Global Environmental Regimes (Treaties, Conventions, Agreements)

A listing of the major global environmental regimes that are compiled for ease of reference. We have placed links to each of the agreements as well as a short highlight from each to explain their importance. 

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Chemical Regimes

2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

"chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment"

1998 Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade

The objective of this Convention is to promote shared responsibility and cooperative e orts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm and to contribute to their environmentally sound use, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics - Article 1

Climate Regimes

1997 Kyoto Protocol

Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities." UNFCCC

1994 Convention to Combat Desertification

"The sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management" - UNCCD

1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change

The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations "at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system." It states that "such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner." - UNFCCC

Air Pollution Regimes

1987 Montreal Protocol

"designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer"     - UNEP

1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution

"The Convention has substantially contributed to the development of international environmental law and has created the essential framework for controlling and reducing the damage to human health and the environment caused by transboundary air pollution" - UNECE

Water Pollution Regimes

1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 

Part XII of the convention : Protection & Preservation of the Marine Environment is an important environmental agreement

1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships

"The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes" - IMO

1972 London Convention / The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter

"stresses the “precautionary approach”, which requires that “appropriate preventative measures are taken when there is reason to believe that wastes or other matter introduced into the marine environment are likely to cause harm even when there is no conclusive evidence to prove a causal relation between inputs and their effects”.
It also states that "the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution" - IMO

Wildlife Conservation Regimes

1983 Bonn Convention / Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

"provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats." - CMS

1973 CITES / Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

"aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival." - CITES

1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling

"The Convention includes a legally binding Schedule which, amongst other things, sets out catch limits for commercial and aboriginal subsistence whaling" - IWC

General Resources

"ECOLEX has been designed to be the most comprehensive global source of information on national and international environmental law"