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Major Environmental International Conventions 

Nature conservation

  • United Nations Conference On Environment And Development (UNCED)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  • The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC)
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS)
  • Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT)
  • International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTC)
  • United Nations Forum on Forests (LTNFF)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) 
  • Global Tiger Forum (GTF)

Hazardous material

  • Stockholm Convention
  • Basel Convention
  • Rotterdam Convention 


  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Marine environment

  • International Whaling Commission (MC) Atmosphere
  • Vienna convention and Montreal Protocol
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Kyoto Protocol

United Nations Conference on Environment And Development (UNCED)

  • Also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. The issues addressed included:
    (i) Systematic scrutiny of patterns of production particularly the production of toxic Components, such as lead in gasoline, or poisonous waste including radioactive chemicals.
    (ii) Alternative sources of energy to replace the use of fossil fuels which are linked to global climate change.
    (iii) New reliance on public transportation systems in order to reduce vehicle emissions, Congestion in cities and the health problems caused by polluted air and smog.
    (iv) The growing-scarcity of water.
  • The Earth summit resulted in the following documents:-
    (i) Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
    (ii) Agenda 21
    (iii) Forest Principles 

Two important legally binding agreements 
1. Convention on Biological Diversity.
2. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The Rio Declaration on Environment and The Rio Declaration consisted of 27 principles Intended to guide future sustainable development around the world.

Agenda 21

  • Agenda 21 is an action plan of the United Nations (UN) related to sustainable development.
  • It is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans directly affect the environment.
  • The number 21 refers to an agenda for the 21st century.

Local Agenda 21

  • The implementation of Agenda 21 involved action at international, national, regional, and local levels.
  • Some national and state governments have legislated or advised that local authorities take steps to implement the plan locally.
  • Such programs are often known as 'Local Agenda 21' or 'LA21'.

Agenda 21 for culture

  • During the first World Public Meeting on Culture, held in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2002.
  • The first document with worldwide mission that advocates establishing the groundwork of an undertaking by cities and local governments for cultural development.


  • In 1997, the United Nations General Assembly convened a special session to evaluate five years of advancements in implementing Agenda 21 (Rio+5).
  • The General Assembly acknowledged progress as 'uneven' and highlighted key trends such as the rise of globalization, growing income disparities, and ongoing degradation of the global environment

The Johannesburg Summit

  • The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation was established at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit 2002).
  • It affirmed the UN's dedication to the 'full implementation' of Agenda 21.
  • It also emphasized the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals and various other international agreements.

Rio +20

  • Rio 20 is the abbreviated term for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012, two decades after the significant 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.
  • The primary topics of discussion during the conference were:
    (i) Constructing a green economy to promote sustainable development and elevate individuals from poverty.
    (ii) Enhancing global cooperation for sustainable development.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • CBD is a legally binding Convention that emphasizes the conservation of Biological diversity as a common concern of humankind and an integral part of the development process.
  • The agreement covers all ecosystems, species, and genetic resources.


  • The conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the utilization of genetic resources.
  • Objectives include appropriate access to genetic resources, transfer of relevant technologies, funding, and consideration of all rights over those resources and technologies.
  • Three main goals:
    • The conservation of biodiversity.
    • Sustainable use of biodiversity components.
    • Sharing benefits from the commercial and other use of genetic resources in a fair and equitable manner.
  • The Convention recognizes that substantial investments are necessary for conserving biological diversity.
  • It argues that conservation efforts will lead to significant environmental, economic, and social benefits.

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity

  • Biosafety involves safeguarding human health and the environment from potential adverse impacts of modern biotechnology products.
  • The Convention acknowledges the dual aspects of modern biotechnology:
    • Access to and transfer of technologies.
    • Implementing procedures to heighten the safety of biotechnological technologies.
  • The Protocol's aim is to ensure a sufficient level of protection concerning the secure transfer, management, and utilization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced by modern biotechnology. These GMOs could negatively affect biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, while also considering risks to human health, particularly focusing on transboundary movements.
  • The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety acts as a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • The Protocol establishes regulations for the import and export of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) between countries.
  • Parties to the Protocol must guarantee that transported LMOs are handled, packaged, and transported safely.
  • Shipments of LMOs must be accompanied by detailed documentation identifying the LMOs, specifying safety requirements for handling, storage, transport, and use, and providing contact information for further inquiries.
  • There are two primary sets of procedures:
    • Advance Informed Agreement (AIA) procedure for LMOs intended for direct introduction into the environment.
    • Procedures for LMOs intended for direct use as food, feed, or for processing (LMOs-FFP).

