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The importance of international cooperation across a diversity of topics is increasingly recognized. An ever more interconnected world demands multilateral approaches to trade, security, migration, and a host of other issues. In the environmental context, in particular, there is an appreciation that environmental degradation is often a global problem and, as such, requires global responses. The depletion of the ozone layer, loss of biodiversity and spread of persistent organic pollutants, for instance, resulted from human activity in countries around the world and have impacts that extend far beyond national borders. As a result, domestic conservation and environmental management strategies alone are insufficient to conserve shared natural resources and safeguard the global ecosystem. International cooperation is not only fundamental; it has also been recognized as the best and most effective way for governments to tackle trans-boundary or global environmental problems.

The growth of international concern to protect migratory wild life, marine animals and fisheries started during 1872 itself i.e. a century before Stockholm conference but due to the absence of institutional machinery, treaties proved to be not so effective. The machinery that was chosen for international concern was a group of private citizens i.e., the non-governmental congress for protection of nature.

The environment has always been critical to life but concerns over the balance between human life and the environment assumed international dimensions only during the 1950’s.The 1970’s was the foundation of modern environmentalism. It was for the first time when various countries for the first time came together to discuss the concerns of environmental pollution, global warming and threat to ozone layer.

The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is elaborated in the Rio Declaration: “States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command.”

In light of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, MEAs1 seek to address environmental problems in a balanced and equitable manner, acknowledging the different contribution of countries to the causes of environmental problems and their diverse capacities to resolve them. To accomplish this, each MEA contains different sets of measures intended to complement and support each other, typically with provisions establishing regulatory parameters.

International environmental policies are in the form of treaties, multilateral agreements, conventions and conferences. An overview of some of the major multilateral agreements, treaties and conventions on environment obligations are discussed below:

The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, i.e. to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value. The Ramsar Convention is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem. The treaty was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and the Convention's member countries cover all geographic regions of the planet. The Convention uses a broad definition of the types of wetlands covered in its mission, including lakes and rivers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands and peat lands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, near-shore marine areas, mangroves and coral reefs, and human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and salt pans.

The United Nations Conference on the human environment held at Stockholm on 5th and 6th June 1972, generally called as the Stockholm Conference, was the first declaration of international protection of the environment. In the conference, 113 States, including India, participated and accepted the declaration. The Stockholm Declaration contains 26 principles. These principles provide the basis of an International Policy for the Protection and improvement of the environment. The United Nations Environment Programme has been established by the United Nations General Assembly in pursuance of the Stockholm Conference. The UNEP worked as catalyst stimulator and coordinator among the member states on the environmental action.

The Conference aimed to control or prevent international commercial trade in endangered species or products derived from them. The Convention did not seek to directly protect endangered species, rather it aimed to reduce the economic incentive to poach endangered species and destroy their habitat by closing off the international market.

The convention opened for signature in 1979 and entered into force in 1983. The aim of the Convention is that Parties shall endeavour to limit and, as far as possible, gradually reduce and prevent air pollution including long-range transboundary air pollution. Parties develop policies and strategies to combat the discharge of air pollutants through exchanges of information, consultation, research and monitoring. It is implemented by the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP), directed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). India is not a part of this convention.

The Nairobi Declaration was adopted at Nairobi for celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Stockholm conference on human Environment in 1972. The Declaration envisaged the creation of a special commission to frame long term environment strategies for achieving sustainable developments upto the year 2000 and beyond. The Declaration was endorsed by the governing Council of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1987.

The Vienna Convention was adopted in 1985. It became an important legal basis for taking international action to protect the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. Among the objectives set out in the Convention is for Parties to promote cooperation by means of systematic observations, research and information exchange on the effects of human activities on the ozone layer and to adopt legislative or administrative measures against activities likely to have adverse effects on the ozone layer.

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty is structured around several groups of halogenated hydrocarbons that have been shown to play a role in ozone depletion. All of these ozone depleting substances contain either chlorine or bromine (substances containing fluorine-only do not harm the ozone layer). The treaty was opened for signature in 1987 and entered into force in 1989. Since then, it has undergone five revisions, in 1990 (London), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing).In a major innovation the protocol recognized that all nations should not be treated equally. The agreement acknowledges that certain countries have contributed to ozone depletion more than others. It also recognizes that a nation’s obligation to reducecurrent emissions should reflect its technological and financial ability to do so.

The concept of 'sustainable development' was crystallized in the 1987 report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development - The Brundtland Commission - which drew upon long established lines of thought that had developed substantially over the previous 20 years. The Brundtland Commission's characterization of 'sustainable development' is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The prominence given to 'needs' reflects a concern to eradicate poverty and meet basic human needs, broadly understood. The concept of sustainable development focused attention on finding strategies to promote economic and social development in ways that avoided environmental degradation, over-exploitation or pollution, and sidelined less productive debates about whether to prioritize development or the environment.

It is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs). It does not, however, address the movement of radioactive waste. The Convention is also intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes and to assist LDCs in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.

