University of Tasmania
Smejkal_whole_thesis.pdf (9.13 MB)

NGO compliance with treaty objects and purposes : the cases of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling

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posted on 2023-05-28, 10:16 authored by Smejkal, LAC
Non-government organisations (NGOs) are prominent and influential actors in all areas of international law. NGO behaviours in international treaty bodies have largely been the focus of governance rather than legal analysis. A legal analysis of the manner in which international treaties and treaty body rules affect NGO conduct has not been the subject of scholarship. This thesis presents a legal analysis framework that uses the objects and purposes of international treaties as a means of evaluating whether NGO behaviours comply with the expectations and animating principles of treaties. This thesis evaluated NGO conduct in two regional fisheries bodies ‚Äö- the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources ('CAMLR Convention') and the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling ('Whaling Convention'). The primary focus was on NGOs in the role of observer at annual or biennial Commission meetings, with a secondary focus on the intersessional conduct of NGOs. The methods used were primary and secondary research, object and purpose construction, treaty interpretation, and case study analysis. Surveys and interviews were conducted with NGO and state delegates attending the CAMLR Commission and Whaling Commission. As a result of applying the object and purpose analysis, this thesis found that NGO behaviours were more likely to reflect the treaty object and purpose where Commission rules and procedures demonstrated clear expectations for NGOs to support the work of the Commission according to its object and purpose. It also found that where NGOs had a predominantly environmental focus, the NGO behaviour was more likely to be non-compliant with the object and purpose and to undermine Commission decision-making. The CAMLR Commission and Whaling Commission presented contrasting cases, with the former experiencing high degrees of NGO compliance with the object and purpose, which appeared to result from clear expectations on NGO engagement. The Whaling Commission presented the opposite, with unclear expectations on NGOs in their engagement and extensive non-compliant NGO behaviours. These case studies demonstrate the importance of maintaining clear rules of engagement for NGOs attending Commission meetings and interacting with treaty bodies and their treaties in intersessional periods. NGO behaviours in international treaty bodies should support effective decision-making in treaty bodies, according to the treaty's object and purpose. By referring to the common language of the object and purpose in assessing NGO behaviour, it is also possible to facilitate greater transparency in both state and NGO behaviours. The object and purpose analysis framework is applicable in any treaty body and supports the rule of law for states and NGOs alike.


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Copyright 2019 the author

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