Advance Informed Agreement

  • Under the AIA procedure, a country planning to export an LMO for intentional release into the environment must inform the importing Party before the first proposed export.
  • The importing Party must confirm receipt of the notification within 7-30 days and communicate its decision on importing the LMO within 270 days.
  • Decisions regarding LMO imports must be based on a scientifically sound and transparent risk assessment.
  • After making a decision on the LMO, the Party must share the decision and a summary of the risk assessment with the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH).

LMOs for Food, Feed, or Processing (LMOs-FFP)

  • Parties approving the market release of LMOs for food, feed, or processing must make their decision and relevant information, including risk assessment reports, publicly accessible via the BCH.

Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol

  • The Nagoya—Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol strengthens the Cartagena Protocol.
  • It outlines specific actions to address biodiversity damage caused by LMOs.
  • The competent authority in a Party to the Supplementary Protocol must ensure the operator of the LMO takes response measures or may enact these measures itself, recovering costs from the operator.

Nagoya Protocol

  • The Nagoya Protocol supplements the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • It focuses on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS).


  • The protocol outlines essential responsibilities for contracting Parties.
  • These obligations pertain to access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing, and compliance.

(i) Access obligations

  • Domestic-level access measures are to:
    • Create legal certainty, clarity, and transparency
    • Provide fair and non-arbitrary rules and procedures
    • Establish clear rules and procedures for prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms
    • Provide for the issuance of a permit or equivalent when access is granted
    • Create conditions to promote and encourage research contributing to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use
    • Pay due regard to cases of present or imminent emergencies that threaten human, animal, or plant health
    • Consider the importance of genetic resources for food and agriculture for food security

(ii) Benefit-sharing obligations:

  • Domestic-level benefit-sharing measures aim to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits resulting from the use of genetic resources provided by the contracting party offering genetic resources.
  • Utilization encompasses research and development concerning the genetic or biochemical makeup of genetic resources, along with subsequent applications and commercialization.
  • Sharing is contingent on mutually agreed terms.
  • Benefits can be either monetary or non-monetary, such as royalties and the exchange of research findings.

(iii) Compliance obligations

  • Specific obligations to support compliance with the domestic legislation or regulatory requirements of the contracting party providing genetic resources, and contractual obligations reflected in mutually agreed terms, are a significant innovation of the Nagoya Protocol.
  • Contracting Parties are to:
    • Take measures providing that genetic resources utilized within their jurisdiction have been accessed in accordance with prior informed consent, and that mutually agreed terms have been established, as required by another contracting party.
    • Cooperate in cases of alleged violation of another contracting party's requirements.
    • Encourage contractual provisions on dispute resolution in mutually agreed terms.
    • Ensure an opportunity is available to seek recourse under their legal systems when disputes arise from mutually agreed terms.
    • Take measures regarding access to justice.
    • Take measures to monitor the utilization of genetic resources after they leave a country including by designating effective checkpoints at any stage of the value-chain: research, development, innovation, pre-commercialization, or commercialization.

Traditional knowledge

  • The Nagoya Protocol focuses on traditional knowledge linked to genetic resources, covering aspects of access, benefit-sharing, and compliance.
  • It pertains to genetic resources where indigenous and local communities hold the recognized authority to permit access to them.
  • Contracting Parties must implement measures ensuring the prior informed consent of these communities, along with fair and equitable benefit-sharing, respecting community laws, procedures, customary use, and exchange.

Importance of the Nagoya Protocol:

  • Creates greater legal certainty and transparency for providers and users of genetic resources
  • Establishes predictable conditions for access to genetic resources
  • Helps ensure benefit-sharing when genetic resources are accessed
  • Generates incentives for conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources
  • Enhances biodiversity's contribution to development and human well-being

Objective of the Nagoya Protocol:

  • Ensures fair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resource utilization
  • Contributes to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use
  • Provides a transparent legal framework for implementing one of the CBD's objectives
  • The Biodiversity Target was established in May 2002 at the sixth Conference of the Parties to the Convention.
  • The goal of the target was to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, globally, regionally, and nationally. This was intended as a contribution to poverty alleviation and the well-being of all life on earth.
  • Regrettably, the target set for 2010 was not met, highlighting the escalating biodiversity crisis.
  • In light of the increasing biodiversity crisis, there is a pressing need for a new, transparent, and achievable target to address this challenge.