6.2.10. 1992: AGENDA 21
Agenda 21 is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organisations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans affect the environment. The number 21 refers to the 21st century. The full text of Agenda 21 was revealed at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED / "Earth Summit"), held in Rio de Janeiro on 14 June 1992 where 179 governments voted to adopt the program. The implementation of Agenda 21 was intended to involve action at international, national, regional and local levels. In 1997, the General Assembly of the UN held a special session to appraise five years of progress on the implementation of Agenda 21 (+5). The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit 2002) affirmed UN commitment to 'full implementation' of Agenda 21, alongside achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other international agreements.

The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty produced at the Earth Summit in 1992. The treaty aims at reducing emissions of greenhouse gas in order to combat global warming. Its stated objective is "to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a low enough level to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." The treaty as originally framed set no mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual nations and contained no enforcement provisions; it is therefore considered legally non-binding. Rather, the treaty included provisions for updates (called "protocols") that would set mandatory emission limits. The principal update is the Kyoto Protocol, which has become much better known than the UNFCCC itself. The treaty was opened for signature in 1992 and entered into force in 1994.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty that was adopted at the Earth Summit in 1992. The Convention has three main goals:
1. Conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity);
2. Sustainable use of its components;
3. Fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.

In other words, its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. The convention recognized for the first time in international law that the conservation of biological diversity is "a common concern of humankind" and is an integral part of the development process. The agreement covers all ecosystems, species, and genetic resources. It links traditional conservation efforts to the economic goal of using biological resources sustainably. It sets principles for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits. It also covers the rapidly expanding field of biotechnology throughCartagena Protocol on Biosafety, addressing technology development and transfer, benefit-sharing and biosafety issues. Importantly, the Convention is legally binding; countries that join it are obliged to implement its provisions.

The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement made under the UNFCCC. Countries that ratify this protocol commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases (Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Sulphur Hexafluoride, Hydrofluorocarbons and Perfluorocarbons), or engage in emissions trading if they maintain or increase emissions of these gases. Under the protocol, Governments are separated into two general categories: countries among the developed nations, referred to as Annex 1 countries (who have accepted GHG emission reduction obligations and must submit an annual greenhouse gas inventory); and countries among developing or least developed nations, referred to as Non-Annex 1 countries (who have no GHG emission reduction obligations but may participate in the Clean Development Mechanism).The Kyoto Protocol could enter into force once it was ratified by 55 countries, including countries responsible for 55 per cent of the developed world's 1990 carbon dioxide emissions.

By 2008-2012, Annex 1 countries have to reduce their GHG emissions by an average of 5% below their 1990 levels (for many countries, such as the EU member states, this corresponds to some 15% below their expected GHG emissions in 2008). While the average emissions reduction is 5%, national targets range from 8% reductions for the European Union to a 10% emissions increase for Iceland. Reduction targets expired in 2013. Kyoto Protocol includes "flexible mechanisms" which allow Annex 1 economies to meet their GHG targets by purchasing GHG emission reductions from elsewhere. These can be bought either from financial exchanges (International Emissions TradingScheme) or from projects which reduce emissions in non-Annex 1 economies under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), or in other Annex-1 countries under the Joint Implementation (JI).

Only CDM Executive Board-accredited Certified Emission Reductions (CER) can be bought and sold in this manner. Under the aegis of the UN, Kyoto established this Bonn-based Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board to assess and approve projects (“CDM Projects”) in Non-Annex 1 economies prior to awarding CERs. (A similar scheme called “Joint Implementation” or “JI” applies in transitional economies mainly covering the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe).The Protocol entered into force in 2005.
In Doha, Qatar, on 8 December 2012, the "Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol" was adopted.2 During the first commitment period, 37 industrialized countries and the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels. During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020; however, the composition of Parties in the second commitment period is different from the first. Belarus, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Malta are the country added to Annex B3 to the Kyoto Protocol. While Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, USA are out of the Annex B list.

The objectives of the Rotterdam Convention are: 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; and to contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and by disseminating these decisions to Parties. The Convention creates legally binding obligations for the implementation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure. The Rotterdam Convention was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in 2004.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health. It was adopted on 29 January 2000 and entered into force on 11 September 2003. lt establishes an advance informed agreement (AIA) procedure for ensuring that countries are provided with the information necessary to make informed decisions before agreeing to the import of such organisms into their territory. The Protocol also establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House to facilitate the exchange of information on living modified organisms and to assist countries in the implementation of the Protocol.

The Stockholm Convention is an international legally binding agreement on persistent organic pollutants. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes. Because of this, they have been observed to persist in the environment, to be capable of long-range transport, bio accumulate in human and animal tissue, bio magnify in food chains, and to have potential significant impacts on human health and the environment. Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and the International Programme for Chemical Safety (IPCS) prepared a list, known as the Dirty Dozen, including eight organochlorine pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphene; two industrial chemicals: hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) group; and two groups of industrial by-products: dioxins and furans. The convention entered into force in 2004. Co-signatories agree to outlaw nine of the "dirty dozen" chemicals, limit the use of DDT to malaria control, and curtail inadvertent production of dioxins and furans.

It is an international agreement which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding, thereby contributing to the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. It was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at its tenth meeting on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.
The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources is one of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Strategic Plan consists of 20 new biodiversity targets for 2020, termed the ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets4’. Official decisions on an indicator set to measure progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets will help cement the role the Partnership will play in supporting the CBD.

