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Conventions & Protocols
The Alpine Convention
An international treaty between the Alpine countries and the EU, aimed at promoting sustainable development in the Alpine area...
+ Event Details
  • Countries Involved: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, Switzerland
  • Purpose: Promote sustainable development and protect interests of people in the Alps
  • Dimensions: Environmental, social, economic, cultural
  • Signed: 1991
  • Effective: 1995
  • Includes:
    • Protocol on Conservation of Nature and the Countryside
    • Protocol on Mountain Forests
CAMLR Convention
The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources is an international treaty that was adopted at the Conference on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
+ Event Details
which met at Canberra, Australia, 7–20 May 1980. It is a multilateral response to concerns that unregulated increases in krill catches in the Southern Ocean could be detrimental for Antarctic marine ecosystems particularly for seabirds, seals, whales and fish that depend on krill for food...
  • Related Pages: Conference on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, History of the Convention, Relationship to the Antarctic Treaty System, Convention Area, Status of the Convention, CAMLR Convention text
  • Adoption: Conference on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, Canberra, Australia, 7–20 May 1980
  • Contents:
    • 33 Articles
    • An annex relating to an arbitration tribunal
    • A statement by the Chairman of the Conference on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
  • Focus:
    • Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources
    • Relationship to the Antarctic Treaty
    • Convention area
    • Institutional structure including the Commission and Scientific Committee
    • Considerations on international cooperation
    • Conservation of marine resources
  • Convention Area: All Antarctic populations of finfish, molluscs, crustacean, and sea birds found south of the Antarctic Convergence
  • Exclusions: Whales and seals, subject to other conventions
  • Commission: Meets annually to adopt conservation measures and other decisions, responsible for financial affairs and administration
  • Scientific Committee: Provides scientific advice to the Commission
  • International Cooperation: Cooperates with other multilateral organizations engaged in scientific research and conservation of marine resources
  • Status: Maintained by Australia as the Depositary
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty governing + Event Details
the movements of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology from one country to another. It was adopted on 29 January 2000 as a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity and entered into force on 11 September 2003...
  • Introduction:
    • Adopted: 29 January 2000
    • Supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    • Focus: Governing movements of living modified organisms (LMOs) from modern biotechnology
    • Advance informed agreement (AIA) procedure for import decisions
    • Biosafety Clearing-House for information exchange
  • History:
    • Establishment of Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety
    • Meetings held between July 1996 and February 1999
    • Submission of draft Protocol text
    • First extraordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties held in Cartagena, Colombia
    • Resumed session in Montreal, January 2000
    • Adoption of the Cartagena Protocol
  • The ICCP Process:
    • Establishment of Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP)
    • Meetings held between 2000 and 2003
    • Development of work plan endorsed by the Conference of the Parties
    • Final report submitted to the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol
  • Entry into Force:
    • 11 September 2003
    • Governing body: COP to the Convention serves as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP)
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered into force on 29 December 1993. It has 3 main objectives: + Event Details

Main Objectives:

  1. Conservation: Conservation of biological diversity
  2. Sustainable Use: Sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
  3. Benefit Sharing: Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources

Introduction:

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international treaty that aims to conserve biological diversity, ensure the sustainable use of biological diversity, and share the benefits of it in a fair and equitable way. It originated from five years of meetings and negotiations, first started by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in November 1988. The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993, with 168 signatures. It defines biological diversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources … includ[ing] diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems”.

Role of the Convention:

As a multilateral treaty, the CBD brings together 196 Parties (with 168 signatures) in an agreement to conserve and protect Earth’s biodiversity. It reflects the global commitment to ensuring sustainable development by recognising the importance of maintaining biodiversity and sharing its benefits. The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity meets every two years to review the progress and priorities of the convention. The CBD focuses not only on conserving biological diversity but also on genetic diversity, its benefits for humanity, and the technology needed to make use of it. It requires Parties to develop or adapt existing strategies for conserving and using biological diversity, as well as integrating it into their wider policies.

Implementing the Convention – and its challenges:

Reviews of the CBD mention challenges in creating national targets based on CBD articles and the limited inclusion of indigenous voices and issues. Countries with greater capacity for information sharing, stakeholder coordination, and economic incentives have made the most progress. Recommendations to overcome challenges include creating incentives for skilled professionals in conservation, ensuring user-friendly communication strategies and information sharing, using market-based financial instruments for sustainable finance, developing formal partnerships, and mainstreaming biodiversity into national projects.

