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Institutional Interactions at the Crossroads of Trade and Environment: the Dominance of Liberal Environmentalism?

  • Fariborz Zelli
  • Aarti Gupta
  • Harro van Asselt
Publishing year: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 105-118
Publication/Series: Global Governance
Volume: 19
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Lynne Rienner Publishers

Abstract english

This article argues that institutional interactions that cut across the domains of trade and environment are embedded in overarching norms that shape their evolution and impact. In making this argument, it analyzes three cases of such interactions within the climate change and biosafety regime complexes: those relating to trade-related climate policies and measures, forest carbon sinks, and trade in genetically modified organisms. The analysis highlights the dominance of liberal environmentalism (a set of global norms promoting economic efficiency and environmental improvements through market-based mechanisms) in shaping institutional interactions within these regime complexes, even as liberal environmentalism is contested by key actors. This, in turn, has implications for effective management of institutional interlinkages within regime complexes in global environmental governance.


  • Political Science
  • Institutional theory
  • International organisations
  • Biodiversity
  • Trade and environment
  • Environmental institutions
  • climate change
  • complexity
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • CBD
  • WTO
  • WTO law
  • Frame analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • political ecology


  • BECC
  • Miljöpolitik-lup-obsolete
  • ISSN: 1075-2846
Fariborz Zelli
E-mail: fariborz [dot] zelli [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Department of Political Science

+46 46 222 47 64



Associate professor

Department of Political Science



Fariborz is director of the NAVIGOV project. He received the outstanding Ph.D. thesis award of the University of Tübingen and the award for outstanding teaching performance of the German state of Baden-Württemberg.

Ongoing research projects

Department of Political Science
Lund University
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5H (House: Eden)
Postal address: Box 52, SE-221 00 LUND
Telephone: +46 46-222 89 52

Faculty of Social Sciences