This policy brief examines how trade deals have contributed to the effectiveness of the multilateral environmental agreement (MEA). Over the past decade, multilateral environmental governance has yielded modest results. Multilateral negotiations appear increasingly slow and polarized. Even established multilateral agreements are weakened by the withdrawal — and threat of withdrawal — of some countries. As a result of this sluggishness, the number of new environmental agreements concluded every year is declining and membership to existing agreements has plateaued. Existing MEAs have greatly contributed to environmental protection and remain central to global environmental governance, but they are no longer the new frontier of international environmental regulations.

  • Jean-Frédéric Morin is a CIGI senior fellow and an associate professor at Laval University, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy.

  • Corentin Bialais holds a master’s degree in international relations from Laval University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Lumière Lyon 2 University. Through his studies, he worked for the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy, where he specialized in international environmental and trade politics and developed his skills in quantitative methods and network analysis.