Conclusion:

Almost 30 years ago, the Convention on Biological Diversity came into force, bringing together 168 Parties in an agreement to ensure that biological diversity is safeguarded and used sustainably by humanity. However, implementing the Convention has faced significant socio-economic, technical, political, and financial challenges. Furthermore, the text itself undermines the Convention’s purpose with its hesitant and cautious language. To overcome these challenges, countries must increase cooperation, engagement, and finance, as well as re-imagining the nature-society relationship and the focus of the CBD.


Event Details:

International Treaty on Antarctic Seals
An international treaty that aims to promote and achieve the protection, + Event Details
scientific study, and rational use of Antarctic seals, and to maintain a satisfactory balance within the ecological system of the Antarctic. It is one of the agreements of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS). It was adopted in 1972 and entered into force on 1978.
  • Adopted: 1972
  • Entered into Force: 1978
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species. + Event Details

Convention Text:

  • Drafted: CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN (The World Conservation Union).
  • Agreed: The text of the Convention was finally agreed at a meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington, D.C., United States of America, on 3 March 1973.
  • Entered in Force: On 1 July 1975, CITES entered into force.
  • Languages: The original of the Convention was deposited with the Depositary Government in the English, French, and Spanish languages, each version being equally authentic.
  • Additional Languages: The Convention is also available in Chinese and Russian.

CITES Brochure:

  • Need for CITES: Widespread information about the endangered status of many prominent species, such as the tiger and elephants, might make the need for such a convention seem obvious. But at the time when the ideas for CITES were first formed, in the 1960s, international discussion of the regulation of wildlife trade for conservation purposes was something relatively new.
  • Trade Statistics: Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens.
  • Trade Diversity: The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them.
  • Levels of Exploitation: Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction.

Parties of the Convention:

  • Voluntary Adherence: CITES is an international agreement to which States and regional economic integration organizations adhere voluntarily.
  • Parties: States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention ('joined' CITES) are known as Parties.
  • Legally Binding: Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties, it does not take the place of national laws.
  • Membership: For many years, CITES has been among the conservation agreements with the largest membership, with now 184 Parties.
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known + Event Details
as the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or the Bonn Convention, is an international agreement that aims to conserve migratory species throughout their ranges. The agreement was signed under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme and is concerned with conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. Signed in 1979 in Bonn, West Germany, the convention entered into force in 1983. As of September 2020, there are 131 Member States to the convention. The depositary is the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. The CMS is the only global, and United Nations-based, intergovernmental organization established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species. The CMS, and its daughter agreements, determine policy and provide further guidance on specific issues through their strategic plans, action plans, resolutions, decisions, and guidelines. Fundamental principles
Fundamental Principles of the convention are set out in Article 2. The parties acknowledge the importance of migratory species being conserved and of range states agreeing to take action to this end "whenever possible and appropriate", "paying special attention to migratory species the conservation status of which is unfavourable and taking individually or in cooperation appropriate and necessary steps to conserve such species and their habitat." Further in Article 2(2) The parties "acknowledge" [but do not commit in stronger language, cf Art 2(3) "shall"] "the need to take action to avoid any migratory species becoming endangered". Article 2(3) of the convention states that
  • the parties:
    • (a) Should promote, cooperate in and support research relating to migratory species;
    • (b) Shall endeavour to provide immediate protection for migratory species included in Appendix I; and
    • (c) Shall endeavour to conclude AGREEMENTS covering the conservation and management of migratory species included in Appendix II.
Conference of the Parties (COP)
Background and Status
The Conference of the Parties is the governing body + Event Details
of the Convention, and advances implementation of the Convention through the decisions it takes at its periodic meetings. To date the Conference of the Parties has held 14 ordinary meetings, and one extraordinary meeting (the latter, to adopt the Biosafety Protocol, was held in two parts). From 1994 to 1996, the Conference of the Parties held its ordinary meetings annually. Since then these meetings have been held somewhat less frequently and, following a change in the rules of procedure in 2000, will now be held every two years. The Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) is held in Kunming, China and Montreal, Canada, in two phases. Phase one took place virtually, from 11 to 15 October 2021 and included a High-Level Segment from 12 to 13 October. Phase two is currently happening in Montreal, Canada, from 7 to 19 December 2022. Meetings of the Conference of the Parties
  • COP 16 - Sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Cali, Colombia, 21 October–1 November 2024
  • COP 15 Resumed - Resumed second part of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Nairobi, Kenya, 19 and 20 October 2023
  • COP 15 - Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Part Two)
    Montreal, Canada, 7 - 19 December 2022
  • COP 15 PART1 - Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-15-PART 1)
    Kunming, China, 11 - 15 October 2021
  • CBD EXCOP 2 - Second extraordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Online, 16 - 19 November 2020
  • COP 14 - Fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 17 - 29 November 2018
  • COP 13 - Thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Cancun, Mexico, 4 - 17 December 2016
  • COP 12 - Twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, 6 - 17 October 2014
  • COP 11 - Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Hyderabad, India, 8 - 19 October 2012
  • COP 10 - Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, 18 - 29 October 2010
  • COP 9 - Ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Bonn, Germany, 19 - 30 May 2008
  • COP 8 - Eighth Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Curitiba, Brazil, 20 - 31 March 2006
  • COP 7 - Seventh Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 9 - 20 February 2004
  • COP 6 - Sixth Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    The Hague, Netherlands (Kingdom of the), 7 - 19 April 2002
  • COP 5 - Fifth Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Nairobi, Kenya, 15 - 26 May 2000
  • EXCOP 1 - First Extraordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Cartagena, Colombia & Montreal, Canada, 22 - 23 February 1999 & 24 - 28 January 2000
  • COP 4 - Fourth Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Bratislava, Slovakia, 4 - 15 May 1998
  • COP 3 - Third Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Buenos Aires, Argentina, 4 - 15 November 1996
  • COP 2 - Second Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Jakarta, Indonesia, 6 - 17 November 1995

