2 May 2023
Brown Bag Seminar, 12:15, Anna Nussbaum Auditorium, World Trade Institute, Hallerstrasse 6, Bern, Switzerland

Brown Bag Seminar: "Using Trade Provisions to Make MEAs more Dynamic"

Noémie Laurens, from the Geneva Graduate Institute, visits the WTI to present her latest research on multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).


Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) can be static or dynamic. Static MEAs remain inert despite political and biogeophysical changes. By contrast, dynamic MEAs generate new commitments, either by adopting additional rules or attracting new parties. This paper asks what are the design features that increase an MEA’s institutional dynamism? In other words, what seeds should be planted when an MEA is first negotiated so it can grow in depth and membership over time?

We argue that trade provisions can contribute to making MEAs more dynamic. First, MEA trade provisions may alter the capacity of businesses to influence domestic policymaking, which may lead states to strengthen their international commitments. Second, businesses in non-party states may feel at an economic disadvantage and, in turn, pressure their government to join the MEA.

Relying on a dataset of trade provisions included in 654 MEAs, we find that provisions that restrict economic activities are associated with higher numbers of amendments and accessions. This finding is important to defuse the so-called effectiveness dilemma of MEAs and to design more adaptive MEAs, particularly at a time when there is increasing enthusiasm for using trade measures to set up international climate clubs.

Speaker's biography

Noémie Laurens is a postdoctoral researcher in international relations at the Geneva Graduate Institute. She holds a PhD in political science from Laval University (2022), a Master’s degree in environmental economics from Université de Bordeaux (2016), and a Master’s in management from HEC Paris (2015). Her mixed-method doctoral thesis deals with when, why, and how international environmental agreements evolve over time.

Between 2017 and 2022, she was a research assistant at the Canada research chair in international political economy, where she built and updated large databases of trade and environmental treaties. She has published her research in high-quality journals, including International Environmental Agreements, the World Trade Review, Climate Policy, Global Environmental Politics, and International Studies Quarterly. One of her dissertation articles has won the 2022 Oran R. Young Prize awarded by the Earth System Governance Project.

 We strongly encourage you to attend this event on-site. In case you cannot be present in person, you can use the following Zoom link to tune in virtually: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcoc-2tqTkqEtZG7fKd7m7cpEnri1rTMw1-  

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