An international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The Convention is named after the Japanese city Minimata. This naming is of symbolic importance as the city went through devastating incident of mercury poisoning. It is expected that over the next few decades, this international agreement will enhance the reduction of mercury pollution from the targeted activities responsible for the major release of mercury to the immediate environment.


The United Nations Climate Change Conferences are yearly conferences held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They serve as the formal meeting of the UNFCCC Parties (Conferences of the Parties) (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change, and beginning in the mid-1990s, to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Also parties to the Convention that are not parties to the Protocol can participate in Protocol-related meetings as observers. The first conference was held in 1995 in Berlin. The Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 after the negotiations at COP 3.

COP13 in Bali (2007)
The Bali Road Map was adopted at the 13th Conference of the Parties and the 3rd Meeting of the Parties in December 2007 in Bali. The Bali Road Map includes the Bali Action Plan, which charts the course for a new negotiating process designed to tackle climate change. The Bali Action Plan aimed at (i) shared vision for long-term cooperative action, including a long-term global goal for emission reductions, (ii) enhanced national/ international action on mitigation of climate change, (iii) enhanced action on adaptation, (iv) enhanced action on technology development and transfer to support action on mitigation and adaptation, & (v) enhanced action on the provision of financial resources and investment to support action on mitigation and adaptation and technology cooperation. There was a strong consensus for updated changes for both developed and developing countries. Although there were not specific numbers agreed upon in order to cut emissions, the Decision recognized that there was a need for "deep cuts in global emissions" (plural countries proposed 100% reduction in 2050) and that "developed country emissions must fall 10-40% by 2020".

COP15 in Copenhagen (2009)
The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference raised climate change policy to the highest political level. It advanced many key issues like it raised climate change policy to the highest political level; it advanced the negotiations on the infrastructure needed for well-functioning, global climate change cooperation; It produced the Copenhagen Accord. The accord endorsed the continuation of the Kyoto protocol and emphasised a "strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”. It was not adopted by all governments, but it advanced a number of key issues; and it committed developed countries to $30 billion fast-start financing (in 2010-2012) for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, with priority given to the least developed countries.

COP16 in Cancun (2010)
The agreements encompassed finance, technology and capacity-building support to help such countries meet urgent needs to adapt to climate change, and to speed up their plans to adopt sustainable paths to low emission economies that could also resist the negative impacts of climate change. The Cancun Agreements main objectives covered Mitigation plans to establish clear goals and a timely schedule for reducing human-generated greenhouse gas emissions over time to keep the global average temperature rise below two degrees. It aimed at promoting transparency of actions and use of technology to boost efforts to address climate change. It also aimed to set up the Green Climate Fund5to provide support to developing countries to assist them in mitigating climate change and adapting to its impacts.

COP17 in Durban (2011)
In Durban, governments clearly recognized the need to draw up the blueprint for a fresh universal, legal agreement to deal with climate change beyond 2020. All governments committed in Durban to a comprehensive plan that would come closer over time to delivering the ultimate objective of the Climate Change Convention: to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent our dangerous interference with the climate system and at the same time will preserve the right to sustainable development.
Four main areas of coordinated and complementary action and implementation, designed also to build and preserve trust among countries, were agreed:
1) Second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol - The continuation of the current international legal system through a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol till 2020.
2) Launch of new platform of negotiations - The launch of a new platform of negotiations under the Convention to deliver a new and universal greenhouse gas reduction protocol, legal instrument or other outcome with legal force by 2015 for the period beyond 2020. This new negotiation critically includes finding ways to further raise the existing level of national and international action and stated ambition to bring greenhouse gas emissions down.

3) Conclusion in 2012 of existing broad-based stream of negotiations - A decision to conclude within 2012 the work of the existing broad-based stream of negotiations that includes all member nations under the Convention. This includes work to make existing national emission reduction or emission limitation plans more transparent. It also encompasses the launch and long-term implementation of the comprehensive global support network that will deliver funding and technology to help developing countries build their own clean energy futures and construct societies and economies which are resilient to climate change.

4) Global Review - To scope out and then conduct a fresh global review of the emerging climate challenge, based on the best available science and data, first to ensure whether a maximum two-degree rise is enough or whether an even lower 1.5 degree rise is required, and then to ensure that collective action is adequate to prevent the average global temperature rising beyond the agreed limit.

COP18 in Doha (2012)
Governments consolidated the gains of international climate change negotiations and opened a gateway to necessary greater ambition and action on all levels. The governments agreed to strengthen their resolve and set out a timetable to adopt a universal climate agreement by 2015, which will come into effect in 2020; to streamline the negotiations, completing the work under the Bali Action Plan to concentrate on the new work towards a 2015 agreement under a single negotiating stream in the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP); launched a new commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.

Timetable for the 2015 global climate change agreement and increasing ambition before 2020 - So that the world has a chance to stay below an agreed maximum 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise, beyond which even more serious climate change impacts will occur, governments agreed to speedily work toward a universal climate change agreement covering all countries from 2020, to be adopted by 2015.

Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol - The Kyoto Protocol, as the only existing and binding agreement under which developed countries undertake quantitative commitments to cut greenhouse gases, was amended so that it could seamlessly continue.
1) Governments decided on an 8 year second commitment period that started on January 1st 2013.
2) The legal requirements that will allow a smooth continuation of the Protocol were agreed, and the valuable accounting rules of the Protocol were preserved.
3) Countries that are taking on further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol agreed to review their emission reduction commitments at the latest by 2014, with a view to increasing their respective levels of ambition.
4) The Kyoto Protocol's Market Mechanisms – the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and International Emissions Trading (IET) – will continue.
5) Access to the mechanisms remains uninterrupted for all developed countries that have accepted targets for the second commitment period.
6) Surplus assigned amount units (AAUs) can be carried over without limit from the first to the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol by Parties included in Annex I that have a target for the second commitment period.

COP 18 endorsed the selection of the Republic of Korea as the host of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the work plan of the Standing Committee on Finance. The GCF was expected to start its work in Songdo in the second half of 2013. Developed countries reiterated their commitment to deliver on promises to continue Long-term climate finance support to developing nations, with a view to mobilizing USD 100 billion annually from a variety of sources both for adaptation and mitigation by 2020.

Governments would continue a work programme on long-term finance during 2013 to identify pathways for mobilizing scaled-up finance to reach the 100 billion target by 2020. Also, the Governments launched a robust process to review the long-term temperature goal, which is to start in 2013 and conclude by 2015, aimed at providing a reality check on the advance of the climate change threat and the possible need to mobilize further action.

COP19 in Warsaw (2013)
Governments took further essential decisions to stay on track towards securing a universal climate change agreement in 2015. The objective of the 2015 agreement is twofold: First, to bind nations together into an effective global effort to reduce emissions rapidly enough to chart humanity's longer-term path out of the danger zone of climate change, while building adaptation capacity; second, to stimulate faster and broader action. The governments decided to move towards a universal agreement that required monitoring, reporting and verification arrangements for domestic action have been finalized for implementation, thereby providing a solid foundation for the 2015 agreement, which will enter into force in 2020. The conference strengthened efforts to mobilize USD 100 billion by 2020. It was also decided to convene Ministerial meetings on long-term finance every two years for the period 2014-2020. Also, the rulebook for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation was agreed, together with measures to bolster forest preservation and a results-based payment system to promote forest protection.

The framework for measuring, reporting and verifying mitigation efforts, including by developing countries, is now fully operational. It means that the mitigation, sustainability and support efforts of countries can now be better measured. This will also provide confidence to donors and investors who are potentially interested in financing nationally appropriate mitigation actions. The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN)was established with an aim to stimulating technology cooperation and transfer to developing countries.

However, The G77 and China bloc led 132 poor countries in a walk out during talks about “loss and damage6” compensation for the consequences of global warming. Poor countries have demanded that the developed world give them $100 billion annually by 2020.
The COP 20 will be held in 2014 at Lima, Peru.

COP 20 in Lima (2014)
Nations concluded the elements of the new agreement, scheduled to be agreed in Paris in 2015, while also agreeing the ground rules on how all countries can submit contributions to the new agreement called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The INDCs combine the top-down system of a United Nations climate agreement with bottom-up system-in elements through which countries put forward their agreements in the context of their own national circumstances, capabilities and priorities, within the ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.
The Lima Climate Conference achieved a range of other important outcomes:
 Pledges were made by both developed and developing countries prior to take the capitalization of the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) past an initial $10 billion target.
 Levels of transparency and confidence-building measures as several industrialized countries submitted themselves to questioning about their emissions targets under a new process called a Multilateral Assessment.
 The Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness called on governments to put climate change into school curricula and climate awareness into national development plans.
 Recognition of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) offers an important way of delivering climate change resilience.
 Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage was confirmed for two years with a balanced representation of members from developing and developed countries.
 Information hub to be launched on the UNFCCC web site, spotlighting actions by countries carrying out REDD+ activities.

COP21 in Paris (2015)
The conference negotiated the Paris Agreement on the reduction of climate change, the text of which represents a consensus of the representatives of the 196 parties attending it. The agreement will become legally binding if joined by at least 55 countries which together represent at least 55 percent of global greenhouse emissions.

Such parties will need to sign the agreement and also adopt it within their own legal systems through ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession.

Important outcomes of the agreement are:

 It commits 196 countries to work together to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with a stretch goal of keeping below 1.5 C. It also calls for stopping the rise of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.

 In 2018, countries will take stock of their progress on meeting their pledges, and by 2020 they will have to produce new INDCs or restate the existing.
 The Paris Agreement is not a treaty, and countries’ INDCs are not binding. Still, the deal contains some binding elements, such as requiring countries to participate in a system for measuring their progress on achieving their goals.The implementation of the agreement by all member countries together will be evaluated every 5 years.
 Finance will be provided to poor nations to help them cut emissions and cope with the effects of extreme weather. Countries affected by climate-related disasters will gain urgent aid.

The INDC commitments are voluntary, which means there is no penalty for failing to meet them. And even if they are met, they will not put the world on a path to less than 2 C of warming. Under the most optimistic assumptions, the INDCs still set us on a path to 2.7 to 3.5 C of warming. INDCs of rich countries are not enough to meet their historical obligations. Further, ingenious rights of people suffering due to activities like fossil fuel extraction are mentioned in the preamble, but left out entirely of the operational text. Hence, there has been debate on the desired success of the agreement.


