Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

7. International Law

David P Fidler


The ‘Inverse Triangle Effect’

The inverse triangle effect also appears in specific areas of international law, such as international environmental law, where framework conventions establishing a procedural approach to a problem gain wide adherence but protocols to the conventions imposing very specific obligations do not attract as many state adherents. The layering of the international legal regime as designed by the framework-protocol strategy does not, therefore, necessarily achieve its objective.

The 'sovereignty problem' is also apparent in international legal regimes that contain institutional, procedural, substantive, and enforcement elements. For example, the IHR contain all four elements, but the WHO member states have historically ignored the procedural and substantive duties as well as the enforcement mechanism. The unwillingness of states to comply with the IHR illustrates the vulnerability of international legal regimes on GPGH to the expedient preferences of sovereign states.

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