Environmental Conservation at Global Level

Environment – Concepts
July 3, 2017
Material Science: Chapter 5: Ceramics
July 8, 2017
  1. The History
    1. Post Industrial Revolution Developments
    2. Non governmental efforts
    3. First Global Environmental Summit
    4. Change in Conservation Strategy
    5. The Earth Summits
  2. Important Summits, Conventions, Treaties and Protocols
    1. What is the difference between Summits, Conventions, Treaties and Protocols?
    2. Conventions related to protection of Wildlife
      1. International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), 1946
      2. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES),1973
      3. Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animal, 1979
    3. Conventions related to protection of Ecosystem
      1. Convention on Wetlands of International Importance,1971
      2. Man and Biosphere Programme, 1971
      3. World Heritage Convention, UNESCO, 1972
      4. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, 1994
    4. Conventions related to protection of Biodiversity
      1. Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol
    5. Conventions related to Climate Change
      1. UNFCCC, The Kyoto Protocol and The Paris Agreement
    6. Conventions to protect Ozone Layer
      1. Vienna Convention and The Montreal Protocol
    7. Conventions related to Pollution Control
      1. Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution,1972
      2. Marpol Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973
      3. The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, 1989
      4. Prior Informed Consent (PIC), Rotterdam Convention, 1998
      5. Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), 2001
      6. Minamata Convention,2013
    8. FAQs
      1. UNEP
      2. LMO
      3. GEF
      4. Annex I countries
      5. Agenda 21

1.The History

The timeline of the environmental conservation can be summarised as follows

1.1 Post Industrial Revolution Developments

  • Post industrial revolution, world saw
    • a major increase in population
    • depletion of natural resources
    • increased air and water pollution
    • increased use of fossil fuels
  • But it was the forest and wildlife destruction that caught the immediate attention. Several national laws were mainly to protect the wildlife and forests
  • Later the harmful effects of pollution made national governments to frame laws (ex- the British Clean Air Act of the 1956)
  • The environmental movements involving the public was a development post 1960.

1.2 Non governmental efforts

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was founded in 1948
  • IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network
  • The environmentalist movements, had its great beginning in the 1960s
  • The Club of Rome founded a new environmental thought, with its the publication – “The Limits of Growth
  • The Sierra Club which gave the concept – “Blind pace of Development
  • International organisations such as Green-peace, Friends of the Earth, and other small local organisations fought to control the pollution of their waters and lands
  • The 1967 publication of Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking ‘Silent Spring’ caught public attention on environmental disasters
  • In the late 1960s and early 1970s, citizens began to demand comprehensive environmental protection laws.

1.3 First Global Environmental Summit

  • Need of a global effort for environmental protection led to The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment  held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972.
  • The summit has moulded the approach from just Informative to Inspiring and guiding the global community in being more responsible
  • It resulted in two things  – The 26 principles and UNEP[FAQ 1]
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is an international programme of the UN

1.4 Change in Conservation Strategy

  • There was a growing acceptance of the fact that conservation of nature by banning human presence no longer worked
  • There should be a balance between strict nature protection and conservation and  development
  • The World Conservation Strategy published in 1980 is one of the most influential documents in 20th century nature conservation and one of the first official documents to introduce the concept of sustainable development.
  • The Strategy was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
  • In 1983, the UN General Assembly set up the World Commission on Environment and Development, known as the Brundtland Commission.
  • The Brundtland report, published in 1987 as ‘Our Common Future’, declared that the time had come for a marriage between the environment and the economy and used the term “sustainable development” as the way to ensure that economic development would not endanger the ability of future generations to enjoy the fruits of the earth
  • The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio (1992) was strongly influenced by the The Brundtland report

1.5 The Earth Summits

  • Twenty years after the first global environment conference, the UN sought to help Governments rethink on economic development
  • To discuss global environmental issues that would become central to policy implementation.
  • The protection of the planet to ensure a sustainable future for all people.
  • The first ‘Earth Summit’ – United Nations Conference on Environment and Development – UNCED  also known as the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit or Rio Summit or Rio Conference, was held in Rio de Janeiro  in 1992.
  • The second Earth Summit, 20 years later in 2012, called the “United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – UNCSD ” was also held in Rio, and is also commonly called Rio+20 or Rio Earth Summit 2012.
  • The Earth Summits influenced all subsequent UN conferences

2. Important Summits, Conventions, Treaties and Protocols

Since the 1970s, there  have been many international environmental agreements.

2.1 What is the difference between Summits, Conventions, Treaties and Protocols?

What Meaning Example
Summit A meeting between heads of government The Earth Summits
Conference A meeting of usually large group of interested parties for consultation, education, exchange of information, or discussion with a formal agenda The annual conference of parties(COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Convention A formal meeting of members, representatives, or delegates which results in a general agreement about procedures or actions they will take on specific topics. It happens before a treaty is formed. Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat
Treaty A formally concluded and ratified agreement between parties, members or nations Paris climate accord, 2015  within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Protocol An agreement that stands on its own but is linked to an existing convention or treaty Kyoto Protocol linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

2.2 Conventions related to protection of Wildlife

What When and where Why How
International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW)

1946

Washington, D.C.

