ENVIRONMENTAL TREATIES FOR UPSC

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ENVIRONMENTAL TREATIES FOR UPSC

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It’s been observed that Upsc has been asking every year about treaties and agreement related to environment so we had made an effort to provide a concise and easy list of environmental treaties for upsc.

candidates are required to learn this list by heart and time to time revision is also required for environmental treaties for upsc.

Environment Treaties and Agreement Development
 

·         1971: Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (“Ramsar Convention”)
·         1972: Stockholm Declaration
·         1973: Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild flora and fauna (CITES)
·         1982: Nairobi Declaration
·         1985: Vienna convention for the protection of ozone layer
·         1987: Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
·         1987: Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (“Brundtland Report”)
·         1989: Basel convention
·         1992: Agenda 21
·         1992: Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
·         1992: Convention on Biological Diversity
·         1997: Protocol to the UNFCCC (“Kyoto Protocol”)
·         1998: Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (“Rotterdam Convention”)
·         2000: The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (“Cartagena Protocol”)
·         2001: Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (“Stockholm Convention”)
·         2010: The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (‘Nagoya Protocol’)
·         2012: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – RIO +20
·         2015: Paris Agreement (To replace Kyoto Protocol)
 

Details about important environment agreement and treaties

Ramsar Convention

The Ramsar (city in Iran where it was ratified in 1971) Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value.

  • Definition of wetland is “areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters”. It includes more than 2000 wetlands worldwide. Wetlands are one of the most threatened of all ecosystems in India.

The major causes are:

  • Loss of vegetation
  • Salinization
  • Excessive inundation
  • Water Pollution
  • Invasive species
  • Excessive Development and Road Building

Important Wetlands of India are:

  • Ashtamudi Wetland: KERALA
  • Vembanad-Kol Wetland: KERALA
  • Chilika Lake: ORISSA
  • Keoladeo National Park: RAJASTHAN
  • Loktak lake: MANIPUR
  • Sambhar Lake: RAJASTHAN
  • Wular Lake: JAMMU AND KASHMIR

Stockholm 1972:-

  • Conference : United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
  • It was first declaration of international protection of the environment
  • Held in Stockholm, Sweden from June 5–16 in 1972.
  • The meeting agreed upon a Declaration containing 26 principles concerning

the environment and development;

  • One of the seminal issue that emerged from the conference is the recognition for poverty alleviation for protecting the environment.
  • The conference let to increased interest and research collaboration which paved the way for further understanding of global warming, which has led to such agreements as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, and has given a foundation of modern environmentalism.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme has been established by the United Nations General Assembly in pursuance of the Stockholm Conference

 

CITES:-

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

  • CITES is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily.
  • It is also known as Washington Convention
  • States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (‘joined’ CITES) are known as Parties.
  • Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws.
  • it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
  • For many years CITES has been among the conservation agreements with the largest membership, with now183 parties.

NAIROBI DECLARATION:-

  • Declaration adopted in 1982 ( 10th anniversary of Stockholm)
  • The Declaration envisaged the creation of a special commission to frame long term environment strategies for achieving sustainable developments up to the year 2000 and beyond.
  • The Declaration was endorsed by the governing Council of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1987.

VIENNA CONVENTION:-

  • Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
  • It is multilateral environment agreement
  • Opened for signature in 1985
  • Entered into force in 1988
  • Ratifiers : 197 (Universal)
  • 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, the main chemical agents causing ozone depletion. These are laid out in the accompanying Montreal Protocol.

MONTREAL PROTOCOL:-

  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion.
  • Since the Montreal Protocol came into effect, the atmospheric concentrations of the most important chlorofluorocarbons and related chlorinated hydrocarbons have either levelled off or decreased. Due to this, the ozone hole in Antarctica is slowly recovering. Climate projections indicate that the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2050 and 2070.
  • Montreal Protocol Includes:
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) Phase-out Management Plan
  • Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP)
  • It does not deal with Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs):Produced mostly in development countries, HFCs replaced CFCs and HCFCs. HFCs pose no harm to the ozone layer because, unlike CFCs and HCFCs, they do not contain chlorine.
  • HFCs are extremely potent greenhouse gases.
  • The Montreal Protocol does not address HFCs, but these substances figure in the basket of six greenhouse gases under the Kyoto protocol. Developed countries following the Kyoto Protocol report their HFC emission data to UNFCCC; parties to the Montreal Protocol have no such obligation.
  • Perhaps the single most successful international agreement till date. The two ozone treaties have been ratified by 197 parties, which includes 196 states and the European Union, making them thefirst universally ratified treaties in United Nations history.

BRUTLAND REPORT:-

  • Formally called: Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development In 1987
  • Gave concept of “sustainable development”
  • 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.
  • 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 side lined less productive debates about whether to prioritize development or the environment.

