GoJIL Vol. 1, No. 3 (2009)
Framework Conventions as a Regulatory Tool
The adoption of framework conventions is a relatively recent phenomenon in international law and has mainly been employed in the field of international environmental law. According to the so-called “framework convention and protocol approach” parties agree on a more general treaty, the framework convention, and more detailed protocols to fill out the room left for specific regulations. While there are no legal definition and fixed models for framework conventions, they have certain characteristics in common. Namely the formulation of the objectives of the regime, the establishment of broad commitments for its parties and a general system of governance are assigned to the framework, while more detailed rules and the setting of specific targets are left to either parallel or subsequent agreements between the parties. This regulatory technique has certain benefits compared to single “piecemeal” treaties in international law. Yet, framework conventions and protocols are subject to the law of treaties and relevant practice and thus not per se easier to negotiate or more flexible than other agreements.
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