  • To provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks
  • For orderly development of the whaling industry
  • Established The International Whaling Commission
  • Adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES)

1973

Washington, D.C.

  • To ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival
  • Is legally binding on the Parties
  • Provides a framework to be respected by each Party
  • Parties will adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level
  • It does not take the place of national laws
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals(CMS)

1979

Bonn, Germany

  • To provide a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats
  • To bring together the States through which migratory animals pass
  • Works under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme
  • Lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range

2.3 Conventions related to protection of Ecosystem

What When and Where Why How
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance(Ramsar Convention)

1971

Ramsar, Iran

  • For the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources
  • Cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species
  • Designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (The Ramsar List)
  • Ensure the effective management of Ramsar sites
Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB)

 1971

UNESCO

  • To establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments 
  • To improve human livelihoods and the equitable sharing of benefits
  • To safeguard natural and managed ecosystems
  • Establishing a World Network of Biosphere Reserves
  • Currently counts 669 sites in 120 countries all over the world, including 20 transboundary sites 
  • Combines the natural and social sciences, economics and education to promote innovative approaches
  • Promoting economic development approaches that are socially and culturally appropriate, and environmentally sustainable
World Heritage Convention

1972

The General Conference of UNESCO

  • Bring together the concepts of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural properties
  • Defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List
  • World Heritage sites management
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD)

1994

Paris, France

  • To combat desertification
  • Mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs
  • To improve the living conditions for people in drylands
  • Stems from direct recommendation of the Rio Conference’s Agenda 21 [FAQ 5]
  • Addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands
  • Committed to a bottom-up approach
  • Works through national action programs 
  • Incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements

 

2.4 Conventions related to Biodiversity

Convention on Biodiversity (CBD)

  • CBD is the brainchild of UNEP
  • It was materialised during Earth Summit of 1992
  • CBD has “parties”who meet once in two years
  • The meetings are called Conference of Parties (COP)
  • So far 13 COPs have happened
  • The Thirteenth COP was at Cancun, Mexico, in December 2016
  • Objectives of CBD are
    • Access and Benefit Sharing i.e. fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources
    • Conservation of Biodiversity
    • Sustainable use of Biodiversity
  • Various protocols and targets have been setup to achieve these three broad objectives

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

  • Was adopted after COP-4 in an additional meeting at Cartagena, Colombia in 2000
  • Governs the movements of living modified organisms (LMOs)[FAQ 2], resulting from modern biotechnology, from one country to another
  • Applies to all living modified organisms that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health

Nagoya Protocol

  • Adopted as part of COP-10 in Nagoya, Japan, 2010
  • Aids fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources with the local community
  • Aids access to genetic resources for industrial purposes

Aichi Targets

  • The COP-10 also gave raise to Aichi targets
  • Is a ten-year framework for action by all countries to save biodiversity
  • Officially known as “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020″

Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO)

  • Is the periodic publication of the CBD
  • This  report summarises the latest data on the status and trends of biodiversity and draws conclusions relevant to the further implementation of the Convention

Implementation

  • Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM), an internet-based network, promotes technical and scientific cooperation and the exchange of information
  • Financial Resources and Mechanism provides financial resources to developing countries for the implementation of the CBD. It is supported primarily by funding from member governments and operated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)[FAQ 3]

2.5 Conventions related to Climate Change

UNFCCC, The Kyoto Protocol and The Paris Agreement

  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was outcome of Earth Summit of 1992
  • The 197 countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention
  • Their meetings are called Conference of Parties (COP) which happens every year
  • Preventing “dangerous” human interference with the climate system is the ultimate aim of the UNFCCC
  • So far 22 COPs have happened
  • The 22nd COP was at Marrakech,Morocco, in November 2016

Kyoto Protocol

  • Was adopted at COP-3 at Kyoto, Japan in 1997
  • Came into force in 2005
  • There are 192 Parties (191 States and 1 regional economic integration organisation) to the protocol
  • The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh, and are referred to as the “Marrakesh Accords.”
  • Its first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012
  • The second commitment period commitments from  2013 to 2020 was agreed at COP-18, Doha
  • During the first commitment period, 37 industrialised countries and the European Community(Annex 1 Countries)[FAQ 4] committed to reduce GHG emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels.
  • During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020

Paris Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement was adopted at COP-21, Paris in 2015
  • For the first time brings all nations in the efforts to combat climate change
  • The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016, thirty days after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification
  • Aim is to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels

Implementation

The Kyoto Protocol allows three mechanisms

  1. Carbon Trading
  2. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and
  3. Joint Implementation (JI)

The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs)

  • All Parties should report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts
  • In 2018, Parties will take stock of the collective efforts
  • There will also be a global stocktake every 5 years

Note: For more information regarding the climate change, adaptation and mitigation, please visit the article ‘Climate Change‘ 

