Conventions, Protocols, declarations related to environment conservation

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

Adopted When and by Whom: It was adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on 22 May 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden. The Convention entered into force on 17 May 2004.

Objective: The objective of the Stockholm Convention is to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants.

Key Provisions:  The provisions of the Convention require each party to:

  • Prohibit and/or eliminate the production and use, as well as the import and export, of the intentionally produced POPs that are listed in Annex A to the Convention
  • Restrict the production and use, as well as the import and export, of the intentionally produced POPs that are listed in Annex B to the Convention
  • Reduce or eliminate releases from unintentionally produced POPs that are listed in Annex C to the Convention
  • Ensure that stockpiles and wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with POPs are managed safely and in an environmentally sound manner

India specific trivia: India’s Union Cabinet gave its approval to ratify and accede to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants on 20 October 2005. The Convention will enable India to avail technical and financial assistance for implementing measures to meet the obligations of the Convention.

 

Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage

Adopted When and by Whom:  It was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972.

Objective: It is based on the premise that certain places on Earth are of outstanding universal value and should therefore form part of the common heritage of mankind, and therefore should be conserved.

Key Provisions:

The countries that ratify the Convention (States Parties) have become part of an international community, united in a common mission to identify and safeguard our world’s most outstanding natural and cultural heritage.

While fully respecting the national sovereignty, and without prejudice to property rights provided by national legislation, the States Parties recognize that the protection of the World Heritage is the duty of the international community as a whole.

India specific trivia: According to the sites ranked by country, Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites with 51 sites, followed by China (48), Spain (44), France (41), Germany (40), Mexico (33), and India (32).

 

Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild flora and fauna(CITES) 1973

Adopted When and by Whom: It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Objective: The Conference aims to control or prevent international commercial trade inendangered species or products derived from them.

Key Function: The Convention does not seek to directly protect endangered species, rather it seeks to reduce the economic incentive to poach endangered species and destroy their habitat by closing off the international market.

India specific trivia: India became a party to the convention in 1976. International trade in all wild flora and fauna in general and species covered under convention is regulated through the provisions of the Wildlife (protection) Act 1972

Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals

Adopted When and by Whom: It is an international treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme. It came into force in 1983.

Objective:

To avoid any migratory species becoming endangered

To protect endangered migratory species

Key Provisions:

Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention. CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them.

Besides establishing obligations for each State joining the Convention, CMS promotes concerted action among the Range States of many of these species.

Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention. For this reason, the Convention encourages the Range States to conclude global or regional Agreements.

India specific trivia: India had signed(in 2016) the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU). It raised the number of signatories to 56.

 

World Conservation Strategy

Adopted When and by Whom:  Living Resource Conservation for Sustainable Development is contained in a report published in 1980 and prepared by the IUCN—The World Conservation Union .

Assistance and collaboration was received from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ).

Objectives and Functions: The three main objectives of the WCS are

(1) to maintain essential ecological processes and life-support systems on which human survival and development depend. Items of concern include soil regeneration and protection, the recycling of nutrients, and protection of water quality

(2) to preserve genetic diversity on which depend the functioning of many of the above processes and life-support systems, the breeding programs necessary for the protection and improvement of cultivated plants, domesticated animals, and microorganisms ,as well as much scientific and medical advance, technical innovation, and the security of the many industries that use living resources

(3) to ensure the sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems which support millions of rural communities as well as major industries.

 

Nairobi Declaration

Adopted When and by Whom: It was first signed in 1985 and entered into force in 1996, is part of UN Environment’s Regional Seas Programme.

Objective:  

It is a partnership between governments, civil society and the private sector, working towards a prosperous Western Indian Ocean Region with healthy rivers, coasts and oceans.  

The programme aims to address the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas through the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment.

Key Provisions: It pursues its vision by providing a mechanism for regional cooperation, coordination and collaborative actions; it enables the Contracting Parties to harness resources and expertise from a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups; and in this way it helps solve inter-linked problems of the region’s coastal and marine environment.

 

World Charter of Nature

Adopted When and by Whom:  It was adopted by United Nations member nation-states on October 28, 1982.

Objective: This annex to a United Nations General Assembly resolution sets forth “principles of conservation by which all human conduct affecting nature is to be guided and judged.” The Charter recognizes the interaction between mankind and nature. It calls for member states to reflect the stated principles in their national legislation

The Charter recognizes the interaction between mankind and nature. It calls for member states to reflect the stated principles in their national legislation

Key Function:

It proclaims five principles of conservation by which all human conduct affecting nature is to be guided and judged.

