International Environmental “soft law”

The Functions and Limits of Nonbinding Instruments in International Environmental Governance and Law

  • Jürgen Friedrich

Part of the Beiträge zum ausländischen öffentlichen Recht und Völkerrecht book series (BEITRÄGE, volume 247)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XXI
  2. Jürgen Friedrich
    Pages 1-14
  3. Jürgen Friedrich
    Pages 373-441
  4. Jürgen Friedrich
    Pages 443-455
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 457-505

About this book


In international negotiations, the question of the design and the legal form of the negotiated instrument is as complex as it is often controversial. Intended as a read for both practitioners and academics, this book provides a comprehensive treatise of the characteristics, the potential and the limits of nonbinding instruments in international environmental law and governance. An extensive overview and typology of nonbinding instruments as well as several case studies from the areas of fisheries (FAO), hazardous substances (UNEP/FAO) and corporate social responsibility (OECD) provide the material for an in-depth analysis of the role of nonbinding instruments on all levels of governance. The book demonstrates the potential but also highlights the limits of nonbinding instruments in the interplay with customary and treaty law (e.g. UNCLOS, WTO) as bases for interinstitutional linkages and as tools to shape the behaviour of states and private actors. Legitimacy challenges arising from this form of exercise of authority are then discussed in the final chapter, alongside with remedies to address possible concerns.


Compliance Environmental governance International environmental law Legally nonbinding instruments Legitimacy Non-legally binding instruments Nonbinding "soft law" Sustainable development Treaty law

Authors and affiliations

  • Jürgen Friedrich
    • 1
  1. 1.DüsseldorfGermany

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