Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) Introduction BACKGROUND What are MEAs ? Many global environmental issues don’t stop at the border: > they are caused by sources thousands of kilometers away; > they can have a regional or even a global impact. MEAs are international legal instruments that: > have a goal of environmental protection (sustainable development); > take measures to remedy, mitigate or otherwise deal with global and/or regional environmental concerns; > are concluded between a large number of states or international organizations as Parties; > can be embodied in a single instrument or more related instruments; > are governed by international law; > are concluded in written form. BACKGROUND Transboundary Problems • Transboundary environmental problems can be solved only by multilateral environmental agreements Transboundary Environmental Issues Multilateral Environmental Agreements PROBLEM SOLUTION • Most UN Agencies work on transboundary issues using MEAs BACKGROUND What are MEAs ? International legal instruments that: have a goal of environmental protection are concluded between a large number of states or international organizations as parties concluded in written form governed by international law can be embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments (framework agreements) BACKGROUND What are MEAs ? Example: The “Big Three” MEAs Climate Change: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Biodiversity: UN Convention on Biological Diversity Desertification: UN Convention to Combat Desertification Climate Change Biodiversity Desertification BACKGROUND Milestones in the evolution of MEAs 1972 - Stockholm Conference on the Human Development > First attempt to address relationship between environment and development at global level; > Adopted first global action plan for the environment; > Established UNEP. 1992 - Rio Conference on Environment and Development > National and international policies redirected towards integration of environmental, economic and social objectives; > 2 main outputs: Rio Declaration and Agenda 21; > Accelerated the development of modern MEAs: more than 60% of present MEAs established after 1992. BACKGROUND Number of parties to MEAs Stockholm Conference (1972) Rio Conference (1992) BACKGROUND A Sample of International MEAs MEA = Multilateral Environmental Agreement (for example, Kyoto Protocol) • • • • • • • • • • • Framework Convention on Climate Change Convention on Biological Diversity Convention to Combat Desertification Montreal Protocol on substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer Convention on Wetlands (RAMSAR) Law of the Sea Forestry Principles Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes Convention on prevention of Marine Dumping Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution International Tropical Timber Agreement BACKGROUND Core MEAs • MEAs of global significance • negotiation, development or activities are associated with UN work • • Shared Goal: – Sustainable Development Cross-cutting issue: – pollution/waste management MAIN CLUSTERS Scope of MEAs: 5 topics BIODIVERSITY LAND SEAS CHEMICALS & HAZARDOUS WASTE ATMOSPHERE MEA Clusters Biodiversity • Consists of MEAs related to protection and conservation of biodiversity. • Main MEA - The Biodiversity Convention Protection of biodiversity is directly relevant to pollution management and efficient use of resources, and, therefore, to Cleaner Production BIODIVERSITY 11 MEA Clusters Atmosphere MEAs aimed at protection of atmosphere from pollutants. For example: •Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete Ozone Layer •The Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Implementation of the atmosphere cluster MEAs requires effective pollution management SEAS ATMOSPHERE 12 MEA Clusters Marine Environment • Conventions relevant to marine environment: – 17 Regional Seas Conventions and A number of Protocols on land-based sources of pollution of marine environment – Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) Most MEAs in the marine cluster are multi-sectoral agreements based on precautionary and preventive approaches, SEAS 13 MEA Clusters Chemicals and Hazardous Wastes • Deal with hazardous impacts of wastes and chemical pollution • Main treaties of the cluster: CHEMICALS & HAZARDOUS WASTE – Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal – Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade – Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). 14 MEA Clusters – set commitments in form of legally-binding targets and timetables • Non-binding instruments – set out important issues and priorities, foster discussion and attention, and stimulate new thinking and development of legally-binding instruments Legally Binding Treaties Conventions Agreements Protocols Accords Pacts Non- Legally Binding Resolutions Decisions Declarations Recommendations SOFT LAW • Legally-binding agreements HARD LAW Key Concepts 15 ORGANISATION From negotiation to ratification How are MEA’s developed ? > A negotiation process between countries involved; > Often initiated and facilitated/moderated by UNEP; > Resulting in a mutual agreed and signed protocol during a highlevel tailored conference. How do MEAs come into force ? > Initial agreement (international legal instrument) are signed between the signatories (states); > MEAs include provision on number of ratification from signatories needed to come into force; > Once a country (or “Party”) ratifies, accepts, approves or accedes an MEA, it is subject to the provisions under the MEA. ORGANISATION How do MEAs work ? IMPLEMENTATION > Converting international commitments into national measures. COMPLIANCE > Countries adhere to the agreement provisions and undertake implementation measures (e.g. national reporting). ENFORCEMENT > Formal (national or international) procedures and actions by which compliance is compelled or noncompliance deterred. EFFECTIVENESS > Whether a MEA resolves a problem that caused its creation. ORGANISATION Institutional elements COP – Conference of Parties > Decision-making body on implementation and development of MEAs. Secretariat > Support to COP (provided by an international organization). Executive and subsidiary bodies > Generally advisory in nature, report to COP on scientific, technical, or financial matters. Clearinghouses > Facilitate exchange of information (websites, databases, etc.). Implementation actors on national level > Represented by the national authorities and/or institutions, training and information centers. IMPLEMENTATION Strengths & weaknesses of MEA’s STRENGTHS > Joint strategy to deal with global issues; > Clearly defines who should do what; > Conflict settlement instruments; > Provides increased attention to preventive - precautionary approach. WEAKNESSES > Lack of synergy among MEAs; > Inadequate funding for many MEAs; > Lack of performance indicators; > Inadequate coordination among MEA’s at national level; > No international enforcement mechanisms in most MEAs. IMPLEMENTATION Problems with MEAs While MEAs are legally binding, they suffer from the inability or unwillingness of Parties (or countries) to implement and enforce them: lack of financial and human resources the sheer volume and complexity of associated obligations and responsibilities inconsistency in implementation regimes between countries, and occasionally a lack of political will. IMPLEMENTATION What can Environmental Policy do ? What are the advantages of cross-cutting capacity building activities of Environmental Policy initiatives and MEAs ? > Policy advice; > Technical and financial assistance; > Assessment and management of pollution; > Education and awareness; > Information exchange; > Strengthened participation of all stakeholders in the decision-making; > International partnership. IMPLEMENTATION Core question Most important question to ask about MEAs: So What ??!