IUCN : Taking Care of Planet Earth


We have but one home for us in this universe and we cannot afford to make it hostile for our own existence. Ever since its inception in 1948, the IUCN has met once in 2 or 4 years to debate on major issues concerning the environment and to chalk out policies and frameworks on a global level. The IUCN has worked to solve issues regarding the indigenous people, flora, fauna, eco-systems and more recently it has worked on Sustainable development goals (SDGs).  Several protocols were drafted and conventions were held for the nations of the world to follow. These were meant put checks on the depletion of the earth’s resources and degradation of the environment as the situation demanded. There have been several protocols and conventions brought into force and a few landmark events could be described.

Madrid Protocol

It is a special international treaty that helps in registration of trademarks by simplified procedures. There is a Madrid Agreement  also which was drafted much earlier and both these together form the Madrid System.  The Madrid agreement though drafted in 1891 underwent a number of Amendments and later the Madrid Protocol came into force in 1989 in order to make the Madrid system more flexible and compatible with the modern trade situation.

Convention on Long Range Trans-boundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP)

This convention was meant to  monitor and protect the Human environment by reducing Air pollution, This convention was drafted in 1979 but came into force in 1983.  The implementation is taken care of by the EMEP but has been directed by the UNECE. The convention aims to get the parties to limit and gradually reduce long range trans-boundary air pollution.

Montreal Protocol

This is a global agreement that ensures the protection of the Ozone layer by controlling ozone depleting substances and gradually reducing the production and use of such substances. It was first drafted in 1987 and signed as an International treaty at Montreal in Canada.

Rio Summit/ Earth Summit

It is an important  United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)  held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. The main focus of the conference was the state of the earth’s environment and its association with science and economics in a political background. The reasons for this summit include the UN conference on Human Environment (1972),the Great Lakes water Quality agreement (1978). Helsinki agreement  (1985), Montreal Protocol (1988) and Basel Convention (1989). The Summit addressed the issues such as scrutiny of hazardous substances’ production and release, use of alternative energy sources, bringing in public transportation to reduce fossil fuel consumption and scarcity of water. The outcomes of the Summit lead to a Convention on Biodiversity, UN Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCC), UN convention to Combat desertification, Rio Declaration on Environment and development, Agenda 21 for Sustainable development and Forest principles

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

This convention resulted from the III United Nations Conference that took place during 1973 and 1982. It came into force in   the year 1994.  This treaty replaced the Quad treaty of 1958 which was called the Convention on the High Seas. This Law explains the rights and responsibilities of the different nations for the use of the oceans of the world for purposes of business, environmental protection and use of the natural resources of the marine ecosystems.

Basel convention

This convention was meant to control trans-boundary movement of hazardous wastes and methods of disposal safely and sustainably. It is also called the world environmental agreement on wastes. The most important aspect of this convention is the prevention of transfer of hazardous wastes from developed nations to less developed countries. It does not take in to consideration the movement of radioactive wastes. It was signed in 1989 and was effective from 1992.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCC)

This convention was the outcome of the Rio summit and was an International treaty signed at the Earth Summit in 1992 but came into force in 1994 and this convention has the ultimate goal of eliminating green house gas emission to put an end to global warming and climate change. But this cannot be achieved immediately and so in a phased manner reduction of green house gases is being enforced by the convention.

Helsinki Protocol

This protocol was signed in 1985 and serves to put a curb on Sulphur Emissions and this was an outcome of the Earth summit and 1994 Oslo Protocol further reiterates the curb on Sulphur emissions

Kyoto Protocol

This was a protocol adopted at the COP3 of the UNFCC (United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change) as its extension in 1997 at Kyoto in Japan. It is an international treaty that was meant to reduce global warming by putting a control on emission of greenhouse gases. This treaty came into force only in 2005. The expiration of the Protocol was in 2012 and then the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol was signed to last from 2012 to 2020.

Stockholm convention

It is an International environment treaty signed in 2001 which came into force in 2004 that has the objective of restricting or eliminating the use of the POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants). Under the Elimination list  are  Aldrin, Endosulfan and its isomers, Endrin, Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) etc., and so also under the restriction list there is DDT but others like Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), Polychlorinated naphthalenes and Dioxins that have been produced unintentionally have also been covered under this convention  as these are also hazardous to Human health.

Nagoya Protocol

This is related to the access and utilisation of genetic resources with fair and equitable benefit sharing between the contracting parties especially with regard to traditional knowledge. It concerns obtaining prior informed consent and always keeping in mind the communities laws and procedures while obtaining and utilising such knowledge. In short it concerns raising awareness, Technology transfer and targeted financial support to help in capacity –building of indigenous communities with the help of the funding mechanism of the Nagoya protocol namely the GEF (Global Environment Facility). This protocol will create a proper legal certainty and ensure transparency for the providers and users of genetic information. The Protocol was signed in 2010 and became effective from 2014

Paris Agreement

The agreement was signed in 2016 as a part of UNFCC with an obligation on the part of the participating to nations to reduce or mitigate green house gas emissions. As of 2018 there were 197 countries party to the agreement and in February 2020 189 countries had signed it. This agreement is different from the Kyoto Protocol because it does not talk about only commitment but also sets curbs on the emission of green house gases.

Dr. Mujeera Fathima

Dr. Mujeera Fathima

Dedicated, Passionate teacher and Associate Professor of Botany specializing in Plant Physiology and Plant Anatomy with research interest in Ethnobotany and Traditional knowledge possessing a teaching experience of 28 years.

About Me

Dr. Mujeera Fathima

Dedicated, Passionate teacher and Associate Professor of Botany specializing in Plant Physiology and Plant Anatomy with research interest in Ethnobotany and Traditional knowledge possessing a teaching experience of 28 years. Officiated as one of the co-authors of the XI standard Botany and Bio-Botany textbook (2005) and XI standard Botany and Bio-Botany textbook (2015) as Domain expert for Tamilnadu State Higher Secondary Board of Education. A certified soft skills trainer and counselor holding a Doctorate in Botany and a M.Sc. in Psychology