Major themes at meetings of the Conference of the Parties
  • First ordinary meeting - Guidance to the financial mechanism; Medium-term programme of work;
  • Second ordinary meeting - Marine and coastal biological diversity; Access to genetic resources; Conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity; Biosafety;
  • Third ordinary meeting - Agricultural biodiversity; Financial resources and mechanism; Identification, monitoring and assessment; Intellectual property rights;

COP also sets out a series of standing items for the provisional agenda of its meetings, namely:
  • Organizational matters;
  • Reports from subsidiary bodies, the financial mechanism and the Executive Secretary;
  • Review of the implementation of the programme of work;
  • Priority issues for review and guidance; and
  • Other matters.
Antigua Convention
DEFINITION

Convention for Cooperation in the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the North-East Pacific (Antigua Convention)

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A UNEP Regional Seas Convention for the North-Eastern Pacific. It sets forth the legal obligations and establishes the cooperative mechanisms necessary for the long term conservation and sustainable use of the highly migratory fish stocks (such as tuna and swordfish) of the Eastern Pacific Ocean that range across extensive areas of the high seas as well as through waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of numerous coastal States. It entered into force in 2010. Its biodiversity relevance is that it protects migratory fish species which provide living linkages between distant locations, and which are often species that are of high commercial value.
European External Action Service (2008)
Abidjan Convention
DEFINITION

Convention for the Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region (Abidjan Convention)

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A UNEP Regional Seas Convention for the Western and Central African region. It is a comprehensive umbrella agreement for the protection and management of the marine and coastal areas. It lists the sources of pollution that require control: ships, dumping, land-based activities, exploration and exploitation of the seabed, and pollution from or through the atmosphere. It also identifies environmental management issues for which cooperative efforts are to be made: coastal erosion, specially protected areas, combating pollution in cases of emergency; and environmental impact assessment. It was adopted in 1981 and entered into force in 1984. Its biodiversity relevance is that it calls for contracting parties to "protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems as well as the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species and other marine life" through the establishment of protected areas or prohibitions of harmful activities. 2
Abidjan Convention Secretariat (2014)
Cartagena Convention
DEFINITION

Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region

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A UNEP Regional Seas Convention for the Wider Caribbean. It is a comprehensive, umbrella agreement for the protection and development of the marine environment. This regional environmental convention provides the legal framework for cooperative regional and national actions in the Wider Caribbean region. It was adopted in 1983 and entered into force in 1986.
Its biodiversity relevance is that it includes a Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife which acts as a vehicle to assist with regional implementation of the broader Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Caribbean Environment Programme, UNEP (2014) 1
Note: This refers to the Cartagena Convention and not the Cartagena Protocol.
Nairobi Convention
DEFINITION

Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region

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A UNEP Regional Seas Convention for the Eastern African region. It provides a mechanism for regional cooperation, coordination, and collaborative actions in the Eastern and Southern African region that enables the Contracting Parties to harness resources and expertise from a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups towards solving interlinked problems of the coastal and marine environment including critical national and transboundary issues. It was adopted in 1985 and entered into force in 1996.
Its biodiversity relevance is that it includes an article on conserving biodiversity and a Protocol on Protected Areas and Wild Fauna and Flora in the Eastern African Region.
United Nations Environment Programme
Noumea Convention
DEFINITION

Convention for the Protection of Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region

+ Event Details
A UNEP Regional Seas Convention for the Pacific region. It aims to take all appropriate measures to prevent, reduce and control pollution from any source and to ensure sound environmental management and development of natural resources, using the best practicable means at their disposal of Parties and in accordance with their capabilities. Ten Pacific countries are Party to the Noumea Convention. It was adopted in 1986 and entered into force in 1990.
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (2012)
Its biodiversity relevance stems from the highly detrimental effect that pollution can have on marine organisms, therefore by preventing the pollution of the sea the Convention contributes towards the maintenance of marine biodiversity. It also includes an Article on specially protected areas and protection of wild flora and fauna.
Lima Convention
DEFINITION

Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and Coastal Zones of the South-East Pacific

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A Regional Seas Convention for the South-East Pacific. Its objective is to protect the marine environment and coastal zones of the South-East Pacific within the 200-mile area of maritime sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Parties: Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama. It was adopted in 1981 and entered into force in 1986.
Its biodiversity relevance stems from the highly detrimental effect that pollution can have on marine organisms, therefore by preventing the pollution of the sea the Convention contributes towards the maintenance of marine biodiversity. It also includes a Protocol for the Conservation and Management of Protected Marine and Coastal Areas of the South East Pacific.
Barcelona Convention
DEFINITION

Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean

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A UNEP Regional Seas Convention for the Mediterranean. It aims to protect and improve the marine and coastal environment in the Mediterranean, whilst promoting regional and national plans contributing to sustainable development. It was signed in 1976, entered into force in 1978 and was amended in 1995.
Its biodiversity relevance is that it provides the legal framework for the designation of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI).
European Union (2011) 1
OSPAR Convention
DEFINITION

Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic

+ Event Details
A Regional Seas Convention for the North-East Atlantic. It is the current legal instrument guiding international cooperation on the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. It was adopted in 1992 and entered into force in 1998.
Its biodiversity relevance is that it is the legal framework for the designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that collectively form the OSPAR Network of MPAs.
OSPAR Commission (2014) 1
Apia Convention
DEFINITION

Convention on Conservation of Nature in the South Pacific

+ Event Details
A UNEP Regional Seas Convention for the Pacific region. The main objective of the Convention is to commit the Parties to take action for the conservation, utilisation and development of the natural resources of the South Pacific region through careful planning and management for the benefit of present and future generations. It was signed in 1976 and entered into force in 1990, but its operation was suspended in 2006.
Bern Convention
DEFINITION

Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats

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A binding international legal instrument in the field of nature conservation, which covers most of the natural heritage of the European continent and extends to some States of Africa. It aims to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats and to promote European co-operation in that field. The Convention places a particular importance on the need to protect endangered natural habitats and endangered vulnerable species, including migratory species. It was signed in 1979 and entered into force in 1982.
London Convention
DEFINITION

Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Waste and Other Matter

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One of the first global conventions to protect the marine environment from human activities and has been in force since 1975. Its objective is to promote the effective control of all sources of marine pollution and to take all practicable steps to prevent pollution of the sea by dumping of wastes and other matter. Currently, 87 States are Parties to this Convention.
Bucharest Convention
DEFINITION

Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution

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A UNEP Regional Seas Convention for the Black Sea. It is the basic framework of agreement and three specific Protocols, which are: the control of land-based sources of pollution; dumping of waste; and joint action in the case of accidents (such as oil spills). It was signed in Bucharest in April 1992, and ratified by all six legislative assemblies of the Black Sea countries in the beginning of 1994.
Its biodiversity relevance stems from the highly detrimental effect that pollution can have on marine organisms, therefore by preventing the pollution of the sea the Convention contributes towards the maintenance of marine biodiversity. It also includes a draft Protocol on Biodiversity and Marine Living Resources.
Helsinki Convention
DEFINITION

The Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area + Event Details

is known as the Helsinki Convention. A Regional Seas Convention for the Baltic Sea, it is concerned with the entire marine environment of the Baltic Sea area. Its purpose is to prevent and eliminate pollution in order to promote the ecological restoration of the Baltic Sea area and the preservation of its ecological balance. Its geographical scope covers the seafloor, coastal zones, and also the drainage area of the Baltic Sea. It was adopted in 1992 and entered into force in 2000.

HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - Helsinki Commission) is the governing body of the Convention.

Its biodiversity relevance is that it provides the legal framework for the development of a system of Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPAs) and the production of a first red list of endangered habitat types of the Baltic Sea. Article 15 of the Convention specifically relates to nature conservation and biodiversity.

Ramsar Convention
DEFINITION

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat

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An intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the "wise use", or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.
Waigani Convention
The Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region (Waigani Convention), also known + Event Details
as the Waigani Convention, is a convention that aims to reduce and eliminate transboundary movements of hazardous and radioactive waste, to minimize the production of hazardous and toxic wastes in the Pacific region and to ensure that disposal of wastes in the Convention area is completed in an environmentally sound manner. It entered into force in 2001. Its biodiversity relevance stems from the highly detrimental effect that waste can have on marine organisms, therefore by preventing the pollution of the sea the Convention contributes towards the maintenance of marine biodiversity.
Rio Conventions
The Rio Conventions (Three), also known + Event Details
as the three Rio Conventions which derive directly from the 1992 Earth Summit are:
  1. Convention on Biological Diversity
  2. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
  3. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Tehran Convention
The Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea + Event Details
(Tehran Convention) is a Regional Seas Convention for the Caspian Sea. It is the first legally binding regional agreement signed by all five Caspian littoral States (Republic of Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, and Turkmenistan), laying down the general requirements and the institutional mechanism for environmental protection in the Caspian region. It was adopted in 2003 and entered into force in 2006.

Its biodiversity relevance is that it contains a Protocol for the Conservation of Biological Diversity ("Ashgabat Protocol").

Carpathian Convention
The Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians + Event Details
(Carpathian Convention) is a subregional treaty to foster the sustainable development and the protection of the Carpathian region. It was signed in May 2003 by seven Carpathian States (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine) and entered into force in 2006.

Its biodiversity relevance is that it includes a Protocol on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological and Landscape Diversity to the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians and a Protocol on Sustainable Forest Management to the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians.

Ballast Water Convention
The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments + Event Details
(Ballast Water Convention) is an international treaty that aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another, by establishing standards and procedures for the management and control of ships' ballast water and sediments. It was adopted in 2004 but has not yet entered into force.

Its biodiversity relevance is that ballast water is a common way through which alien invasive species are introduced in the marine environment.

MARPOL Convention
The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships + Event Details
(MARPOL Convention) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. It was adopted in 1973 and entered into force in 1983.

Its biodiversity relevance stems from the highly detrimental effect that pollution can have on marine organisms, therefore by preventing the pollution of the sea the Convention contributes towards the maintenance of marine biodiversity.

