Environmental treaties signed by India

Environmental treaties signed by India


1.What is the environment? How is it important?

• The word environment has been derived from the French word “ Environ” which means “ to surround” “to enclose”.
• It basically comprises of the surrounding in which living beings survive and that surrounding includes both factors biotic as well as abiotic.
• It signifies the interaction between human actions and processes and the natural world.
• It is a complex structure that consists of living beings from micro to the largest on a global scale.
• Like other terms, the environment holds different meanings according to different views.
• It beholds several valuable factors including social, cultural, political, economic, and so on.
• In short, the environment can be said as it is the function of the ecosystem which contains both tangible and intangible objects which is necessary for the existence of living beings in the real world.
• It consists of valuable natural resources which establish a connection of humans with nature.
• 5th June is observed as “World Environment Day” every year.

>>How it is important?

• Environment plays an important role from setting proper surroundings to the establishment of a physical and real world.
• A clean environment helps in maintaining various such issues which are threats for the world.
• It is necessary for the survival and existence of organisms because it is the only medium through which humans are connected with nature for their needs to fulfill.
• Environmentalism is important for the protection of natural resources.

2. What is an environment treaty?

It is the written agreement signed by various countries that are intended to establish a relationship governed by international law for the purpose of the maintenance and protection of natural resources and the environment from being depletion caused due to anthropogenic activities and some natural phenomenon.
• It includes the protection of flora and fauna, planning, forest development, and reducing the emissions caused due to change in the amount of gases in the atmosphere which leads to the ways for climate change.

3. Why is an environmental treaty important?

There are various sources that lead to climate change and the change in climate at the global level may cause threats for human life, as well as the whole environment of the world, which will be harsh affected.

Therefore, there is a need for the proper implementation of certain rules and laws which will act according to the situation in order to attain a common goal of environmental issues like reducing emissions and preventing the sources from causing climatic change.

Thus it is important to sign the environmental treaties by both least developing countries and developed countries in order to lessen the impacts of anthropogenic and natural activities on the environment.

• Air pollution, deterioration of the ozone layer, climate change, ocean pollution, increase in the emissions of gases which leads to global warming, etc. are various reasons due to which it is important to make environmental treaties.
• Conservation of natural resources.
• There is a need for sustainable development, global awareness.
• Harmful effects of climate change lead to the deterioration of the environment which will lead to difficulties in the years to come.

4. List of environmental treaties signed by India.

• The Antarctic Treaty ( Washington, 1959 )
• Convection on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora ( CITES), 1973
• Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer ( to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer), 1987
• Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes, 1989
• UN Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC), 1992
• Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992
• Agenda 21
• UN Convention on Desertification, 1994
• Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety
• Prior Informed Consent, Rotterdam, Convention
• Other Agreements:-
ITTO, 1983,1994 ,
IITA, 1996,
Ramsar Convention, 1971,
Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (1986)


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5. Effect after signing environmental treaties?

The effects of environmental treaties are different for different countries as some countries which are not capable of implementing the treaties more scientifically and technologically end up having few or fewer resources.

And on the other hand, it is an opportunity for the developed countries to work on the treaties signed by them without facing any kind of economic crisis. It is even difficult to have a clarification regarding the data which are presented by countries.

• However the effects are both positive and negative. For example, global production of ozone-depleting substances and European and North American emissions of acid
precipitants have declined since treaties were signed while it has led to declining in the number of many marine ecosystems and fish stocks despite regional and global efforts.
• It is difficult to say either these environmental treaties are effective or not due to many factors like inappropriate resources, techniques, and skills required to implement the treaties in order to achieve the targets set by the international government is somewhere not possible.
• But positive results are also there as the countries come together to work on a common goal and therefore many such good effects can be seen in the reduction of emissions of gases, less depletion of the ozone layer, reduction in global warming and so on.

6. Environmental Treaties signed after 2014?

• ASEAN; Indonesia: Regional Haze Agreement Ratified (22 Sep 2014 )
• International: Paris Agreement Parties to Consider Human Rights Issues (20 May 2016 )
• Peru: Paris Accord on Climate Change Ratified ( 2 Sep 2016)
• United Nations: Ban on Trade in African Grey Parrots ( 4 Oct 2016 )
• European Union: Ratification of Treaty of Paris on Climate Change ( 12 Oct 2016)
• United Nations: Treaty on Mercury to Come into Force ( 7 June 2017 )
• Sri Lanka: Decision to Ratify Amendment to Montreal Protocol ( 25 Oct , 2017)
• New Zealand: Zero Carbon Bill Introduced ( 14 May 2019)
• European Union: Commission Proposes European Climate Law to Achieve Climate Neutrality by 2050 ( 7 April 2020 )
• Norway: Supreme Court Rules on Scope of Climate Provision in Constitution; Issues Exploratory Arctic Drilling Permits (31 March 2021)

7. Treaties signed with ASEAN Countries?

Due to severe land and forest fires in 1997-98, ASEAN member states signed the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) On 10th June 2002 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in order to prevent the mitigation of land and the measures to control pollution.