International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (InSPA)
PM Modi announced at the 2015 G-20 Summit that he, along with French President François Hollande, intends to propose creating an alliance of solar-rich countries similar to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Ahead of the climate summit, the two leaders sent written invitations to over 100 countries to join the coalition proposed to be called the International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (InSPA).


CBD COP 11 was held at Hyderabad, India in October 2012. It addressed issues such as capacity building, technology development and transfer, the adverse effects of climate change on developing and least developed countries, and several financial and budget-related issues, including guidelines to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which serves as the Convention’s financial mechanism. After lengthy negotiations, the COP also agreed on a process for considering future action beyond 2012 under the UNFCCC. Developed countries agreed to double funding to support efforts in developing states towards meeting the internationally-agreed Biodiversity Targets, and the main goals of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It included new measures to factor biodiversity into environmental impact assessments linked to infrastructure and other development projects in marine and coastal areas.

The COP also set targets to increase the number of countries that have included biodiversity in their national development plans, and prepare national financial plans for biodiversity, by 2015. The 193 Parties to the CBD agreed to classify a diverse list of marine areas, some renowned for containing ‘hidden treasures’ of the plant and animal world, as ecologically or biologically significant.

The future we want – The Head of government of the various states assembled at Rio de Janeiro in 2012 to mark the 20 years of the Earth Summit. They recognized that opportunities for people to influence their lives and future, participate in decision-making and voice their concerns are fundamental for sustainable development. It aimed at renewing political commitment via reaffirming the Rio Principles and past action plans; Advancing integration, implementation and coherence by assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges. The summit emphasized on Green economy7 in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The summit gave due consideration to International financial institutions and United Nations operational activities at regional, national, sub national and local levels. The framework for action included poverty eradication, food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, energy, sustainable transport, sustainable cities and human settlements, human health and promoting full and productive employment, decent work for all and social protection. It also emphasized on climate change, forest protection, and conservation of biodiversity, land degradation, sustainable consumption, gender equality and women empowerment.

Considering the complexity in terms of conservation of biodiversity, sustainability of the natural ecosystems and the livelihood dependence of the local communities, the government needs to address national and global issues related to carbon accumulation, biodiversity conservation, and continued flow of ecosystem services. These measures provide opportunities for strengthening documentation and data collection; empowering local communities by recognizing responsibilities, ownerships, rights, and concessions; and creating suitable institutions. The legislative provisions developed as a follow-up to such national policies are listed below:

6.4.1. INDIAN FOREST ACT, 1927
This Act recognises forest dwellers' rights and makes conservation more accountable.The Act basically does two things: (i) Grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities, partially correcting the injustice caused by the forest laws, and (ii) Makes a beginning towards giving communities and the public a voice in forest and wildlife conservation.

The law recognises three types of rights: Land Rights- Land rights are given to people, who have been cultivating land prior to December, 13, 2005.Use Rights- The law provides for rights to use and/or collect the minor forest produce things like tendupatta, herbs, medicinal plants etc “that has been traditionally collected, use of grazing grounds and water bodies and use of traditional areas by nomadic or pastoralist communities i.e. communities that move with their herds, as opposed to practicing settled agriculture. Right to Protect and Conserve- Besides, the law also gives rights to protect and manage the forests to people of village communities.

The Act also categorises forests into three categories: Reserve forest- These forests are the most restricted forests and may be constituted by the State Government on any forest land or waste land which is the property of the Government or on which the Government has proprietary rights. In reserved forests, most uses by local people are prohibited, unless specifically allowed by a Forest Officer in the course of settlement. Protected forest- The State Government is empowered to constitute any land other than reserved forests as protected forests over which the Government has proprietary rights. Under ‘Protected Forests’, the Government retains the power to issue rules regarding the use of such forests and retains the power to reserve the specific tree species in the protected forests. This power has been used to establish State control over trees, whose timber, fruit or other non-wood products have revenue-raising potential. Village forest- ‘Village forests’ are the one in which the State Government may assign to ‘any village community the rights of Government to or over any land which has been constituted a reserved forest’.

The act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants and matters connected with them, with a view to ensure the ecological and environmental security of India. The act constitutes a National Board for Wildlife that provides guidelines for framing policies and advising Central and State Government on promotion of wildlife conservation and controlling poaching and illegal trade of wildlife and its products;Making recommendations for setting up and managing national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas; and Suggesting measures for improvement of wildlife conservation. It also sets up National Tiger Conservation Authority. The acts sets up various provisions related to trade and penalties for hunting the animals in wild.

Five kinds of protected areas can be notified in the Act. These are: Sanctuaries- The State or Central Government may by notification declare its intention to constitute any area as a sanctuary for protecting wildlife and the environment. The government determines the nature and extent of rights of persons in or over the land within the sanctuary. National Parks: The State or Central Government may declare an area, whether inside a sanctuary or not, as a national park for the purpose of protecting and developing wildlife and its environment. The State Government cannot alter the boundaries of a national park except on the recommendation of the National Board for Wildlife. No grazing is allowed inside a national park. All provisions applicable to a sanctuary are also applicable to a national park. Conservation Reserves- The State Government after consultations with local communities can declare any area owned by the Government, particularly areas adjacent to national parks or sanctuaries, as conservation reserves. The government constitutes a Conservation Reserve Management Committee to manage and conserve the conservation reserve. Community Reserves- The State Government can, in consultation with the community or an individual who have volunteered to conserve wildlife, declare any private or community land as community reserve. A Community Reserve Management Committee shall be constituted by State Government for conserving and managing the reserve. Tiger Reserve- These areas were reserved for protection tiger in the country. The State Government on the recommendation of the Tiger Conservation Authority may notify an area as a tiger reserve, for which it has to prepare a Tiger Conservation Plan.

