Environmental Conventions and Agreement

By Hemant Kumar|Updated : January 18th, 2020

Environment and Ecology constitutes a major portion of UPSC Prelims exam and also in various other state PCS exams. Given the importance of the subject, and the weigthage it has, organised and detailed study is required. Through this blog, we will provide you with detailed notes on environmental conventions and agreements. 

Before getting into all the details regarding various conventions and agreement, let us understand the meaning of such terms and minute differences that are there to provide better clarity in understanding of the article.

A Conference is a formal consultation process, a type of negotiations, done on a broad theme. In a conference, the principle bodies are set up for any further deliberations if required on that broad theme for which the conference was called for.

A Convention is a gathering or meeting to deliberate or formulates on a generally accepted principle, a framework wherein the parties decide the basic guidelines.

Note: Many a time, conference and a convention are interchangeably used. This is because, the outcome document of the convention is arrived at a conference.

A Protocol to the convention is an agreement that negotiators representing participant bodies or countries formulate and sign as the basis for a final convention where the parties set forth any specific aims or legal obligations. generally, when a major provision needs to be incorporated in the regulations of the convention, a protocol is then called among the countries or parties, who are a signatory of the original convention.

Ramsar Convention on Wetland:

  • It is an international treaty.
  • Ramsar Convention signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971.
  • This convention provides a framework for the national action and international cooperation for the conservation and the wise usage of wetlands and their resources.
  • The Ramsar Convention is the one and the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem.
  • In India, there are 26 Ramsar sites.
  • The Ramsar list maintained Montreux record.
  • This Montreux record is a list of Wetlands of International Importance where there is changes in the ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
  • In India – Keoladeo National park and Loktak Lake are there on the list. Chilka lake was removed from the list.

Vienna Convention for the ozone layer:

  • It is a multilateral environmental agreement.
  • 197 countries ratified this treaty (Universal ratification)
  • Vienna Convention acts as a framework for international efforts for the protection of the ozone layer. However, it is not a legally binding reduction goal for the use of CFCs.

Montreal Protocol:

  • It is for the protection of the ozone layer
  • It is an international treaty which came into force in 1989.
  • It is a legally binding treaty ratified by 197 countries.
  • The objective of this protocol is to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substance
  • HFCs are not included in the Montreal protocol as HFCs do not harm ozone but are harmful as a Greenhouse gas.
  • As a result of this international agreement, the ozone hole in Antarctica is slowly recovering. So it is termed as a successful treaty.

Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol:

  • It amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol
  • Under the Kigali Amendment, all the 197 countries, including India, have agreed to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.
  • It is binding on countries from 2019.
  • It has penalties provision for non-compliance
  • Under this, developed countries will also provide enhanced funding support.
  • Three groups are there in the Kigali amendment
  • The first group includes the wealthiest countries like the US and those in the European Union. They will freeze the production and consumption of HFCs by 2018. They will reduce consumption to about 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.
  • The second group includes countries like China, Brazil, and all of Africa, and other countries. they will freeze the use of HFCs by 2024 and cut it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2036
  • The third group includes countries like India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia. They will freeze the use of HFCs by 2028 and reduce it to about 15% of 2025 levels by 2047

Basel Convention on Hazardous wastes:

  • Basel Convention is an international UN treaty which came into effect from 1992
  • The earlier name of Basel convention was The Basel Convention on the Control of transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and Their disposal
  • 183 countries are parties to this convention.
  • The objectives of Basel convention are
    • To minimize the total amount and the toxicity of waste generated.
    • To ensure their environmental management at the source of generation.
    • To stop the dumping of hazardous wastes from the developed countries to the developing countries.
    • Point to note is It does not address the issue of the movement of radioactive waste.

Stockholm Convention for Persistent Organic pollutants:

  • It is an international UN treaty that came into effect from 2004.
  • 180 countries including India are parties to this convention
  • The US is not the party to this treaty
  • There is a provision that developed countries provide financial resources to minimize POPs to developing nations.
  • The objectives of the Stockholm convention are
    • To eliminate or bars the production and use of persistent organic pollutants.
    • Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety and international Programme for chemical safety prepared a list, known as dirty dozen.
    • Dirty dozens include eight organochlorine, aldrin, DDT, dieldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, endrin, mirex, and toxaphene
    • Two industrial chemicals hexachlorobenzene and the polychlorinated biphenyl groups.
    • Two groups of industrial byproducts dioxins and furans

Rotterdam Convention:

  • It is a multilateral UN treaty that came into effect from 2004
  • 155 countries including India are parties to this convention
  • The earlier name of Rotterdam Convention was the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for some Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in international trade
  • The objectives of the Rotterdam Convention are:
    • To promote shared responsibilities about the importation of hazardous chemicals
    • To promotes the open exchange of information between the import-export of hazardous chemicals.
    • Calls on exporters of hazardous chemicals to use proper labelling, including safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans.

