Sustainable Engineering : "Multilateral Environmental Agreements"

Outline of the lecture

  • Gain a better understanding of MEAs
  • Defining MEAs
  •  The proliferation of MEAs
  •  MEAs and international law
  •  Looking at different MEAs
  •  Are all environment-related international instruments MEAs?

What are Multilateral Environmental Agreements ? (MEAs)

An MEA is a legally binding instrument between two or more nation states that deals with some aspect of the environment
  • concluded in written form
  •  governed by international law
  • can be embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments (framework agreements)
  • first attempt to address inter-relationships of environment and development at global level  adopted first global action plan for environment  established the United National Environmental Programme (UNEP)  accelerated development of modern MEAs: more than 60% of existing MEAs are adopted after 1972
  • The result is a mutually agreed upon treaty adopted via a high-level related conference, and signed by the signatories (states);  “Party”/ country ratifies (accepts, approves or accedes) the convention  After ratification of a fixed/ defined number of signatories the convention enters into force  Once a Party has finalized the ratification process, it is subject to all its provisions.
  • Secretariat: provide and support for the parties to the conventions – Reporting on compliance – Upholding information systems related to the convention and the issues it deals with – Employing or fostering financial mechanisms for projects dealing with MEA implementation
  • Assisting and servicing the periodic meetings of the Conference of Parties (COP) for MEAs or Meeting of the Parties (MOP) for Protocols or regional agreements • Conference of the Parties (COP): Those nations that ratify after adoption and signature or accede to particular agreements are called Parties. They meet periodically through Conferences of Parties to assess different aspects and implementation of MEAs
  • Appraise the implementation process an MEA is going through at the national levels. Evaluating different reports by national governments. – Deliberate on all aspects of the MEAs – Resolve on new of additional issues that need to be settled for the implementation of the treaty. – Revise the multilateral agreement when and if necessary. Some conventions consent to add protocols.