INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (with specific reference to Conventions and Protocols


OBJECTIVE To understand the need and nuances behind international environmental management To develop a time line for international environmental management To enlist the various international conventions held for environmental management To understand India’s position in international environmental management SYNOPSIS INTRODUCTION THE NEED FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL EVENTS – A TIMELINE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS AND PROTOCOLS– THE BASICS IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS CONCLUSION

1. INTRODUCTION Globalization is the watchword today. With the interesting development in the world of communications, markets have moved on to the international stage. Communication across borders has never been so simple, so quick and so cheap and this has facilitated international interventions into every part of our lives. The failure of the League of Nations and the success of the United Nations augur for the fact that systematic international actions are inevitable to keep the world together. International Actions have been there in every facet o the human life. International action plays a major role in economic development, social responsibility, scientific development etc and it is now on environmental management as well. This paper ponders into the international interventions relating to environmental protection. The paper starts by emphasizing the need for international actions against environment protection, presents a timeline of significant international environmental actions, provides a basic know-how of international agreements and actions and concludes with details on significant conventions and protocols. 2. THE NEED FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION Individual countries have taken their own measures for protecting their environment. But they may not prove enough. The dire need for international actions for environmental management is felt for the following two reasons

1) The pollution emanating from one country may have an impact on another country, which
may not be addressed at country levels. To control the transboundary effects of the pollution and to resolve environmental conflicts between two countries, international environmental action becomes a necessity,

2) The environment research is not the one and the same in the countries of United Nations.
It is mandatory to provide environmental training and environmental awareness on the problems. With this regard of environmental awareness, information and training also, international environmental actions have become common.

3) The international conventions and protocols also facilitate a unified global march
towards the eradication of major environmental problems.

3. INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIONS – A TIMELINE Before proceeding into the topic, it would be necessary to understand the timeline of major environmental activities that have taken place in the last 50 years. YEAR 2003 2002 2001 2000 1998 1997 1996 1993 1992 1992 1992 1991 1989 1989 1987 1987 1985 1985 1982 1979 1975 1973 1972 1971 1961 1958 ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITY Kiev Protocol on EIA World Summit for Sustainable Development held in August 2002, Johannesburg Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Stockholm Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, Rotterdam Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Formation of ISO 14001 Series of Environmental Standards Creation of TC/207 Technical Committee for International Environmental Standards United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, New York Convention on Biological Diversity, Rio De Janeiro United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the RIO SUMMIT between 3rd and 11th June 1992 Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, Espoo Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, Basel International Convention on Salvage, London Publication of report” Our Common Future” by the Brundtland Commission Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Montreal Formation of Brundtland Commission on Environment and Development Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, Vienna United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Formation of United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) United Nations Conference on Human Environment, Stockholm RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands International Convention of Protection of New Plants International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil (OILPOL)

1950 1940

International Convention for the Protection of Birds Wild Life Conservation in the Western Hemisphere

4. INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS – THE BASICS Out of these international environmental actions, the International Conventions enjoy a special place. The main aim here is intended to build international consensus that a particular ecological, wildlife or pollution problem exists. The Convention is worded in general terms to allow all countries to "sign on" recognizing that the problem exists and that there is some need for concern and multi-national action. The convention usually does not include specific control action requirements. This allows the greatest number of countries to agree that there is a problem without raising the concern for the economic and social consequences of pollution control measures. The convention is usually implemented in three steps. First, the Country signs the Convention, often at the Ministerial level, agreeing to the contents in principle. This signature does not impose a legal obligation on the signing country to ratify at a later stage. Secondly, the national Government then ratifies that countries commitment to participating in the Convention activities. The idea of ratification developed because it was thought reasonable that, after a convention had been signed, countries should have a further opportunity to consider the often complex and important issues involved before finally being legally bound by them. For India, ratification consists of passing a Bill through Parliament, thus giving the nation’s commitment to the Convention. Thirdly, the Convention activities enter into force when a specified number of countries sign and ratify their involvement. The number of countries needed to trigger entry into force is established during the negotiation process and varies from Convention to Convention. For example, Article XXII(1) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) states that the Convention shall enter into force 90 days after the date of deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification". Once a Convention has been established, countries can then begin to negotiate specific control actions through protocol mechanisms. The protocol mechanisms are supplementary to the international conventions that offer a lot of advantages. These protocol mechanisms allow large problems to be broken down into more achievable steps. For example, the Convention on Long-range Transport of Air Pollutants allowed countries to develop the first protocol to control of sulphur dioxide emissions rather than having to deal with the more complicated aspects of nitrogen emissions and deposition at the same time. Nitrogen control was dealt with a second protocol. The protocol mechanism also allows for different time frames for actions. For example, in the Montreal protocols there are different times for phasing out the different ozone depleting substances.