8. Paris Agreement:

It is a 32-page document and a legally binding international treaty that established the framework for global climate action which was adopted by 196 parties at COP21 in Paris on 12 Dec 2015 and came into effect on 4th November 2016 at COP22.
Goal- To limit global warming below 2.

Countries aim to reach the desired goal as soon as possible to achieve a neutral climate.

How does it work?

Implementation, which requires economic and social transformation. Besides this, a cycle has been set at the interval of 5 years on which the countries have to present their results individual reports of the works.

NDCs- For the reduction of greenhouse gases and build resilience to adapt to the impacts of rising temperatures.
LT-LEDs are the long-term strategies – Low Greenhouse gas emission development strategies.

How countries support each other :

Developed countries provide help to the developing countries for financial, technical, and capacity-building support in order to reach the goal as soon as possible.

Besides these, countries established an enhanced transparency framework (ETF). Under ETF which will start in 2024, the transparency will be shown in reports on actions taken and to observe the climate change mitigation, adaptation measures, and the support provided or received.

Achievements –

Low carbon solutions, established carbon neutrality targets, zero-carbon solutions representing 25% emissions.
Important points in Paris Agreement –
• It came to replace the existing Kyoto Protocol and replaced it on 31st January 2020 to curb the release of greenhouse gases.
• Paris Conference – 21st session of the conference of the parties to the UNFCCC as COP21.
• UNFCCC- Adopted in 1992 for the global climate effort which is a treaty among governments.
• On 1st June 2017, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the US from the agreement.
• On 20 Jan 2021, U.S.A.’s new President, Joseph Biden began the process of rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.
9. Kyoto Protocol –
• Adopted on 11th December 1997 as the extension of UNFCCC at COP3 for achieving the targets of reducing the emissions of GHG (Greenhouse Gases).
• Principle – Based on the principle and provisions of the Convention and follows its annex-based structure.
• Theme – “ Common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities”.
• Initially 37 industrialized countries have signed the agreement and the EU.


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In Doha, Qatar on 12 Dec 2012 an amendment was made in the Kyoto protocol for the purpose of reducing emissions by an average of 5.2% by 2012 which would represent about 29% of the world’s total emissions. Several changes were made regarding the amendment procedure in order to reach the goal as soon as possible.

Therefore for this purpose :

Kyoto protocol separated countries into three groups :
• Annex 1 countries which include developed countries i.e.first world countries like U.K., France, etc.
• Non-Annex 1 which includes developing countries like India etc.
• LDCs: Least Developing Countries.

Kyoto Mechanism –

It has established 3 market mechanisms based on the trade of emission permits.
The mechanisms help to stimulate green investment and help parties meet their emissions targets in a cost-effective way. Thus the mechanisms are :
(I) International Emissions Trading (IET)
(II) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
(III) Joint Implementation (JI)
Besides this, an adaptation fund was established for developing countries. 1st commitment period was from 2008 to 2012 and 2nd commitment period was from 2013 to 2020.
Greenhouse Gases to be reduced from this protocol:

The main theme of this protocol was to work in 6 GHG which are:
• CO2,
• Nitrous Oxide
• Methane
• PFCs (Perfluorocarbons)
• HFCs ( Hydrofluorocarbons)
• Sulphur Hexafluoride(SF6)
Kyoto Problems-
• 166 Countries ratified but the no. 1 emitter of CO2, U.S.A. has not joined.
• India and China together were not required to reduce or limit their emissions under this protocol.
Some Important points:-
• Canada withdrew in 2012.
• India comes under a non-annex-I country.

10. Conclusion –

The main aim behind setting up the environmental treaties is to lessen the human impacts on the environment. But still, besides making laws and rules it is of utmost importance to make people aware of the concern for the environment as the harm to the environment may result in harsh damage globally and there will be more and more environmental issues.

These were all about environmental treaties signed by India.

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