Biodiversity Target

  • It was adopted in May 2002 during the sixth Conference of the Parties to the Convention
  • The Target aimed to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss on Biological Diversity.
  • At the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth’.

Strategic Plan For Biodiversity 2011 - 2020

  • In the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, held in 2010, in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, adopted a revised and updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, for the 2011 - 2020 period.
  • The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties agreed to translate this overarching International framework into national biodiversity strategies and action plans within two years.
  • Additionally, the meeting decided that the fifth national reports, due by 1 March 2014, should Focus on the implementation of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan and progress achieved towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
    1. Strategic Goal A : Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across Government and society
    2. Strategic Goal B : Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use
    3. Strategic Goal C : To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.
    4. Strategic Goal D : Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services By 2015, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization
    5. Strategic Goal E : Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity Building


  • One of the most important outcomes of the CoP is the commitment of the Parties to double. The international financial flows for Bio Diversity by 2015. This will translate into additional financial flows to the developing countries to the tune of about US $ 30 billion in the next 8 years.
  • India has committed US $50 million towards strengthening the institutional mechanism for e Convention on Biodiversity conservation in the country during its presidency of Biodiversity (CBD) called the Hyderabad Pledge.
  • The funds will be used to enhance technical and human capabilities at the national and state level mechanisms to attain the CBD objectives India formally took charge of the presidency of CBD from Japan for the next two years on October 8 at the inaugural of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP 11) to CBD
  • India has instituted together with UNDP Biodiversity Governance Awards.
  • The first such awards were, given during the CoP 11. It is now proposed to institute Rajiv Gandhi International Award for Harnessing Biodiversity For Livelihood.


  • The Convention on Wetlands [waterfowl convention] is an intergovernmental treaty that Provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the Conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975, and it is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem.
  • Ramsar is not affiliated with the United Nations system of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, but it works very closely with the other MEAs and is a full partner among The "biodiversity-related cluster*’ of treaties and agreements.
  • World Wetlands Day, 2 February every year.
  • Number of Contracting Parties: 163 "The conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national Actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world. 
  • “Three pillars" of the Convention

The Parties have committed themselves to 

  • Work towards the wise use of all their wetlands through national land-use planning, appropriate Policies and legislation, management actions, and public education; 
  • Designate suitable wetlands for the List of Wetlands ol'International Importance (“Ramsar List") and ensure their effective management; 
  • Cooperate internationally concerning trans boundary wetlands, shared wetland systems, shared speeds, and development projects that may affect wetlands.

The Montreux Record 

  • Adopted by the Conference of the Contracting Parties in Brisbane, 1996, accompanying the Guidelines for Operation of the Montreux Record 
  • The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International 
  • Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
  • It is the the principal tool of the Convention and is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.

Indian wetland and the Montreux Record 

  • Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan and Loktak Lake, Manipur have been included in Montreux Record in 1990 and in 1993 respectively 
  • Chilika Lake, Orissa included in Montreux Record in 1993 but have been removed in November 2002.
  • Chilika Lake gets Wetland Conservation Award for 2002.


Five global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been associated with the treaty since its beginnings and were confirmed in the formal status of International Organization Partners (lOPs) of the Convention.

  • Bird Life International (formerly ICBP) 
  • TUCN - The International Union for the Conservation of Nature 
  • IWMI - The International Water Management institute
  • Wetlands International (formerly IWRB, the Asian Wetlands Bureau, and. Wetlands for the Americas)
  • WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) International 

The Changwon Declaration on human well-being and wetlands

  • The Changwon Declaration highlights positive action for ensuring human well-being and Security in the future under the themes water, climate change, people's livelihood and health, land use change, and biodiversity, 

India and wetland convention 

  • India became a contracting party to the Ramsar Convention in 1981 and has been implementing conservation programmes for wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs.
  • India presently has 26 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance.
  • There is close coordination between implementing units of Ramsar with that of CBD at the national level.
  • India took a lead role in the formulation of Ramsar guidelines on integration of wetlands into river basin management.


