International Environment:

International Agreements Are Not Well Monitored

RCED-92-43: Published: Jan 27, 1992. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed eight international environmental agreements, focusing on whether: (1) the agreements are specific enough to allow implementation to be measured; and (2) agreements' administrative bodies monitor implementation.

GAO found that: (1) six of the eight agreements specify how implementation is to be measured and require parties to provide information periodically; (2) not all parties report complete and timely information; (3) reporting required information is a big problem for developing countries, since they lack the infrastructure and resources to report such information or otherwise implement the agreements; (4) secretariat officials believe they are aware of important implementation problems, but do not have the authority or resources to monitor implementation by verifying reported information or independently assessing countries' compliance; (5) secretariat officials for three agreements believe that funding is inadequate to allow them to carryout their assigned duties or to assist parties in carrying out the agreements; and (6) several international environmental experts have proposed measures to strengthen oversight and parties' capability to comply with agreements.

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