The purpose of this project is to explore various collaborative ways with shared benefits that can facilitate changes towards sustainability of global environmental commons.
Although joining a treaty or making a commitment towards a set goal is relatively easy, enforcement and implementation is usually difficult. The project analyzes, first, incentives of individual States to join treaties on global environmental commons or make a commitment towards a certain goal, and second, incentives and opportunities to implement their commitments. In doing so, potential of the benefit sharing method to facilitate cooperation, i.e. provide mutual benefits for collaboration, is examined. The focus of the benefit sharing approach is not on quantities rather on benefits derivable from use and allocation of global environmental commons. We discuss three qualities that make benefit sharing particularly attractive: (1) based on game theoretical concepts benefit sharing aims to improve net benefits for all, thus, it shifts the focus from positions to interests and therefore transforms the very potential of conflict into an opportunity to cooperate; (2) benefit sharing calls on innovative solutions where benefits can be considered not only in pure economic terms but rather across the entire spectrum of the so called ‘basket of benefits’ including environmental, political and catalytic (spillover) benefits; and (3) the approach offers a wide range of mechanisms to implement arrangements with shared benefits which generally could be grouped in (a) financial and in-kind compensations and (b) issue linkages, where agreements and policies can be improved by connecting trade-offs in one sector, e.g. agro-forestry, with other sectors, e.g. energy.