  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments entered' into force in 1975, and became the only treaty to ensure that international trade in plants and animals does not threaten their survival in the wild.
  • Currently 176 countries are Parties to CITES

CITES is administered through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Protecting Species from Unsustainable Trade

  • Species for which trade is controlled are listed in one of three Appendices to CITES, each conferring a different level of regulation and requiring CITES permits or certificates.

Appendix 1 :

  • Includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level of protection, including restrictions on commercial trade. • Examples include gorillas, sea turtles, most lady slipper orchids, and giant pandas.

Appendix 2 :

  • Includes species that although currently not threatened with extinction, may become so without Trade controls. It also includes species that resemble other listed species and need to be regulated in order to effectively control the trade in those other listed species.

Appendix 3 :

  • Includes species for which a range country has asked other Parties to help in controlling International trade. Examples include map turtles, walruses and Cape stag beetles COP13, these meeting were held every two years; since then, CoPs are held every three years.2013,( in Bangkok)
  • COP 16 is scheduled to occur from March 3-14,

TRAFFIC : The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network
TRAFFIC is a joint conservation programme of WWF and IUCN.

  • It was established in 1976 by the Species Survival Commission of IUCN,
  • TRAFFIC has grown to become the world’s largest wildlife trade monitoring programme, and a global expert on wildlife trade issues. This non-governmental organization
  • To ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS)

  • The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their Bonn Convention) Range.
  • It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment The Agreements may range from legally binding treaties (called Agreements) to less formal Instruments, such as Memoranda of Understanding, and can be adapted to the requirements of particular regions

Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT)

  • Aims to focus public and political attention and resources on ending the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products.
  • Initiated in 2005, CAWT is a unique voluntary public-private coalition
  • CAWT is leveraging the combined strengths of government and nongovernmental partners to : Improve Wildlife Law Enforcement by expanding enforcement training and information
  • Sharing and strengthening regional cooperative networks Reduce consumer demand for illegally traded wildlife by raising awareness of the impacts of illegal wildlife trade on biodiversity Catalyse high-level political will to fight wildlife trafficking

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)

  • ITTO is an intergovernmental organization, under UN (1986) promoting the conservation and Sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources.

United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF)

  • The Economic and .Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), established the UNFF In October 2000, a subsidiary body with the main objective to promote "the management, Conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end" based on the Rio Declaration, the Forest Principles, Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 and the outcome of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) Processes and other key milestones of international forest policy.
  • The Forum has universal membership, and is composed of all Member States of the United Nations and specialized agencies Enhance the contribution of forests to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, 

The four Global Objectives seek to :

  • Reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide through sustainable forest management (SFM), Including protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation, and increase efforts to prevent forest degradation;
  • Enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits; including by improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent people;
  • Increase significantly the area of sustainably managed forests, including protected forests, and increase the proportion of forest products derived from sustainably managed forests; and
  • Reverse the decline in official development assistance for sustainable forest management and Mobilize significantly-increased new and additional financial resources from all sources for the implementation of SFM


  • Its full legal name is International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
  • It is an international organisation working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources Founded in 1948 in Fontainebleau, France.
  • .HQ: Gland, Switzerland
  • It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, lobbying and education.
  • Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now Incorporates issues related to gender equality, poverty alleviation and sustainable business in its projects.
  • It publishes IUCN Red List which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide
  • IUCN has observer and consultative status at the United Nations. Both Governments and NGOs are its members.


  • Is an inter-governmental and international body established with members from willing Countries to embark on a worldwide campaign, common approach, promotion of appropriate programmes and controls to save the remaining five sub-species of tigers in the wild
  • Distributed over 14 tiger range countries Of the world.
  • Formed in 1994 with its secretariat at New Delhi, GTF is the only inter-governmental & international body campaigning to save the TIGER worldwide.
  • The General Assembly of GTF shall meet once in three years.
  • To promote a worldwide campaign to save the tiger, its prey and its habitat;
  • To promote a legal framework in the countries involved for bio-diversity conservation;
  • To increase the protected area network of habitats of the tiger and facilitate their inter passages In the range countries;
  • To promote eco-development programmes with the participation of the communities living in And around protected areas elimination of illegal trade; scientific research
  • The development and exchange among themselves, of appropriate technologies and training programmes for scientific wildlife management
  • To set up a participative fund of an appropriate size to engender awareness in all places

