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Making a model: the 1974 Nordic Environmental Protection Convention

Profile picture of Melina Antonia BunsMelina Antonia Buns, visiting postdoc in international and environmental history at the division, has published a new open access article in the Scandinavian Journal of History (published online on 05 May 2022). The title of the article is “Making a model: the 1974 Nordic Environmental Protection Convention and Nordic attempts to form environmental law” and adds to the current discourse of environmental governance, for example embodied by the recent Stockholm +50 UN-Conference on the human environment, which took place in Sweden’s capital in June.


This article investigates the 1974 Nordic Environmental Protection Convention. It shows that the ulterior motives for such a convention were Nordic ambitions to regulate and reduce transboundary pollution originating outside of the Nordic region. Emphasizing the inter-organizational dynamics between institutionalized Nordic cooperation and international organizations, it examines how the Nordics drew on developments within international organizations and how they pursued their agenda of shaping international environmental law within the OECD. Ultimately, the article argues that the Nordic countries tried to create a model convention to be exported to and implemented at the international level with the aim of reducing transboundary pollution and establishing transnational responsibilities and accountabilities. By setting out this argument and shedding light on the first legally binding international convention to address transboundary pollution with procedural principles, the article breaks new ground on the history of Nordic environmental cooperation as well as on the development of international environmental law.

If you are interested in Nordic environmental governance, check it out!

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