International Developments

Major International Environment-related Conferences

Well, I’ve been preparing for an exam on environmental science, and got a fair number of ideas for blogs over here.

Top of my list was a list of all the major conventions and conferences held internationally in relation to environment. I wanted to put this list out, because I had a bit of difficulty finding a place with all the names and basic information about these conventions; where it was held, what was discussed and which year it was held in. So here goes!

  • UN Conference on Human environment

This was held in 1972, in Stokholm. It was the first UN conference on environmental issues. It resulted in the establishment of United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

  • World Commission on Environment and Development

This was held in 1987, and consisted of the Brundtland report that highlighted the concept of sustainable development.

  • United Nations Conference on Environmental Development

Probably the most famous, and the most important conference of them all, UNCED was held in 1992 in Rio. It is also called the Rio conference or the Convention for Biological Diversity. Among the things proposed and discussed in this conference was

  1. Agenda 21–  global plan to promote sustainable development.
  2. Statement of Forest Principles.
  3. Raising the issue of combating desertification. This was subsequently dealt with in a separate conference in 1994.
  • World Summit on Sustainable Development

This was a follow up of the Rio conference, held in 2002 in Johannesburg. It is also called Rio +10.

  • United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

This was held in 2012, again in Rio. It is also called Rio +20. These follow up conferences have monitored and come up with new ways to assist the world in sustainable development.

There have been conferences over the years specifically discussing climate change. These are-

  • Kyoto Protocol

Held in 1997, this was the first conference dealing specifically with climate change. The signatories vowed to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade to combat climate change.

  • Paris Conference on Climate Change

The most recent conference to be held, in 2015, this conference planned to limit global warming effects to less than 2 degree Celsius compared to preindustrial levels.

Other important Protocols/Conventions

  • Ramsar Convention

This was held in 1972, and was unique in the sense that this convention was solely to preserve and wisely use the wetlands of the world, which was fast disappearing. It highlighted 1743 wetlands around the world that became protected sites.

  • MARPOL Convention

This was a convention specifically for marine pollution happening due to oil spills and other maritime activities. This was held in 1973.

  • Montreal Protocol

Held in 1987, this is a landmark protocol and possibly the only one that has been successfully achieved. Following the Vienna Convention in 1985, this protocol was to deal with substances that depletes Ozone. The target was to eliminate all ozone depleting substances from commercial use by 2000 (methyl chloroform in 2004).

  • Cartagena Protocol

Held in 2000, this protocol was drafted and signed in 2000 but came into effect in 2003. 103 signatories came to agreement on Biosafety and Biodiversity related rules.

  • CITES 1973

This was the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna. It was held in Washington and proved to be the turning point in illegalizing trade of many animal and plant related products that was putting many of them under severe threat of extinction.

There have been a few other such conventions, but these are the most important ones till now. I hope this helped. Cheers!

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