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Delegation to Treaty Bodies and International Organisations for Conventional Arms Control Agreements in Europe

In this article, William Lippert investigates the effect of delegation to an agreement executor, for example an international organisation, on success of conventional arms control agreements in Europe.

William Lippert
15 April 2024
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Russia’s June 2023 withdrawal from the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty amidst the Russo-Ukraine War followed a century of conventional arms control agreements in Europe, some of which have been successful, some of which have failed, and others that fall somewhere in between. One of the Conventional Armed Forces Treaty’s core characteristics was minimal delegation to a treaty executor and no third-party state involvement, which contrasts with other, successful conventional arms control agreements in Europe. This raises the question of whether certain agreement traits contribute to the likelihood of success. 

This article continues by identifying and analysing delegation by disaggregating it into component variables relevant to conventional arms control and using these to assess the different approaches to conventional arms control agreement execution. The author implements a novel dataset of Europe focused conventional arms control agreements and used a sum score methodology to measure the level of delegation of conventional arms control agreements from the end of World War I to the present. 

The findings include various interesting elements. First, agreements with third-party state involvement in the form of being a cosigner to an agreement or an active party to implementation likely contribute to agreement success. There was third-party state involvement in eight of the nine successful agreements, and the Minsk agreements are the only failed agreements with third-party involvement. 

It concludes that while overall delegation is only weakly correlated with agreement outcome, there is a strong relationship between the presence of third-party states and success, and international organisations (IO s) and success. Interstate conflicts may cease with a temporary cease-fire or more permanent settlement, but both situations often involve agreements, many of which incorporate conventional arms control measures.

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