International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics

, 9:371

Interplay management: enhancing environmental policy integration among international institutions

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10784-009-9109-7

Cite this article as:
Oberthür, S. Int Environ Agreements (2009) 9: 371. doi:10.1007/s10784-009-9109-7


This article investigates how and to what extent the current management of inter-institutional relationships within International Environmental Governance (‘interplay management’) contributes to Environmental Policy Integration (EPI), and identifies options for enhancing EPI among international institutions. To this end, it first develops a framework for the systematic analysis and assessment of interplay management as a means for achieving ‘strong’ EPI, distinguishing four levels and two principal modes of management. On this basis, the article assesses the current contribution of International Environmental Governance to advancing EPI as regards three categories of institutional interaction. The analysis demonstrates the need to fit interplay management to the particular governance conditions of varying interaction situations and highlights the lack of systematic and consistent support for EPI among international institutions. Options to improve this situation include in particular promoting inter-institutional learning and assistance for the benefit of environmental institutions as well as ensuring consideration of and respect for environmental requirements. Adapting the statutes and mandates of individual institutions and developing suitable guidance under general international (environmental) law have the highest potential for implementing these options. In contrast, joint management initiatives and a strengthened international environmental organisation have a much more limited, supplementary potential.


Environmental Policy IntegrationInternational Environmental GovernanceInstitutional interactionInstitutional interplayInternational environmental policyInternational institutionsInterplay managementMultilateral Environmental Agreements



Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora


Environmental Policy Integration


International Environmental Governance


Multilateral Environmental Agreement


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development


United Nations Environment Programme


World Customs Organisation


World Environment Organisation


World Trade Organisation

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for European StudiesVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium