive assessments, careful consideration must be given to development and governance challenges including approaches to participation and engagement of diverse communities, the privileging of technical over other forms of knowledge, asymmetries in states’ contributions to the work of treaty bodies, and continued weak results from existing treaty regimes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: PhD by publication
Schools and Departments: Institute of Development Studies
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ1305 Scope of international relations. Political theory. Diplomacy
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2023 12:10
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2023 12:10

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