The protocols allow countries to opt out of a specific control measure without opting out of the overall Convention. For example, the United States of American has never signed the SO2 control protocols but has signed the NOx and VOC protocols negotiated under the same Convention. The protocol mechanism allows for a wide range of actions to be agreed upon including the control of emissions, the control of production, trade in substances of concern, and financial aid mechanisms. It would not be possible to negotiate all of these items at one time or within one time frame but the protocol process allows for substantial progress to be made in spite of great complexities of the overall actions being taken. The protocol process can virtually supersede the Convention itself. In the case of stratospheric ozone depletion, the Vienna Convention which was the umbrella agreement leading to the Montreal Protocol has almost vanished from the scene and all of the actions with that issue are now carried on as protocols or protocol amendments, such as the London amendments and the Copenhagen amendments to the Montreal protocol. However the International Conventions are not without their share of problems as well. Sovereignty is a limitation. Secondly, an international environmental law cannot be forced on a particular country. The compliance and monitoring until well planned may cause a lot of troubles. 5. IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS 5.1 CONVENTIONS RELATING TO AIR Convention on long range transboundary movement of air pollutants : Between 1972 – 1977 several studies confirmed the hypothesis that air pollutants could travel several thousands of kilometers before deposition and damage occurred. In response to this acute problems, a high- level meeting within the framework of ECE on the protection of the environment was held at ministerial level in 29 Nov 1979 in Geneva. It resulted in the signature of the convention on long-range transboundary air pollution by 34 Governments and the Europe community (EC). The convection was the first international legally binding instrument to deal with the problems of air pollution on a broad regional basis. Besides laying down the general principles of international corporation for air pollution abatement, the convection sets up an institutional framework bringing together research and policy. The convection on long- range transboundry air pollution entered into force in 1983. it has been extended by eight specific protocols. Vienna convention for the protection of the ozone layer (1985) The Governing council of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)first discussed the issue of ozone depletion in 1976. a meeting of experts on the ozone layer was convened in 1977, after which UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) setup the coordinating committee of the ozone layer (CCOL) to periodically assess ozone depletion. Intergovernmental negotiations for an international agreement to phase out ozone depleting substances started in 1981 and concluded with the adoption of the Vienna convention for the protection of the ozone layer in March 1985. The Vienna convention encourages Intergovernmental cooperation on research; systematic on substances that deplete the ozone layer was adopted in Sep 1987.The conference was opened for signature in Vienna, 22 Mar 1985 and the protocol entered into force in 22 Sep 1988.

UNFCCC : Over 166 states signed United Nations framework convention on climate change in June 1992 at the RioEarth Summit, recognizing climate changes as “a common concern of humankind”. The convention aimed to reduced emission levels of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000 but failed to set binding goals. The convention entered into force on 21v Mar 1994 Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework convention on Climate Change (Kyoto Protocol). The text of the Kyoto Protocol to the UHFCCC was adopted at the UHFCCC in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 Dec 1997. The Protocol in yet to come into force, as the US and Russia have not signed the document. India signed this multilateral treaty on 10 June 1992, and was the 38th country to ratify the Convention on 1 November 1993. 5.2 CONVENTIONS RELATING TO BIO DIVERSITY Convention on biological diversity : At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for “sustainable development” – meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations. One of the key agreements adopted at Rio was the convention on biological diversity. This pact among he majority of the world’s Government’s setout commitments for maintain the world’s ecological underpinnings as we go about the business of economic development. The convention establishes three main goals: the conservation on biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources. The convention on biological diversity was signed by over 150 governments at the Rio Earth Summit in 19932 and entered into force on Oct 10, 1994. India is a signatory to this convention and has ratified the same Convention on international trade in endangered species (CITES) : Known as CITES, Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora, entered into force on 1 July 1975 and now has a membership of 152 countries. These countries act by banning commercial international trade in an agreed list of endangered species and by regulating and monitoring trade in others that might become endangered. CITES aims are major components of caring for the Earth, a strategy for sustainable living, launched in 1991 by UNEP - the United Nation Environmental Programme , IUCN- The World Conservation Union and WWF-the World Wide Fund for nature. CITES 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. India ratified the convention on 1992 5.3 CONVENTIONS RELATING TO HAZARDOUS WASTE (LAND) Stockholm convention on pops : Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemical substances that persist in the environment, bioaccumalate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment. With the evidence of the long-range transport of these substances to regions where they have never been used or produced and the consequent threats they pose to the environment of three whole globe, the international community has now, at several occasions called for urgent global actions to reduce and eliminate releases of these chemicals. The dirty dozen of POPs are aiderin1, convention hexachlorobenzene 1,2,3chlordane1, mirex1, DDT1 toxaphene1 dieldrin, polychlorinated

biphenyls2,3, endrin1 polychlorinated dibnzo-p-dioxins(dioxins3), heptachlor1, polychlorinated dibnzo-p-furans3.the official date of adoption of the Stockholm convention is 23 may 2001. Basel convention : A global agreement, ratified by several member countries and the European Union for addressing the problems and challenges posed by hazardous waste. The secretariat, in Geneva, facilitates the implementation of the convention and related agreements. The convention was adopted on 22 Mar 1989 by the conference of plenipotentiaries which was convened at Basel from 20-22 Mar 1989. it also provides assistance and guidelines on legal and technical issues, gathers statistical data, and conducts training on the proper management of hazardous waste. The secretariat is administrated by UNEP. The key objectives of the Basel convention are – to minimize the generation of hazardous wastes in terms of quantity and hazardousness;- to dispose of them as close to the source of generation as possible;- to reduce the movement of hazardous waste. India is a signatory to the convention. 5.4 CONVENTIONS ON WATER United Nations Conventions on Law of Sea The United Nations Conventions on the Law of Sea lays down a comprehensive regime of law and order in the worlds oceans and seas establishing rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources. It enshrines the nation that all problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be addressed as a whole. the convention was opened for signature on 10 Dec 1982 in motengo bay, Jamaica. The convention entered into force on 16 Nov 1994. The convention comprises 320 articles and nine annexes, ,governing all aspects of ocean space, such as delimitation, environmental control, marine scientific research, economic and commercial activities, transfer of technology and the settlement of disputes relating to ocean matters. 6. CONCLUSION The International Conventions are another means for environmental management, however at a better level. Our country should take an active part in the elaboration, ratification and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements. Our country should explicitly foresee the possibility to participate in international environmental agreements, which is another method for proper environmental management. Our country should take more steps to become a signatory of some other conventions and also take measures to strenthen our commitments to the existing conventions.

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