Environmental Conventions Treaties YouTube Lecture Handouts for Competitive Exams 2021

Get unlimited access to the best preparation resource for competitive exams : get questions, notes, tests, video lectures and more- for all subjects of your exam.

Get video tutorial on: Examrace YouTube Channel

30 Environmental Conventions & Agreements in 15 Minutes (Besides Earth Summit)

Environmental Conventions & Agreements

CITES/Washington Convention

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
  • Created in 1973
  • HQ: Geneva
  • Also known as Washington Convention
  • Multilateral Treaty
  • Participation is voluntary
  • Legally binding on the Parties, but it does not take the place of national laws
  • Aim: Protect endangered plants and animals
  • International trade in specimen don՚t threaten survival


  • Created in 1948
  • HQ: Gland, Switzerland
  • Observer status in UN General Assembly
  • Assesses the conservation status of species
  • World՚s oldest and largest global environmental network and enlists 9 categories


  • Created in 1972
  • HQ: Nairobi, Kenya
  • Coordinates United Nations environmental activities
  • Monitors world environment (Earth watch)
  • Publishes periodic reports (GEO - Global Environment Outlook)
  • Assists developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
  • Founded as a result of UN Conference on Human Environment, Stockholm

Convention on Biological Diversity

  • Biodiversity Treaty
  • Biodiversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.”
  • Came in force in 1993
  • 167 nations have signed the treaty

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

  • Signed in May, 2002
  • To protect human health and the environment from POPs
  • POPs are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods & are toxic

Prior Informed Consent (PIC) , Rotterdam Convention

  • Multilateral environmental agreement
  • Shared responsibility and cooperative efforts
  • In the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals to protect human health and the environment

Basel Convention on the Control of Trans Boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes

  • Ratified by several member countries and EU
  • Address hazardous waste
  • Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Minimize the generation of hazardous wastes in terms of quantity and hazardousness
  • Dispose of them as close to the source of generation as possible
  • Reduce the movement of hazardous wastes
  • Covers waste: Toxic, poisonous, explosive, corrosive, flammable, ecotoxic and infectious

Helsinki Protocol to LRTAP (Long-Range Trans Boundary Air Pollution) on the Reduction of Sulphur Emissions

  • Reduce Trans boundary Fluxes by atleast 30 %
  • Came in force in 1987
  • 21 ECE countries are Parties to this Protocol
  • Reduced 1980 sulphur emissions by more than 50 % by 1993
  • 11 Parties have achieved reductions of at least 60 % .

Sofia Protocol to LRTAP Concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or Their Trans Boundary Fluxes (NOxProtocol)

  • Adopted in 1988
  • To freeze emissions of nitrogen oxides or their Trans boundary Fluxes
  • Application of an effects-based approach.
  • Collect scientific and technical information to reduce nitrogen oxides and ammonia

Geneva Protocol to LRTAP Concerning the Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds or Their Trans Boundary Fluxes (VOCs Protocol)

  • Adopted in November 1991
  • Works for ozone
  • 30 % reduction in emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 1999
  • Same reduction within a Tropospheric Ozone Management Area (TOMA) specified in annex I to the Protocol
  • Where emissions in 1988 did not exceed certain specified levels, Parties may opt for a stabilization

Vienna Convention

  • Vienna Convention on Protection of the Ozone Layer
  • Multilateral environment agreement
  • It acts as a framework for the international efforts to protect the ozone layer
  • Not include legally binding reduction goals for the use of CFCs, the main chemical agents causing ozone depletion
  • In 1985

Montreal Protocol

  • Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
  • Signed in 1987
  • 7 revisions: 1990 (London) , 1991 (Nairobi) , 1992 (Copenhagen) , 1993 (Bangkok) , 1995 (Vienna) , 1997 (Montreal) , and 1999 (Beijing) .
  • Protocol to Vienna Convention
  • Phase out production of substances that deplete ozone
  • Phase out CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform by 2000 (2005 for methyl chloroform)
  • It is legally binding
  • Structured around groups of halogenated hydrocarbons
  • Ozone depleting substances contain either Chlorine or Bromine
Effective Chlorine & Montreal Protocol

Ramsar Convention

  • Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
  • Intergovernmental treaty for conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources
  • Adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975
  • 90 % of UN member states have acceded to become “Contracting Parties”
  • Has around 1558 sites
Ramsar Convention

United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)

  • In Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002
  • To adopt concrete steps and identify quantifiable targets for better implementing Agenda 21.
  • Conserve marine biodiversity, protect vulnerable areas such as coral reefs and wetlands, reduce marine pollution, eliminate illegal fishing, and achieve better coordination across ocean-related UN and regional organizations.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982

  • In Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Culmination of more than 14 years of work
  • More than 150 countries
  • Came in force in 1994
  • Primary international legal document regulating all marine sector activities

Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage 1972 (World Heritage Convention)

  • 1972 World Heritage Convention
  • Single document of nature conservation and preservation of cultural properties

Global Program of Action for the Protection of Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA)

  • 100 governments
  • Prevent degradation of the marine environment from land-based activities
  • Like sewage, persistent organic pollutants, radioactivity, metals, oils, nutrients, sediment mobilisation, litter and habitat destruction

Jakarta Mandate on Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity

  • Conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity
  • 1992 agreement
  • Adopted in 1995

UN Convention to Combat Desertification

  • Particularly in Africa
  • Adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and in force in December 1996
  • 1st and only internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification.
  • Idea of Good Governance and Sustainable Development.
  • 193 country Parties
  • 2006 had been declared “International Year of Deserts and Desertification” .

Environmental Modification Convention (ENMOD)

  • Open in 1977 and came in force in 1978
  • Prohibit military or hostile use of military techniques

Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

  • Conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species
  • Under UNEP
  • Signed in 1979 & came in force in 1983

ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area)

  • Conserve biodiversity in Mediterranean and Black Sea

ASEAN Agreement on Trans Boundary Haze Pollution

  • Signed in 2002
  • All 10 nations of ASEAN

Aarhus Convention

  • Signed in 1998
  • Nations that ratified: Mainly EU & C. Asia
  • UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters
  • Grants public rights regarding access to information, public participation and access to justice, in governmental decision-making processes

BIOFIN Project

  • Biodiversity Finance Initiative in 2012
  • European Union and the Governments of Germany and Switzerland
  • Launched by UNDP
  • Global partnership seeking to address the biodiversity finance challenge
  • Mobilize resources for biodiversity and sustainable development
  • Help countries to achieve 20 Aichi Targets for 2011 - 2020
  • India home to 4 of the 35 global biodiversity hotspots: Himalaya, Indo-Burma, the Western Ghats – Sri Lanka and Sundaland
  • India joined under National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP)

Nairobi Declaration

  • Declaration adopted in 1982
  • Create special commission to frame long term environment strategies for achieving sustainable developments upto the year 2000 and beyond
  • Endorsed by the governing Council of UNEP in 1987

Global Environment Facility

  • Setup as fund under World Bank in 1991
  • In 1992 Rio Earth Summit, it was restructured and moved out of the World Bank system
  • Became permanent, separate institution
  • Since 1994, it served as Trustee of GEF Trust Fund
  • To combat major environmental issues & stimulate green growth

GEF serves as financial mechanism for:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury – signed in 2013,140 nations & protect from mercury compounds

Green Climate Fund

  • Fund within the framework of UNFCCC
  • Assist developing countries to adopt & mitigate practices to counter climate change
  • World Bank: Temporary trustee of the fund
  • Headquarters: Incheon, South Korea

Developed by: