Panel Paper: Do Strong Policy Relationships Often Produce Strong Policy Outcomes? the Case Study of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Taylor - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

George Atisa1, Mahadev Bhat2 and Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor2, (1)University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, (2)Florida International University

There are tangible and intangible incentives for governments to be seen in good light internationally through compliance with international treaties. Within countries however, compliance is often difficult to attain because of perceived immediate political and economic costs at both government and at community levels. Because of these perceived costs, many governments are not willing to develop strong environmental protection regulations for a distant future biological resource (Harrop & Pritchard, 2011). It is therefore important to ask the question; how do countries learn to comply with international treaties? The objective of this paper is to estimate compliance with the CBD at international, national and local levels and to assess the extent to which the treaty warrants further efforts and resources. The Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) is one of the treaties that has been ratified by most countries and therefore serves as the best-case study for measuring global policy influence on countries.

Compliance is measured in this study by the number of plans and policies developed as well as their strength at influencing national and local decisions, and the size of lands being set aside for biodiversity protection objectives. For purposes of developing a comprehensive measurement framework, compliance with the CBD goals is divided into three categories: (i) international, (ii) national, and (iii) compliance at local levels. At these three levels, compliance is conceptualized as a process and as an outcome (Bamberger, 1991). Data is obtained from the CDB website and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Using Spearman’s rank correlation, the strength and direction of relationships between international policies, regional agreements, national regulations and local policies with local biodiversity protection outcomes is estimated. The size of lands and forests set aside for conservation objectives are used as a proxy to measure outcomes. Policies, agreements and regulations that show strong relationships are further subjected to multiple regression analysis to estimate their significance and extent of influence on governments. Correlation findings show that many policies and regulations have strong relationships with biodiversity protection outcomes. These relationships however are found to have insignificant impacts on both the process and actual biodiversity protection outcomes. Such results shed light on severe challenges that the convention has faced in protecting biodiversity. The study concludes that excellent policies and regulations exist, but they do not have significant impact on implementation and eventual tangible outcomes.