Why would a small, middle-income country, stuck in the turbulence of deep political and economic changes, care about global environmental problems? After the breakdown of the Communist regime in 1989, the 1990s were marked by serious social and economic problems for Hungary. The GDP of the country dropped by some 15 per cent, the Eastern European markets were completely lost for trade. Unemployment and inflation rates were steadily growing. However, in 1992 Hungary became party to both the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Why? This chapter is the outcome of a three-year research project aimed at

understanding the factors that shaped Hungary’s participation in the climate change regime and the biodiversity regime. The research questions were the following: What was the motivation of Hungary to join these environmental regimes? Which social actors and institutions influenced the decision of joining the regimes and the dynamics of the participation process? We established a research framework with the possible explanatory models. We then conducted empirical research based on document analysis and interviews with policy-makers, experts, and NGO members. We sought to reconstruct and understand Hungarian foreign environmental policy in order to determine which explanation best suits the Hungarian case.