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    Add as FriendUnderstanding Multilateral Environmental Agreements

    by: Rogers

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    1 : Understanding Multilateral Environmental Agreements
    2 : In this session: 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? The clustering approach
    3 : Defining MEAs An MEA is a legally binding instrument between two or more nation states that deals with some aspect of the environment Legally binding Between 2 or more nation states Legally Binding Treaties Conventions Agreements Protocols Accords Pacts Non- Legally Binding Resolutions Decisions Declarations Recommendations
    4 : The proliferation of MEAs MEAs have flourished in last 3 decades, especially since 1972 International Stockholm Conference Reasons: Response to the gravity of environmental problems Growing understanding of regional and global nature of environmental problems
    5 : Basic information on the organisation of MEAs 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
    6 : Basic information on the organisation of MEAs 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.
    7 : Basic information on the organisation of MEAs Scientific Body: Formal scientific bodies authoritatively accompany MEAs. They meet periodically through Conferences of Parties to assess different aspects and implementation of MEAs.
    8 : Basic information on selected MEAs Sources of information: Agreement’s own web page United Nations Treaty Collection: http://untreaty.un.org/ Earth Negotiations Bulletin (www.iisd.ca) MEA Bulletin ENB Negotiation Coverage
    9 : MEAs and International Law Multilateral environmental agreements must conform to international public law The compliance is guided by the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. This treaty, which entered into force in 1980, prescribes the components and general guidelines for the development, negotiation and adoption of international treaties.
    10 : How does a multilateral agreement enter into force internationally? Adoption Signature Ratification, acceptance, or approval Entry into force Accession Withdrawal or denouncing
    11 : Looking at Different MEAs MEAs can be, and are, categorized according to different typologies, criteria or groupings. The classifications tend to vary and are not mutually exclusive. A very broad one can be to catalogue them by two broad spheres: one being their geographical reach and another by the sort of regulatory tool they use: Geographic classification: global, regional, multilateral and/or bilateral Regulatory tools classification: stand-alone, framework or appendix-driven
    12 : Are all environment-related international instruments MEAs?
    13 : Civil society participation: Rio Principle 10 and MEAs Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development provides a basis for civil society participation through the overall access to justice and to the particular rights indicated below: access to information access to judicial measures and proceedings access to administrative processes access to redress, and access to remedy. Principle 10: Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided.
    14 : The Truth about MEA Compliance and Enforcement While MEAs are legally binding, they suffer from the inability or unwillingness of Parties (many of which are developing countries or countries in transition) 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.
    15 : MEAs Clustering Approach Overlaps, fragmentation, and proliferation of MEAs have resulted in the following obstacles: Increasing “double-work” and potential conflict or confusion between different multilateral accords; Increasing requests for co-ordination among and between different MEA structures; Increasing funding required by developing nations and non-State actors to participate in the different MEA-originated systems.
    16 : MEAs Clustering Approach To resolve these obstacles, some international agencies, countries, and practitioners have called for a “clustering” approach. The general idea has been that grouping (i.e. clustering), conceptually merging, or integrating agreements according to different variables can result in an improved and more robust international governance system.
    17 : Clustering Exercise List the MEAs that you think would be included in the following groupings. What kind of overlaps and fragmentation do you see?
    18 : Summary MEAs are generally defined as legally binding instruments between two or more nation states that deal with some aspect of the environment. Multilateral environmental agreements are cornerstones to the international environmental governance debate and policy. A key factor of MEAs is their wide-ranging first-hand acknowledgement of civil society involvement in all facets of the negotiating, implementing, and monitoring aspects of international accords that deal with sustainable development concerns.
    19 : Summary MEAs have been proliferating in the last decade as awareness of the global dimension of environmental issues has extended. This proliferation has brought positive aspects (greater consciousness, larger number of instruments to deal with the issues, etc.); yet, it has also brought about negative aspects (overlaps, dispersed efforts, and so on). There are sets of analysis and efforts that are taking place in the global and regional levels to attempt to agglomerate MEAs in order to facilitate functions as well as to establish the rules of limitations and synergies of differing international systems.

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