Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Governance and Human Security

First Advisor

Maria Ivanova

Second Advisor

J. Samuel Barkin

Third Advisor

Amy E. Smith


Global environmental conventions are created to address and resolve global environmental problems. Assessments of the achievement of specific environmental goals, however, indicate that there is room for progress and that stronger collective action is required. Given that there are no empirical instruments to measure implementation and to determine the factors behind individual countries’ results, challenges emerge that require the expansion of existing analytical frameworks around environmental conventions and their role as global governance instruments. This study develops an empirical instrument – the Environmental Conventions Index – to assess the implementation of global environmental conventions, determining the main trends for both countries and conventions. Using a mixed methods approach, it analyzes the implementation of four conventions in two clusters – pollution and conservation – by all member states and illustrates trends over time (15 years). The study also examines the underlying reasons for countries’ performance and explains the governance mechanisms of international environmental agreements. As the international community is at crossroads in the solution of global environmental challenges and the implementation of new agendas for sustainable development, countries’ commitment to international environmental goals should occupy center stage in the political debate.