MORE THAN 600 GLOBAL TREATIES HAVE BEEN CREATED IN THE PAST 70 YEARS TO ADDRESS VIOLENCE, PREVENTABLE DISEASES, SOCIAL EXCLUSION, LABOR ABUSES, AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION. WHILE THEY HOLD GREAT POTENTIAL FOR SOLVING HUMANITY’S BIGGEST CHALLENGES, IT’S TIME TO ASK:

ARE THEY WORKING?

 

Surprisingly, we don’t know, and what we do know is not encouraging. Existing treaty institutions seem poorly adapted to resolving the complexity and interconnectedness of our international challenge. The isolation of treaty interests and the nature of traditional diplomacy do not promote experimentalist, dynamic, problem-solving approaches.  Environmental damage is still increasing, labor practices remain appalling in many countries, human rights for the most vulnerable populations are routinely ignored, and the arms trade flows largely uncontrolled.

The Treaty Effectiveness Initiative (TEI) seeks to change these conditions. TEI advances effective global governance by fostering breakthroughs in the performance, efficiency, and legitimacy of international treaty institutions, using the following methods:

  • Building collective understanding of optimal ways to design, implement, monitor, and enforce critical multilateral treaties
  • Fostering innovations in treaty practices and developing the tools needed to create transformative change
  • Promoting solutions to improve transparency and comparability of data on treaty expenditures, activities, and performance
  • Gathering and sharing experience on treaty implementation, particularly among developing countries
  • Translating treaty provisions into rigorous and actionable business practices involving national governments, civil society, and private industry
  • Bridging disciplinary boundaries and promoting global collaboration.

Despite the mixed record to date, there are grounds for optimism. Some treaties are beginning to innovate. TEI believes that the leadership these treaties exhibit proves that progress is possible, but we must examine and build upon the lessons we’re learning to realize the potential these powerful institutions contain.