  1. Nature shall be respected and its essential processes shall not be impaired.
  2. The genetic viability on the earth shall not be compromised; the population levels of all life forms, wild and domesticated, must be at least sufficient for their survival, and to this end necessary habitats shall be safeguarded.
  3. All areas of the earth, both land and sea, shall be subject to these principles of conservation; special protection shall be given to unique areas, to representative samples of all the different types of ecosystems and to the habitats of rare or endangered species.
  4. Ecosystems and organisms, as well as the land, marine and atmospheric resources that are utilized by man, shall be managed to achieve and maintain optimum sustainable productivity, but not in such a way as to endanger the integrity of those other ecosystems or species with which they coexist.
  5. Nature shall be secured against degradation caused by warfare or other hostile activities.[1]

 

Vienna Convention

Adopted When and by Whom: It was adopted in the year 1985 and entered into force in 1988.

Objective: The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer are dedicated to the protection of the earth’s ozone layer.

With 197 parties, it is one of the most widely ratified treaties in United Nations history.

Key Provisions: 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.

India specific trivia: India became a Party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of Ozone Layer on 19 June 1991 and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer on 17 September 1992.

 

Montreal Protocol

Signed When and by Whom: It was signed in 1987 by 46 signatories. And it was ratified by all the UN members.

Objective: The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was designed to reduce the production and consumption o( ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer.

Key Provisions: It seeks to cut the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in order to protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer. It also aims at phase out HCFCs by 2030.

It is also highly successful international arrangement, as it has phased-out more than 95% of the ODS so far as per its main mandate in less than 30 years of its existence.

India specific trivia: India became a Party to 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.

 

Basel Convention

Adopted When and by Whom: The Convention came into force in 1992. As of November 2016, 184 states and the European Union are parties to the Convention. Haiti and the United States have signed the Convention but not ratified it.

Objective: The objectives of the convention are toreduce trans-boundary movements of hazardous wastes, to minimize the creation of suchwastes and to prohibit their shipment from Developed countries to the LDCs

Key Features:  The Convention is intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated, to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation, and to assist LDCs in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.

India specific trivia: India ratified the convention andenacted Hazardous Wastes Management Rules Act 1989, encompasses some of theBasal provisions related to the notification of import and export of hazardous wastes,illegal traffic and liability.

 

Earth Summit(United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, 1992)

Adopted When and by Whom: In continuation of Stockholm Declaration, 1972 and the Nairobi Declaration,1982 the third major Declaration was held in Rio-de-Janeiro in Brazil in the year 1992. Hence it is termed as Rio-Declaration and attended by over 150 countries.

Objective: The Rio Declaration was adopted in the conference recognizing the universal and integral nature of Earth and by establishing a global partnership among states and enlisting general rights and obligations on environmental protection.

Key Provisions:

  • The Rio declaration is a statement of 27 principles for the guidance of national environmentalbehaviour and enlisting general rights and obligations on environmental protection.
  • Rio principles placed human beings at the centre of sustainable development concerns by stating that humans are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature
  • The gist of those principles are happy and healthy life to all people in the world in order to achieve this goal, concept of sustainable development has been established.
  • To achieve sustainable development, states shall reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, exchange of scientific and technological knowledge, compensation for adverse effects of environmental damage caused by activities with in their jurisdiction or control to areas beyond their jurisdiction, precautionary approach shall be widely applied by states polluter should bear the cost of pollution, Environmental impact assessment as an instrument to monitor the likely environmental effects.

India specific trivia: India has provided a well-argued framework for implementing the themes of the conference.

 

UNFCCC

Adopted When and by Whom: In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as a framework for international cooperation to combat climate change by limiting average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and coping with impacts that were, by then, inevitable.

Objective: The primary goals of the UNFCCC were to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions atlevels that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the global climate.

Key Provisions: The convention embraced the principle of common but differentiated responsibilitieswhich has guided the adoption of a regulatory structure.

India specific trivia: India signed the agreement inJune 1992 which was ratified in November 1993. As per the convention the reduction/limitation requirements apply only to developed countries. The only reporting obligationfor developing countries relates to the construction of a GHG inventory.

 

CBD

Adopted When and by Whom: The Convention was opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio “Earth Summit”). The convention came into force in 1993. Many biodiversity issuesare addressed including habitat preservation, intellectual property rights, biosafety andindigenous people‘s rights.

Objective: It has 3 main objectives:

  1. The conservation of biological diversity
  2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity.
  3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources

Key Provisions:  This convention is a legally binding framework treaty that has been ratified by180 countries. The areas that are dealt by convention are conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of biological resources and equitable sharing of benefits arising fromtheir sustainable use.

