The environment in the Andean community and Mercosur

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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UNU-CRIS Working Papers
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The paper compares the processes of regional integration in the environmental policy-area of the Andean Community (CAN) and the Common Market of the South (Mercosur). South America is in various ways challenged by environmental strains such as climate change. The main issue discussed in the paper is how, and to what extent, has the regionalization of environmental policies and politics taken place in both blocs? As a secondary strand in the treatise, integration, or the lack thereof, is explained by drawing from key theories on regional integration developed in the European context and applied to South America. The author finds that integration in the area of climate change remains timid in both blocs. However, a juxtaposition of both cases reveals that at least in terms of environmental affairs, CAN has been more proactive. This departs from the conventional assumption that Mercosur is the most developed entity in the region in terms of integration agendas in various policy fields. Nevertheless both blocs have created insufficient regulations on the environment in spite of the inchoate strides made by CAN. This could be partly explained by the attitudes of various governments who still find few incentives to support robust supranational initiatives in the field of environmental protection.