The Environment Protection Act, 1986 was constituted on 19 Nov, 1986, to provide for the protection and improvement of environment and for matters connected with environment that lays down the standards, policies and act of environmental degradations and policies for improvement of environment and prevention of human beings from environmental hazards. It describes rules to regulate environmental pollution, laying down procedures and standards for industrial waste, emissions, hazardous waste etc. Besides, it deals with the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution.

The government passed the biodiversity act to conserve and promote sustainable use of biological diversity and to regulate the access to biological resources of the country with equitable share in benefits. It sets up National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), State Biodiversity Board (SBB) and Biodiversity Management Committees. Besides, it aims to respect and protect knowledge of local communities traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and secure sharing of benefits with local people as conservers of biological resources and holders of knowledge and information relating to the use of biological resources. Besides, it also has provisions for notifying heritage sites by State Government in consultation with local body.

The Act enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. The Tribunal has Original Jurisdiction on matters of “substantial question relating to environment” & “damage to environment due to specific activity.” Tribunal is competent to hear cases for several acts such as Forest (Conservation) Act, Biological Diversity Act, Environment (Protection) Act, Water & Air (Prevention & control of Pollution) Acts etc. and also have appellate jurisdiction related to above acts after establishment of Tribunal within a period of 30 days of award or order received by aggrieved party.


As per the government notification, the coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line (HTL) and a range of 100m along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwater and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations, is called the Coastal Regulation Zone(CRZ). CRZ along the country has been placed in four categories. It includes only the inter-tidal zone and land part of the coastal area and does not include the ocean part. The notification regulates setting up and expansion of industries or processing plants, construction activity, dumping of waste, mining etc. in the said CRZ. It does not impose any restrictions of fishing activities.
National & International Conventions: Environment & Disaster Management | Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar)

Objectives of setting up CRZ are:
 Protection of livelihoods of traditional fisher folk communities
 Preservation of coastal ecology
 Promotion of economic activity that have necessarily to be located in coastal regions.

Shailesh Nayak Committee
The Sailesh Nayak committee report was commissioned in June 2014 after states expressed dissatisfaction regarding the limitations set by the CRZ notification of 2011. The committee recommended several relaxations in the terms set by the 2011 notification. It also endorsed dilution of regulatory powers held by the central government in coastal areas. The recommendations have been put forth with the objective of giving a boost to tourism, port construction and real estate.

 On development and construction, the report recommends that all activities except those requiring environmental clearances should fall under the ambit of the state and local planning bodies instead of being regulated by central policy. The areas affected by this amendment would be coastal towns, rural areas and waters up to 12 nautical miles from the coast.

 For rural areas with a population density of over 2,161 persons/sq km, the committee has recommended that the “no-development buffer zone” be limited to 50m from the High Tide Line (HTL). For other areas, the buffer has been recommended at 200m from the HTL. This HTL, though has not been determined for the country’s coastline yet and is currently being put together by the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management.

 It also allows reclamation of lands for specific infrastructure such as ports, bridges and fisheries-related structures for the “larger public interest”. The recommendations make a case for allowing temporary tourist facilities in no-development zones in coastal areas as well as permanent structures on the landward sides of national/state highways when these pass through these zones.

 Suggested that urban planning rules prepared by local authorities be prioritised for slum development and rehabilitation instead of the 2011 regulations which were deemed restrictive by states. States would also be able to decide the Floor Area Ratio for construction activity in coastal areas if the recommendations are implemented.

 Limited the central government’s role in coastal areas to environmental clearances and regulating environmentally-sensitive areas.

ESZs are areas around Protected Areas (such as National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries) to prevent ecological damage caused due to developmental activities. ESZs are ecologically important areas notified under the Environment Protection Act to be protected from industrial pollution and unregulated development. The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas. They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection. The basic aim is to regulate certain activities around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries so as to minimize the negative impacts of such activities on the fragile ecosystem encompassing the protected area.

Activities permitted in the areas include ongoing agriculture and horticulture practices by local communities, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, adoption of green technology and use of renewable energy sources.

The width of the ESZ and type of regulation may vary from protected area to area. However, as a general principle, the width of the ESZ could go up to 10 kms around the protected area.

Under the Rules notified in 2010, wetlands have been classified for better management and easier identification. Central Wetland Regulatory Authority has been set up to ensure proper implementation of the Rules and perform all functions for management of wetlands in India. Apart from necessary government representatives, the Authority shall have a number of expert members to ensure that wetland conservation is carried out in the best possible manner. In order to ensure there is no further degradation of wetlands, the Rules specify activities which are harmful to wetlands such as industrialisation, construction, dumping of untreated waste, reclamation etc. and prohibit these activities in the wetlands. Other activities such as harvesting, dredging etc may be carried out in the wetlands but only with prior permission from the concerned authorities.