Whaling Convention
The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling + Event Details
(Whaling Convention) is an international convention that aims to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry. It contains a provision that the utilization of whale stocks should be based on "scientific findings" so that optimum levels of whale stocks could be achieved and maintained. It was signed in 1946 and is the founding document of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which was formed to regulate the industry.
The Nagoya Protocol
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization + Event Details
(ABS), also known as the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, is a 2010 supplementary agreement to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Its aim is the implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. It sets out obligations for its contracting parties to take measures in relation to access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing, and compliance.
  • Adoption and Ratification: The protocol was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, and entered into force on 12 October 2014. As of April 2022, it has been ratified by 137 parties, which includes 136 UN member states and the European Union.
  • Aims and Scope: The Nagoya Protocol applies to genetic resources covered by the CBD, benefits arising from their utilization, and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources covered by the CBD and the benefits arising from its utilization. Its aim is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
  • Obligations: The Nagoya Protocol sets out obligations for its contracting parties to take measures in relation to access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing, and compliance.
  • Implementation: The Nagoya Protocol's success will require effective implementation at the domestic level, assisted by various tools and mechanisms provided by the protocol.
  • Relationship to Other International Agreements: The Nagoya Protocol complements other international agreements and has implications for trade agreements, biodiversity research, and conservation efforts.
  • Criticism: Concerns have been raised regarding potential negative impacts on biodiversity monitoring, conservation, disease prevention, and research due to added bureaucracy and legislation.
Jeddah Convention
The Regional Convention for the Conservation of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Environment + Event Details
(Jeddah Convention) is a UNEP Regional Seas Convention for the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It sets out the terms of regional cooperation among the signatory parties in regards to marine and coastal environmental protection. Specifically, it prioritizes the need for collaboration in the control of marine pollution, scientific and technical assistance, environmental management, and the development of environmental standards. It was adopted in 1982 and entered into force in 1985.
  • Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA): The Jeddah Convention includes a Protocol Concerning the Conservation of Biological diversity and the Establishment of a Network of Protected Areas in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a global treaty + Event Details
aimed at protecting human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or the environment. It was adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004.
  • Biodiversity Relevance: The Convention's biodiversity relevance stems from the highly detrimental effect that persistent organic pollutants can have on organisms. By preventing this specific pollution, the Convention contributes to the maintenance of marine biodiversity.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought + Event Details
and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention aimed at combatting desertification and mitigating the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.
  • The Convention, the only convention stemming from a direct recommendation of the Rio Conference's Agenda 21, was adopted in Paris, France, on 17 June 1994 and entered into force in December 1996. It is the only internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification.
  • The Convention is based on the principles of participation, partnership, and decentralization—the backbone of good governance and sustainable development. It has 197 parties, making it near universal in reach.
  • To help publicize the Convention, 2006 was declared "International Year of Deserts and Desertification" but debates have ensued regarding how effective the International Year was in practice.
  • Ibrahim Thiaw was appointed as Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and UNCCD Executive Secretary on 31 January 2019.
States Parties
  • Parties to the Convention in green
  • The UNCCD has been ratified by the European Union and 196 states: all 193 UN member states, the Cook Islands, Niue, and the State of Palestine.
  • On 28 March 2013, Canada became the first country to withdraw from the convention. However, three years later, Canada reversed its withdrawal by re-acceding to the convention on 21 December 2016, which resulted in Canada becoming party to the convention again on 21 March 2017.
  • The Holy See (Vatican City) is the only state that is not a party to the convention that is eligible to accede to it.
Secretariat
  • The permanent Secretariat of the UNCCD was established during the first Conference of the parties (COP 1) held in Rome in 1997.
  • It has been located in Bonn, Germany, since January 1999, and moved from its first Bonn address in Haus Carstanjen to the new UN Campus in July 2006.
Conference of the Parties
  • The Conference of the Parties (COP) oversees the implementation of the Convention.
  • It is established by the Convention as the supreme decision-making body, and it comprises all ratifying governments.
  • Starting 2001 sessions are held on a biennial basis interchanging with the sessions of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC), whose first session was held in 2002.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also known as the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea Treaty, is an international agreement that establishes a legal framework for all marine and maritime activities. As of May 2023, 168 countries and the European Union are parties. + Event Details

The convention resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982. UNCLOS replaced the four treaties of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty.

In 2023, agreement was reached on a High Seas Treaty to be added as an instrument of the convention, to protect ocean life in international waters. This would provide measures including Marine Protected Areas and environmental impact assessments.

The convention covers various areas such as:

  • Internal waters
  • Territorial sea
  • Archipelagic waters
  • Contiguous zone
  • Exclusive economic zones (EEZs)
  • Continental shelf

It establishes rights and jurisdictions for coastal states and regulations for navigation, exploitation of resources, protection of the marine environment, scientific research, and settlement of disputes.

Part XI of the convention provides for a regime relating to minerals on the seabed outside any state's territorial waters or exclusive economic zones (EEZ). It establishes an International Seabed Authority (ISA) to authorize seabed exploration and mining and collect and distribute the seabed mining royalty.

Part XII of UNCLOS contains special provisions for the protection of the marine environment, obligating all states to collaborate in this matter, as well as placing special obligations on flag states to ensure that ships under their flags adhere to international environmental regulations.

The convention does not deal with matters of territorial disputes or to resolve issues of sovereignty, as that field is governed by rules of customary international law on the acquisition and loss of territory.

UNCLOS is significant as it systemizes and codifies the standards and principles of international maritime law, which are based on centuries of maritime experience and expressed in international maritime law norms.

For more information, you can visit the official UNCLOS website.