India specific trivia: India is a Party to the CBD. India has made significant positive contributions in these negotiations.ndia signed the Protocol on 11th May 2011, and ratified it on 9th October, 2012.

 

UN Convention on Desertification

Adopted When and by Whom: The U.N. General Assembly established a committee in1992 which helped the formulation of the convention on desertification.

Objective: The convention aims at tackling desertification through national, regional and sub-regional action programmes. India hosts the network on agroforestry and soil conservation.

Key Provisions:  The convention endorses and employs a bottom-up approach to international environmental cooperation.

India specific trivia: India became a signatory to UNCCD on 14th October 1994 and ratified it on 17th December 1996.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change is the nodal Ministry in the Government of India for the UNCCD, and Desertification Cell is the nodal point within the Ministry to coordinate all issues pertaining to the Convention.

 

Kyoto Protocol

Adopted When and by Whom: The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. There are currently 192 parties to the Protocol.

Objective: The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits State Parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the premise that (a) global warming exists and (b) human-made CO2 emissions have caused it.

Key Provisions:  

  • The main feature of the Protocol is that it established legally binding commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases for parties that ratified the Protocol. The commitments were based on the Berlin Mandate, which was a part of UNFCCC negotiations leading up to the Protocol.
  • Implementation. In order to meet the objectives of the Protocol, Parties are required to prepare policies and measures for the reduction of greenhouse gases in their respective countries. In addition, they are required to increase the absorption of these gases and utilize all mechanisms available, such as
  1. joint implementation
  2. Clean development mechanism and
  3. Emissions trading, in order to be rewarded with credits that would allow more greenhouse gas emissions at home.
  • Minimizing Impacts on Developing Countries by establishing an adaptation fund for climate change.
  • Accounting, Reporting and Review in order to ensure the integrity of the Protocol.
  • Compliance. Establishing a Compliance Committee to enforce compliance with the commitments under the Protocol.

India specific trivia: India has ratified the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol that commits countries to contain the emission of greenhouse gases, reaffirming its stand on climate action. In a brief statement, India’s Permanent Mission to the UN said that India deposited its Instrument of Acceptance of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol under the UN Convention on Climate Change here yesterday.

In a brief statement, India’s Permanent Mission to the UN said that India deposited its Instrument of Acceptance of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol under the UN Convention on Climate Change here yesterday.

 

Stockholm Convention on POPs

Adopted When and by Whom: Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is an international environmental treaty, signed in 2001 and effective from May 2004. The negotiations for the Convention were completed on 23 May 2001 in Stockholm. The convention entered into force on 17 May 2004 with ratification by an initial 128 parties and 151 signatories.

The negotiations for the Convention were completed on 23 May 2001 in Stockholm. The convention entered into force on 17 May 2004 with ratification by an initial 128 parties and 151 signatories.

Objective: It aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Key Provisions:

Key elements of the Convention include

  • the requirement that developed countries provide new and additional financial resources and measures to eliminate production and use of intentionally produced POPs,
  • eliminate unintentionally produced POPs where feasible, and
  • manage and dispose of POPs wastes in an environmentally sound manner.

Precaution is exercised throughout the Stockholm Convention, with specific references in the preamble, the objective, and the provision on identifying new POPs.

India specific trivia: India’s Union Cabinet gave its approval to ratify and accede to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants on 20 October 2005. The Convention will enable India to avail technical and financial assistance for implementing measures to meet the obligations of the Convention.

 

Johannesburg Declaration

Adopted When and by Whom: It is also known as Rio +10, held at Johannesburg in 2002.

Objective: Reviewed progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 since its adoption in 1992

Bali Summit on Climate Change

Adopted When and by Whom: Bali Action Plan or Bali Roadmap was adopted after the 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-13/ MOP-3) on the island Bali in Indonesia in December, 2007. This was a two-year process to finalizing a binding agreement in 2009 in Copenhagen.

Objective:

Launch of the Climate Adaptation Fund.

Review of the scope and content of the Article 9 of Kyoto Protocol to make decisions on technology transfer and on reducing emissions from deforestation.

Key Provisions: Negotiations are currently underway to determine the quantified emission reduction targets of the Parties to Kyoto protocol for the second commitment period beginning from 2013 and also define the targets of emission reduction for US, comparable with other Kyoto Parties, in pursuance of Bali Action Plan. 

According to the Bali Road Map, a framework for climate change mitigation beyond 2012 was to be agreed there in the COP 15 at Copenhagen Summit, in 2009. However, an agreement was not reached in the same conference nor in the COP 16 at Mexico.

 

By B2B

Revisiting the Basics

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Nikhil Kumar
1 year ago

thanks