National Governments, Transnational Actors, and their Roles in the Creation of the North American Environmental Agreements and Institutions

Iván Farías

Abstract


Most theoretical accounts in the current literature on North American integration consider the implementation of side and parallel environmental agreements to the North American Free Trade Agreement (nafta) and their corresponding institutions either a side-effect of the national governments’pursuit of their economic interests or the result of successful pressure by non-governmental organizations to include their socio-environmental demands in the treaty. These opposite explanations closely resemble liberal intergovernmentalist and transnational-focused accounts used to explain the occurrence and progression of regional integration in Europe. This article reviews and challenges both accounts and argues that they both assess inadequately the interests of governmental and transnational actors and their roles and relative influence in determining the outcome of the negotiations of the nafta side and parallel agreements on the environment. It proposes that a revised liberal intergovernmentalist account that considers the non-economic national interests of nation-states would explain better the pursuit and negotiation of nafta’s environmental side and parallel agreements and the institutional structure that resulted from them.


Keywords


North American environment, regional integration, nafta, liberal intergovernmentalism, transnationalism.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22201/cisan.24487228e.2018.2.331

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