Multilateral environmental agreements, known as MEAs for short, is the generic term applied to treaties, conventions, protocols and other binding conventions made with respect to the environment.

MEAs are international agreements, to which many (more than two) State parties are signatories. This is in contrast to bilateral agreements (between two states only), which are not usually considered to fall under the term MEA.

MEAs are the principal legally binding means by which countries use international law to regulate global environmental issues. They often contain general guidance principles as well as certain obligations, and in some cases defined actions, that State parties are obliged to ensure follow through into national laws, policies and programs.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been the UN body with the most responsibility for developing MEAs, including coordination of treaty secretariats and meetings of the parties, and promoting the implementation and enforcement of the MEAs.[1]

Examples of MEAs[edit | edit source]

There are many MEAs, here is just a selection:

  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
  • The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention)
  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

A fuller list of MEAs can be accessed at the International Environmental Agreements Database project: This site has very detailed search parameters that you can tweak to find specific treaties by topic, date, signatory, etc. It is worth taking some time to learn to navigate this website, as it's a mine of useful information if you're researching international environment agreements.

Other information[edit | edit source]

Sources and citations[edit | edit source]

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