Global Tiger Initiative

  • An alliance of governments, international, agencies, civil society, and the private sector united to Save wild tigers from extinction

Goals of GSTI

  • To support capacity-building in governments for responding effectively to the transnational Challenge of illegal trade in wildlife and for scientifically managing tiger landscapes in the face of mounting and varied threats
  • To curtail international demand for tiger parts and other wildlife.
  • To create innovative and sustainable financing mechanisms for tiger landscapes including Protected areas;
  • To build strong local constituencies for tiger conservation through development of economic Incentives and alternative livelihoods for local people"
  • To develop mechanisms for safeguarding habitats from development through planning "'smart, green' infrastructure and sensitive industrial development;
  • To spread the recognition among governments, international aid agencies and the public that tiger habitats are high-value diverse ecosystems with the potential to provide immense benefits- both tangible and intangible

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was adopted at a Conference of Plenipotentiaries on 22 May 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden and entered into force on 17 May 2004,

  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are organic chemical substances, that is, they are carbon- based: 
  • They possess a particular combination of physical and chemical properties such that, once released into the environment, they: 
  • Remain intact for exceptionally long periods of time (many years); 
  • Become widely distributed throughout the environment as a result of natural processes involving soil, Water and, most notably, air; 
  • Accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms including humans; and are found at higher concentrations at higher levels in the food chain; are toxic to both humans and wildlife not soluble in water

The 12 initial POPs
Initially, twelve POPs have been recognized as causing adverse effects on humans and the ecosystem and these can be placed in 3 categories:
1. Pesticides : aldriri, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene;
2. Industrial chemicals : hexachlorobenzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and
3. By-products hexachlorobenzene; Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-dioxins And polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDF), and PCBs.

The new POPs under the Stockholm Convention Nine New POPS 

  • Pesticides : chlordecone, alpha hexachloro- cyclohexane, beta hexachlorocyclohexane, linden, pe ntachlorobenz en e; 
  • Industrial chemicals : Hexabromobiphenyl, hexabromodiphenyl ether and hePtabro-modiphenyl ether, pentachlorobenzene, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride, tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether; and By-products:,alpha hexachlorocyclohexane, beta hexachlorocyclohexane and pentachlorobenzene 
  • Endosulfan : At its fifth meeting held in 2011, the CoP adopted an amendment to Annex A to the Stockholm Convention to list technical endos ulfan and related isomers with a specific exemption


  • The Basel Convention on the Control of Trans boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes And their Disposal was adopted on 22 March 1989 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Basel, Switzerland,


  • To protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous Wastes.
  • Its scope of application covers a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous wastes” based on
  • Their origin, and/or composition and their characteristics, as well as two types of wastes defined as “other wastes” -household waste and incinerator ash.

Principal aims :

  • The reduction of hazardous waste generation and the promotion of environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, wherever the place of disposal;
  • The restriction of trans boundary movements of hazardous wastes a regulatory system applying to cases where trans boundary movements are permissible Examples of wastes regulated by the Basel Convention Biomedical and healthcare wastes Used oils Used lead acid batteries
  • Persistent Organic Pollutant wastes (POPs wastes),
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs),
  • Thousands of chemical wastes generated by industries and other consumers


  • It was adopted in 1998 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and entered into force on 24 February 2004.
  • The Convention creates legally binding obligations for the implementation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure. It built on the voluntary PIC procedure, initiated by UNEP and FAO in 1989 and ceased on 24 February 2006.
  • The Convention covers pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned ,or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by Parties and which have been notified by Parties for inclusion in the PIC procedure.

Objectives :

  • To promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm; 


  • Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation.
  • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is one of the Rio Conventions that focuses on desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD).
  • "Desertification' as-defined in the UNCCD refers to land degradation in the drylands (arid, semi arid and dry sub humid regions) resulting from various factors and does not connote spread or expansion of deserts. UNCCD with 194 Parties
  • The convention aims at adaption and can, on implementation, significantly contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as sustainable development and poverty reduction by means of arresting and reversing land degradation. 
  • The convention promotes sustainable land management (SLM) as solution to global challenges

International Whaling Commission

  • Is the global intergovernmental body charged with the conservation of whales and the Management of whaling with headquarters in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
  • It was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was Signed in Washington DC on 2nd December 1946 


  • To provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly Development of the whaling industry.
  • In 1986 the Commission introduced zero catch limits for commercial whaling. This provision is still in place today, although the Commission continues to set catch limits for aboriginal subsistence whaling.


  • Vienna convention adopted in the year 1985 and entered into force in 1988.
  • It acts as a framework for the international efforts to protect the ozone layer however it does not include legally binding reduction goals for the use of CFCs.
  • With 197 parties, they are the most widely ratified treaties in United Nations history.

Montreal Protocol

  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was 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.
  • The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987, and entered into force on January 1, 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989.
  • Since then, it has undergone seven revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing).

India and Protection of Ozone Layer

  • India became a Party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of Ozone Layer on 19 June 199land the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer on 17 September 1992
  • Consequently, it ratified the Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing Amendments in 2003. India produces CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, Halon-1211, HCFC-22, Halon-1301, Carbon tetrachloride (CTC), methyl chloroform and methyl bromide.
  • These ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) are used in refrigeration and air conditioning, fire Fighting, electronics, foams, aerosol fumigation applications.
  • A detailed India Country Programme for phase out of ODS was prepared in 1993 The Ministry of Environment and Forests established an Ozone Cell and a steering committee on the Montreal Protocol to facilitate implementation of the India Country Programme for Phasing out ODS (ozone depleting substances) production by 2010.
  • In order to meet the objectives of the Protocol, the Indian government has granted full Exemption from payment of Customs and Central Excise Duties on import of goods designed exclusively for non-ODS technology


  • The FAO recognizes the agricultural heritage regions of the world under a programme titled Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) purpose of (GIAHS) is to recognize “Remarkable land use systems and landscapes which are rich in globally significant biological diversity evolving from the co-adaptation of a community with its environment and its needs and aspirations for sustainable development”.
  • In our country so far the following sites have received recognition under this programme :
    1. Traditional Agricultural System, Koraput, Odisha
    2. Below Sea Level Farming System, Kuttanad, Kerala
  • In the Koraput system, women have played a key role in the conservation of biodiversity. The Kuttanad system was developed by farmers over 150 years ago to ensure their food security by learning to cultivate rice and other crops below sea level.
  • The Kuttanad System is now attracting worldwide attention since one of the effects of global warming is sea level rise.
  • It has therefore been an act of vision on the part of Kerala government to have decided to, set up
  • An International Research and Training Centre for Below Sea Level Farming in Kuttanad.
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FAQs on Shankar IAS Summary: International Environmental Convention- 1 - Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests)

1. What is the purpose of international environmental conventions?
Ans. International environmental conventions are designed to promote global cooperation and address common environmental challenges. They aim to establish legally binding agreements between countries to protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and combat climate change. These conventions provide a platform for countries to work together and develop strategies, policies, and actions for sustainable development.
2. Which are the major international environmental conventions?
Ans. Some of the major international environmental conventions include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. These conventions address various environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, and ozone depletion.
3. How are international environmental conventions enforced?
Ans. International environmental conventions are enforced through a combination of mechanisms. These may include setting targets and commitments for countries to achieve, establishing reporting and monitoring systems to track progress, conducting regular meetings and conferences to review implementation, and providing financial and technical assistance to support countries in meeting their obligations. Additionally, conventions may have their own secretariats or bodies responsible for facilitating implementation and compliance.
4. What is the role of non-state actors in international environmental conventions?
Ans. Non-state actors, including civil society organizations, businesses, and research institutions, play a crucial role in international environmental conventions. They contribute through advocacy, knowledge sharing, capacity building, and implementation of projects and initiatives. Non-state actors often participate in conferences and meetings, providing expertise and perspectives to inform decision-making. Their involvement helps enhance the effectiveness and inclusiveness of international environmental governance.
5. How do international environmental conventions contribute to sustainable development?
Ans. International environmental conventions contribute to sustainable development by promoting the integration of environmental considerations into policies, plans, and actions at the national and international levels. They help countries address environmental challenges in a holistic manner, considering social, economic, and environmental dimensions. By fostering global cooperation and knowledge exchange, these conventions facilitate the sharing of best practices, technologies, and resources, supporting the transition towards more sustainable and resilient societies.
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Shankar IAS Summary: International Environmental Convention- 1 | Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests)




Shankar IAS Summary: International Environmental Convention- 1 | Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests)