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The Mekong River’s paper dragon : a political analysis of the efficacy of the Mekong River Commission Kohn, Samantha Lauren

Abstract

This thesis provides a political analysis of the efficacy of the Mekong River Commission (MRC). The argument provided explains that the MRC has thus far not been effective in achieving its mandated purpose of facilitating the sustainable development of the Mekong River. Utilizing theories advanced by Haas, Keohane and Levy and M.J. Peterson, this thesis explains the expectations of an effective international environmental organization and examines how and why the MRC does not meet these expectations. The argument is organized in three main chapters. Chapter two outlines the historical construction of the Mekong regime and explains that the circumstances surrounding this evolution have contributed to the current state of ineffectiveness of the MRC to achieve its mandate. Chapter three examines the level of compliance effectiveness that the MRC has achieved, and chapter four analyzes the extent to which this compliance effectiveness is translated into result effectiveness. The conclusion here is that this translation has not occurred; the requirements for compliance with MRC regulations are weak enough that this compliance has no positive results on the state of the environment in the Mekong River Basin. While it is important to note that the MRC has been successful in altering diplomatic relations between the member states who have been traditionally in conflict, the fact that environmental policy in member states has not been changed as a result of actions taken by the Commission, combined with the unsuccessful results of the MRC's attempts to achieve result effectiveness highlights that the Mekong River Commission has thus far been ineffective in facilitating the sustainable development of the Mekong River.

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