IGOs and Conventions

United Nations Environment Programme

The United Nations Environment Programme is an agency of the United Nations that coordinates its environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972.
Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy. It has played a significant role in developing international environmental conventions, promoting environmental science and information and illustrating the way those can be implemented in conjunction with policy, working on the development and implementation of policy with national governments, regional institutions in conjunction with environmental non-governmental organizations. UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects, and has aided in the formulation of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways.


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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

2795f2309567aa7bde4f1686fed8997cAn intergovernmental organization, FAO has 194 Member Nations, two associate members and one member organization, the European Union. Its employees come from various cultural backgrounds and are experts in the multiple fields of activity FAO engages in. FAO’s staff capacity allows it to support improved governance inter alia, generate, develop and adapt existing tools and guidelines and provide targeted governance support as a resource to country and regional level FAO offices. Headquartered in Rome, Italy, FAO is present in over 130 countries. Its goals are to eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable; reduce rural poverty; enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food system; increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters.


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United Nations Development Programme

undp-logoSince 1966 UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, it offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
UNDP’s network also links and coordinates global and national efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals. It focus on helping countries build and share solutions in four main areas: poverty reduction, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery, environment and energy for sustainable development. In all its activities, it encourages the protection of human rights and the empowerment of women, minorities and the poorest and most vulnerable.


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Conservation on Biological Diversity

Convention-on-Biological-Diversity-logo-370px-SGB-emThe Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treaty. The Convention has three main goals: conservation of biological diversity; sustainable use of its components; and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. In other words, its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. It is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development. The Convention was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993. It reminds decision-makers that natural resources are not infinite and sets out a philosophy of sustainable use. While past conservation efforts were aimed at protecting particular species and habitats, the Convention recognizes that ecosystems, species and genes must be used for the benefit of humans. However, this should be done in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity.


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United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. The objective of the treaty is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. The treaty itself set no binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. In that sense, the treaty is considered legally non-binding. Instead, the treaty provides a framework for negotiating specific international treaties (called “protocols”) that may set binding limits on greenhouse gases. One of the first tasks set by the UNFCCC was for signatory nations to establish national greenhouse gas inventories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals, which were used to create the 1990 benchmark levels for accession of Annex I countries to the Kyoto Protocol and for the commitment of those countries to GHG reductions.


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Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

Friends_CCAMLR_Logo_Blue_on_whiteThe Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, also Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and CCAMLR, is part of the Antarctic Treaty System. The Convention was opened for signature on 1 August 1980 and entered into force on 7 April 1982 by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, headquartered in Tasmania, Australia. The goal is to preserve marine life and environmental integrity in and near Antarctica.
It was established in large part to concerns that an increase in krill catches in the Southern Ocean could have a serious impact on populations of other marine life which are dependent upon krill for food. Being responsible for the conservation of Antarctic marine ecosystems, CCAMLR practises an ecosystem-based management approach.


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Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat

ramsar_logoThe Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, i.e., to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value. The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”. Unlike the other global environmental conventions, Ramsar is not affiliated with the United Nations system of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, but it works very closely with the other MEAs and is a full partner among the “biodiversity-related cluster” of treaties and agreements.


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Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna

CITES_logoCITES (also known as the Washington Convention) is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals. It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The convention was opened for signature in 1973, and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants. Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation.