Global treaties’Conventions and Protocols

A number of treaties have been signed under the aegis of United Nations to check the emission of greenhouse gases, climatic change, biodiversity conservation and ozone depletion. A brief description of some of the important treaties and protocols has been given in the following:

The Earth Summit

The Earth Summit was held at the Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) from 1st to 14th June in 1992 under the aegis of the United Nations. The idea for a global meeting on the environment was put forward at the 1972 U.N. Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1987. The main objective of the treaty was to stabilize the greenhouse gases.

The Earth Summit was attended by leaders of 100 nations, 10,000 delegates from over 160 countries, 9000 journalists. In additional 1000 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with over 50,000 attendees assembled at Flamingo Park for a parallel, unofficial gathering dubbed as the ‘Global Forum’.’ For many of the problems discussed at the two conferences were evident on the streets of the city, where air, pollution, water pollution, toxic, noise, disparity of income and wealth, and a struggle for health and education occur in abundance. Maurice F. Strong, a Canadian and Secretary General of the UNCED, summarized in this conference address:

‘The people of our planet, especially our youth and generations which follow them, will hold us accountable for what we do or fail to do at the Earth Summit in Rio. The earth is the only home we have, its fate is literally in our hands’ The most important ground we must arrive at Rio is the understanding that we are all in this together.’

The treaty itself sets no mandatory limits on green house gas emission for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. In that sense the treaty is considered legally not binding. Instead, the treaty provides for updates (called ‘protocols’) that would set mandatory emission limits. The principal update is the Kyoto Protocol which has become much better known as the UNFCCC itself.

Environment and Ecology