It ensures safe handling, generation, processing, treatment, package, storage, transportation, use reprocessing, collection, conversion, and offering for sale, destruction and disposal of Hazardous Waste. These Rules came into effect in the year 1989. The Rules lay down corresponding duties of various authorities such as MoEF, CPCB, State/UT Govts., SPCBs/PCCs, DGFT, Port Authority and Custom Authority while State Pollution Control Boards/ Pollution Control Committees have been designated with wider responsibilities touching across almost every aspect of Hazardous wastes generation, handing and their disposal.

Notified in year 2000 under the Environment (Protection) Act. It sets the deadlines for phasing out such substances along with regulation of their production, trade, import and export.

Last few decades have seen emergence of human encroachment to an extent that has never been seen before. This is one of the greatest threats to India's wildlife. In order to overcome the result of human encroachment many national parks as well as protected areas have been established so far and the first came in 1935. Also in 1972, to protect the tiger and wildlife in India, the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard were enacted. The following are the major conservation projects ongoing in India:

Project Tiger is a wildlife conservation project initiated in India to protect the Bengal Tigers. It was launched on April 1, 1973. The project aims at tiger conservation in specially constituted tiger reserves representative of various bio-geographical regions throughout India. The project was based on a 'core-buffer' strategy. The core areas were freed from all sorts of human activities and the buffer areas were subjected to 'conservation oriented land use'. Management plans were drawn up for each tiger reserve based on the principles of elimination of all forms of human exploitation and biotic disturbance from the core area and rationalization of activities in the buffer zone; restricting the habitat management only to repair the damages done to the eco-system by human and other interferences so as to facilitate recovery of the eco-system to its natural state; and monitoring the faunal and floral changes over time and carrying out research about wildlife.

Starting from nine reserves in 1973-74 the number has grown up to forty one. As per 2010 census, India was home to 1,706 tigers which was half the world’s tiger population. A new census started in the 2013-2014 which will use three tests for counting tiger including camera trap and DNA testing of tiger scat to minimise duplicate counting. Every tiger caught on camera will be given a unique identification number based on their stripe patterns using computer software and a database maintained for the entire country.

Project Elephant (PE), a centrally sponsored scheme, was launched in February 1992 to provide financial and technical support to major elephant bearing states in the country for protection of elephants, their habitats and corridors. It also seeks to address the issues of human-elephant conflict and welfare of domesticated elephants.
Main activities of the Project are as follows: Ecological restoration of existing natural habitats and migratory routes of elephants; Development of scientific and planned management for conservation of elephant habitats
and viable population of Wild Asiatic elephants in India; Promotion of measures for mitigation of man elephant conflict in crucial habitats and moderating pressures of human and domestic stock activities in crucial elephant habitats; Strengthening of measures for protection of Wild elephants form poachers and unnatural causes of death; Eco-development and Veterinary care.

Project Snow Leopard is a step of the Government of India’s resolve to conserve biodiversity with community participation.Snow Leopard is globally endangered species as well as the most important flagship species of the mountain region. The project will be operational in five Himalayan States viz. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh with active support from wildlife institute of India and the Mysore based Nature Conservation Foundation. The project stresses on a landscape approach to conservation wherein smaller core zones with relatively conservation values will be identified and conserved with support and the larger landscape will be managed in such a way that it allows necessary development benefits to the local communities. The project thus places greater importance to careful and knowledge-based management planning of the landscapes. Species such as Snow Leopard, Asiatic Ibex, Tibetan Argali, LadakhUrial, Chiru, Takin, Serow and Musk Deer will particularly benefit from this project.

The Indian Crocodile Conservation Project is one of the most successful conservation initiatives in the world. It has pulled back the once threatened crocodilians from the brink of extinction and placed them on a good path of recovery. The Project has not just produced a large number of crocodiles, but has contributed towards conservation in a number of related fields as well. The broad objectives of activities under crocodile project were to protect the remaining population of crocodilians in their natural habitat by creating sanctuaries; to rebuild natural population quickly through `grow and release' or `rear and release' technique - more than seven thousand crocodiles have been restocked- about 4000 gharial (Gavialisgangeticus), 1800 mugger (Crocodyluspalustris) and 1500 salt- water crocodiles (Crocodylusporosus); to promote captive breeding; to take-up research to improve management; and to involve the local people in the project intimately.

India has nine species of vultures in the wild. These are the Oriental White-backed Vulture (Gypsbengalensis), Slender billed Vulture (Gyps tenuirostris), Long billed Vulture (Gyps indicus), Egyptian Vulture (Neophronpercnopterus), Red Headed Vulture (Sarcogypscalvus), Indian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis), Cinereous Vulture (Aegypiusmonachus) and Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier (Gypaetusbarbatus). The population of three species i.e. White-backed Vulture, Slender billed Vulture and Long billed Vulture in the wild has declined drastically over the past decade. The decline of Gypsgenus in India has been put at 97% by 2005. Because of the evidence of widespread and rapid population decline, all three vulture species were listed by IUCN, the World Conservation Union, in 2000 as ‘Critically Endangered’.
Experiments showed that captive vultures are highly susceptible to Diclofenac, and are killed by kidney failure leading to gout within a short time of feeding on the carcass of an animal treated with the normal veterinary dose. There have been major initiatives for complete ban on the use of Diclofenac and finding a suitable substitute for the same. The Supreme Court has also given instructions for phasing out of Diclofenac.

The greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Wild populations of the species, currently number approximately 3,270 individuals, are found in northern India and Nepal. Close to 85% of the total population occurs in India, with about 75% in the state of Assam. Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 is a partnership the Assam Forest Department, the Bodoland Territorial Council, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The goal is to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos in the Indian state of Assam - spread over seven protected areas - by the year 2020.

The Government of India released in 2008 India’s first National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) outlining existing and future policies and programs addressing climate mitigation and adaptation. The plan identifies eight core “national missions” running through 2017. Emphasizing the overriding priority of maintaining high economic growth rates to raise living standards, the plan “identifies measures that promote our development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively.”

1. National Solar Mission: The NAPCC aims to promote the development and use of solar energy for power generation and other uses with the ultimate objective of making solar competitive with fossil-based energy options. The plan includes:
 Specific goals for increasing use of solar thermal technologies in urban areas, industry, and commercial establishments;
 A goal of increasing production of photovoltaic to 1000 MW/year; and
 A goal of deploying at least 1000 MW of solar thermal power generation.
Other objectives include the establishment of a solar research centre, increased international collaboration on technology development, strengthening of domestic manufacturing capacity, and increased government funding and international support.

2. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency: Initiatives based on increasing the energy use efficiency were expected to yield savings of 10,000 MW by 2012. Building on the Energy Conservation Act 2001, the plan recommends:
 Mandating specific energy consumption decreases in large energy-consuming industries, with a system for companies to trade energy-savings certificates;
 Energy incentives, including reduced taxes on energy-efficient appliances; and
 Financing for public-private partnerships to reduce energy consumption through demand-side management programs in the municipal, buildings and agricultural sectors.

3. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat: To promote energy efficiency as a core component of urban planning, the plan calls for:
 Extending the existing Energy Conservation Building Code;
 A greater emphasis on urban waste management and recycling, including power production from waste;
 Strengthening the enforcement of automotive fuel economy standards and using pricing measures to encourage the purchase of efficient vehicles; and
 Incentives for the use of public transportation.

4. National Water Mission: With water scarcity projected to worsen as a result of climate change, the plan sets a goal of a 20% improvement in water use efficiency through pricing and other measures.

5. National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem: The plan aims to conserve biodiversity, forest cover, and other ecological values in the Himalayan region, where glaciers that are a major source of India’s water supply are projected to recede as a result of global warming.

6. National Mission for a “Green India”: Goals include the afforestation of 6 million hectares of degraded forest lands and expanding forest cover from 23% to 33% of India’s territory.

7. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture: The plan aims to support climate adaptation in agriculture through the development of climate-resilient crops, expansion of weather insurance mechanisms, and agricultural practices.

8. National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change: To gain a better understanding of climate science, impacts and challenges, the plan envisions a new Climate Science Research Fund, improved climate modelling, and increased international collaboration. It also encourages private sector initiatives to develop adaptation and mitigation technologies through venture capital funds.

Government is contemplating adding four new missions to NAPCC:
Wind energy
 Modelled on National Solar Mission
 To be serviced by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
 To produce 50,000-60,000 MW of power by 2022

Human health
 Assess impact of climate change on human health
 Build up capacities to respond to these
 Being looked after by Health Ministry

Coastal resources
 Prepare integrated coastal resource management plan
 Map vulnerabilities along the entire shoreline
 Environment Ministry to look after the mission

 Incentivise efforts towards harnessing energy from waste
 Lower dependence on coal, oil, gas
 Make power production a more earth-friendly process

The document National & International Conventions: Environment & Disaster Management | Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar) is a part of the BPSC (Bihar) Course Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams.
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FAQs on National & International Conventions: Environment & Disaster Management - Environment & Additional Topics for State PSC Exams - BPSC (Bihar)

1. What are some major national and international conventions related to environment and disaster management?
Ans. Some major national and international conventions related to environment and disaster management include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
2. What is the purpose of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)?
Ans. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. It provides a framework for international cooperation on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
3. What is the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction?
Ans. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is a global agreement adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015. Its goal is to reduce disaster risk and build resilience to disasters by focusing on prevention, mitigation, preparedness, and response. It aims to achieve substantial reductions in disaster mortality, the number of affected people, economic losses, and damage to critical infrastructure.
4. How does the Paris Agreement contribute to environmental protection and disaster management?
Ans. The Paris Agreement is an international treaty adopted in 2015 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting adaptation measures, the agreement helps mitigate the impacts of climate change, which can contribute to disasters such as extreme weather events.
5. What is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its relevance to environment and disaster management?
Ans. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international treaty adopted in 1992. Its objective is to conserve biological diversity, promote sustainable use of its components, and ensure the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. Biodiversity plays a crucial role in ecosystem resilience and disaster risk reduction. Conserving and sustainably managing biodiversity can help prevent and mitigate environmental disasters and their impacts on human well-being.
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