Basel Convention

  • Formally called: The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
  • It is an international treaty
  • It is a UN Treaty
  • Open for signature in 1989\
  • Effective from 1992
  • Signatories : 53
  • Parties : 183
  • Aims to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries

AGENDA21

  • Non-binding
  • Voluntary
  • It is an action plan of United Nations
  • Related with sustainable development
  • It is a product of Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.
  • It is an action agenda for the UN, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national, and global levels.
  • The “21” in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st Century.
  • It has been affirmed and had a few modifications at subsequent UN conferences

UNFCCC(KYOTO PROTOCOL):-

  • International environmental treaty that came into existence under the aegis of UN.
  • Signed ==> May 1992.
  • Location ==> New York City, USA.
  • As of March 2014, UNFCCC has 196 parties (almost all countries).
  • UNFCCC is negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
  • UNCED is informally known as the Earth Summit 1992, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Role: UNFCCC provides a framework for negotiating specific international treaties (called “protocols”) that aim to set binding limitson greenhouse gases.
  • Objective of UNFCCC: Stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous consequences.
  • Legal Effect: Treaty is considered legally non-binding: The treaty itself set no binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries.

Conferences of the Parties (COP) – UNFCCC

  • The COP is the supreme decision-making body of UNFCCC.
  • All States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP.
  • They review the implementation of any legal instruments that the COP adopts.
  • They promote the effective implementation of the Convention.
  • The first COP meeting was held inBerlin, Germany in March, 1995.
  • The parties to the convention have metannually since 1995.
  • In1997, the Kyoto Protocol (3rd COP) was concluded and established legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The2010 Cancun agreements stated that future global warming should be limited to below 0 °C (3.6 °F) relative to the pre-industrial level.
  • The 21stCOP (2015) was held in Paris in 2015.
  • The 22ndCOP (2016) will be held at Marrakesh, Morocco
  • India is Non Annex party to UNFCC
  • 2015: COP 21/CMP 11, Paris, France :2016: COP 22/CMP 12, Marrakech, Morocco

Rotterdam Convention

  • Convention on thePrior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.
  • Multilateral treaty to promote shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals.
  • The convention promotes open exchange of information and calls on exporters of hazardous chemicals to use proper labeling, include directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans.
  • Signatory nations can decide whether to allow or ban the importation of chemicals listed in the treaty, and exporting countries are obligated to make sure that producers within their jurisdiction comply.

CARTAGENA PROTOCOL:-

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.

  • Also     known as biosafety protocol
  • Adopted in 2000; Came into force in 2003
  • The Biosafety Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms can be regulated under this protocol

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants:-

  • Aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
  • POPs:Chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment.
  • Exception:DDT is allowed to used publicity for control of malaria.
  • Developed countries provide new and additional financial resources and measures toeliminate production and use of intentionally produced POPs, eliminate unintentionally produced POPs where feasible, and manage and dispose of POPs wastes in an environmentally friendly manner.

NAGOYA PROTOCOL:-

  • Adopted in Conference of Parties 10 (CoP10) (2010)
  • It deals with access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity
  • It is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • The Strategic Plan consists of 20 new biodiversity targets for 2020, termed the ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets’

United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development rio+20:-

  • United Nations on 25 September 2015 unanimously adopted an ambitious agreement on the outcome document New Sustainable Development Agenda for the next 15 years i.e. till 2030.
  • The document in this regard was adopted in 70th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and was announced by its President Mogens Lykketoft at the UN headquarters in New York.
  • The agreement outlines 17 non-binding goals termed as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 specific targets that comprise different socio-economic issues.
  • The new agenda document called “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was built on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).\
  • These goals will succeed 8 MDGs which was adopted in 2000 for fifteen years in Rio 20+ summit of United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlines broader sustainability agenda dealing with ‘five Ps’ people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.
  • It seeks to address the universal need for development that works for all people and root causes of poverty.
  • It calls for eradicating hunger and poverty, improving living standards, ensuring quality education, affordable and reliable energy, achieving gender equality and taking urgent action to combat climate change etc.
  • It also includes specific goals on economic indicators for first time.

PARIS AGREEMENT:-

  • In short,Paris Agreement is an international agreement to combat climate change.
  • From 30 November to 11 December 2015, the governments of 195 nations gathered in Paris, France, and discussed a possible new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and thus reduce the threat of dangerous climate change.
  • The 32-page Paris agreement with 29 articles is widely recognized as a historic deal tostop global warming.

Aim and content of Paris Agreement:-

  • Keep the global temperature rise this centurywell below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.
  • Pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase evenfurther to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Strengthen the ability of countries todeal with the impacts of climate change.
  • The key vision of Paris Agreement is to keep global temperatures “well below” 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and “Endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C.
  • Paris Accord talks about limiting the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100.
  • It also mentions the need to review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge.
  • Rich countries should help poorer nations by providing “climate finance” to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.
  • The Paris Agreement has a ‘bottom up’ structure in contrast to most international environmental law treaties which are ‘top down.
  • The agreement is binding in some elements like reporting requirements, while leaving other aspects of the deal such as the setting of emissions targets for any individual country as non-binding.

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