 Stockholm conference 1972:

  • It is also known as the United Nation Conference on the Human environment
  • It was the first declaration on international protection of the environment.
  • One of the issues that emerged from the conference is the recognition of poverty alleviation for protecting the environment.
  • The United Nations General has established the United Nations Environment Programme in pursuance of the Stockholm Conference.

Brundtland Report:

  • Brundtland Report gave the concept of Sustainable Development.
  • Formally called the “ Our common future Report of the World Commission on environment and development” in 1987
  • The basic concept of sustainable development-focused attention on finding strategies to promote economic and social development in ways that avoided environmental degradation, over-exploitation of pollution, and sidelined less productive debates about whether to prioritize development or environment.

Earth Summit:

  • It took place in Rio-de-Janeiro in 1992. So it is also known as the Rio Summit or Rio Conference.
  • Earth summit resulted in the following documents;
    • Rio declaration on environment and development
    • Agenda 21
    • Forest principles
    • Relevant legally binding agreements were opened for signatures.
    • Convention on Biological diversity.
    • Framework Convention on Climate Change
    • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Convention on Biological diversity:

  • It is a multilateral treaty that entered into force in 1993
  • 196 countries are parties to this convention
  • It is legally binding
  • It has three main goals
    • Conservation of biological diversity
    • Sustainable Use of its component
    • Fair and equitable sharing of all benefits arising from genetic resources.

Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety:

  • Adopted in 2003 and came into force in 2003
  • The Biosafety Protocol aims to protect biological diversity from the potential risk posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern Biotechnology.
  • It regulates Genetically modified organisms

Nagoya Protocol:

  • Adopted in the conference of parties 10 (Cop 10)
  • It works with the provision related to Genetic Resources and also with the Fair and the equitable sharing of all the benefits that arise from the 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 Nation Convention to Combat Desertification:

  • 196 countries are parties to this convention
  • Headquarter of United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification is in Bonn, Germany.
  • It is only an internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification.
  • It is a crucial convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing severe drought and Desertification, particularly in Africa.
  • United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification created Land Degradation Neutrality Fund
  • The objective of this fund is to create and invest in projects that reduce or reverse land degradation. It relates to SDG goal 15.3

United Nation Framework Convention on climate change:

  • It was adopted in 1992 and came into force from 1994
  • Its secretariat is in Bonn, Germany
  • 197 countries ratified this framework
  • The convention is legally non-binding but makes provision for meetings called “protocols” where negotiating countries can set legally binding limits.
  • This framework intends to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
  • Three types of countries are there:
    • Annex 1 countries include Industrialized countries and economies in transition.
    • Annex II countries include developed countries that pay the cost of developing countries.
    • Non Annex 1 countries include developing countries to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentration
  • India is Non-Annex party (It refers to countries that have ratified or acceded to the UNFCCC but are not included in Annex)

Kyoto Protocol:

  • Adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan and came into force in 2005.
  • 192 countries are parties to the protocol. Canada withdrew from this protocol.
  • It gave binding targets to Annex 1 countries
  • This protocol is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities
  • It targets the following greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, Hydro-fluorocarbons, Perfluorocarbons
  • Kyoto protocol includes flexible mechanisms which allow Annex 1 economies to meet their greenhouse targets by
    • Clean development mechanism
    • Joint Implementation
    • Certified emission reduction
  • Bali Meet 2007 is crucial because of the launch of the Adaptation fund
  • India has ratified the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol known as Doha amendment to the Protocol(till 2020)

Paris Summit(COP 21):

  • It relates to greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finances starting in the year 2020
  • Opened for signature on 22nd April 2016(Earth day)
  • The contribution that each country makes is called “National Determined Contributions” (NDCs)
  • Targets will not be binding as it is not possible to enforce them
  • Countries will revise NDC after five years in 2023.
  • It intends to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 C above pre-industrial levels and to put efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.

India NDC targets are as follows:

  • Reduce the emissions intensity to GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level.
  • Achieve about 40% electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030 with the help of the transfer of technology and low-cost international finance.
  • Create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tones of CO2 equivalent with the help of new forest and tree cover by 2030.

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NiazJan 20, 2020

Please make pdf for this important topic

NiazJan 20, 2020

Pdf please
Kanchan Kumari
Sir, Hindi m v dijye.plz sir
yamba sureshbabu
Thanks@Hemant Kumar .it's really helpful
Harjot Singh

Harjot SinghJan 22, 2020

Thank you sir
Seman Fatima

Seman FatimaOct 17, 2020

Thanks 😊 you sir
Durga Choudhary
Thanks😊😊😊😊 sir
Rozy Kumari
Amazing sir

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