Governing the Environment without CoPs – The Case of Water

International Community Law Review, 27 April 2013

CoPs have played a key role in governing the environment. Yet, CoPs have only provided the institutional framework for governing issues falling under existing treaty regimes. They have not been able to go beyond the regimes they govern. In the case of water, the absence of a well-developed treaty regime has open the door to new non-governmental institutions taking the lead. This happens to coincide in part with the framework proposed by global administrative law that sees governance as a set of largely non-hierarchical relationships where states are not necessarily dominant. This article critically analyse the contribution that global administrative law makes to our understanding of environmental stewardship and looks at ongoing institutional reforms in the water sector that are not based on CoPs being the main actor.