2.6 Conventions to protect Ozone Layer

Vienna Convention and The Montreal Protocol

  • The Vienna Convention serves as a framework for efforts to protect the globe’s ozone layer
  • It was adopted in 1985 and entered into force in 1988
  • It is the first Convention of any kind to achieve universal ratification

The Montreal Protocol

  • It is the agreement to phase out the production of substances that deplete the Ozone Layer 
  • It was agreed in 1987 and entered into force in 1989
  • The latest amendment to the protocol is the Kigali Amendment, 2016
  • Kigali Amendment, adds hydrofluorocarbons which causes global warming, even though it is not ozone depleting, to the list

2.7 Conventions related to Pollution Control

What When and Where Why How
Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution

1972

London

  • To promote the effective control of all sources of marine pollution
  • To take all practicable steps to prevent pollution of the sea by dumping of wastes and other matter
  • The “London Protocol” was agreed
  • All dumping is prohibited
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)

1973

At IMO

  • Adopted in response to a spate of tanker accidents
  • Aims at preventing and minimising pollution from ships – both accidental pollution and that from routine operations
  • Made it mandatory for oil tankers to have double hulls
  • Provides strict controls on operational discharges
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

1989

Switzerland

  • To protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes
  • The restriction of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes
  • Covers a wide range of wastes – hazardous wastes, household waste and incinerator ash
  • Reduction of hazardous waste generation
  • Promotion of environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes
  • A regulatory system applying to cases where transboundary movements are permissible
The Rotterdam Convention

1998

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

  • To promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals
  • Environmentally sound use of hazardous chemicals
  • Creates legally binding obligations for the implementation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure
  • Covers pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted by Parties
  • Facilitate information exchange about the chemicals
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

2001

Stockholm

  • To protect human health and the environment from Persistent Organic Pollutant (POPs)
  • Prohibit and/or eliminate the production and use, import and export, of the intentionally produced POPs
  • Reduce or eliminate releases from unintentionally produced POPs
  • Promotes the use of best available techniques and best environmental practices for preventing releases of POPs into the environment
The Minamata Convention on Mercury

 

2013

Minamata and Kumamoto, Japan

  • To protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury
  • Ban on new mercury mines and the phase-out of existing ones
  • Phase out and phase down of mercury use in a number of products and processes
  • Control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water
  • Addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal as well as health issues

FAQs

1.Explain about the UNEP

United Nations Environment Programme is also known as UN-Environment. UNEP is the lead UN programme concerned with the environment.  

  • Established by General Assembly in 1972
  • Agenda 21 (the outcome document of the 1992 Rio Conference) reinforces its mandate
  • UN Environment’s main activities are related to
    • climate change
    • disasters and conflicts
    • ecosystem management
    • environmental governance
    • environment under review
    • harmful substances
    • resource efficiency
  • Its publications include – Annual Emissions Gap report, Global Environment Outlook etc

2.What is a LMO?

A Living Modified Organism (LMO) is defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety as any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology. GMOs(Genetically Modified Organisms) are biological entities that are genetically modified using Modern biotechnology techniques. They include both living and dead biological entities. LMOs (living modified organisms) are primarily living GMOs alone and thus are capable of transferring or replicating genetic material.

3.What is GEF?

The Global Environmental Facility  is

  • Established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit
  • A UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP of 18 agencies — including United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, national entities and international NGOs — working with 183 countries to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues. 
  • A FINANCIAL MECHANISM for 5 major international environmental conventions: the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • AN INNOVATOR AND CATALYST that supports multi-stakeholder alliances to preserve threatened ecosystems on land and in the oceans, build greener cities, boost food security and promote clean energy for a more prosperous, climate-resilient world.

4.Which are the Annex I countries?

The Kyoto protocol treats the countries differently. This is because the industrialized countries are the source of most past and current greenhouse gas emissions. They are expected to do the most to cut emissions on home ground. They are called Annex I countries and belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). They include 12 countries with “economies in transition” from Central and Eastern Europe. 

5.Explain Agenda 21

  • Agenda 21 is a non-binding voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development.
  • It is a product of the Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.
  • Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally 
  • Nations that have pledged to take part in Agenda 21 are monitored by the International Commission on Sustainable Development
  • The agenda includes
    • Options for combating the deterioration of land, air and water, whilst conserving habitats and their diversity
    • Issues like poverty, over consumption, health and education.
    • Participatory decision making – governments, business, trade unions, scientists, teachers, indigenous people and youth – in achieving sustainable development 
    • Actions to reduce the environmentally and socially detrimental processes

6 Comments

  1. Rahul says:

    Sir quiz has not been provided for global conservation???

  2. Raj says:

    COP from CBD & COP from climate change ..really confusing ….
    Sir why didn’t you upload a quiz for this session?

  3. IES GS says:

    We will update quizzes as part of the revision plan. Stay tuned.

  4. sevi says:

    Sir, the content of the table is not visible, (like cropped) after 1-2 columns.. ?

    • IES GS says:

      Okay.. We try to look into it.. Otherwise you can download to your desktop by opening that in Google chrome and use save option

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