To the casual observer, global summits and the resolutions they produce can seem frustratingly ineffective – repeating cycles of targets set, missed and reset, with no obvious progress. Yet despite the apparent inertia, when used to good effect these processes can be powerful tools for positive change. International treaties are directly responsible for some of the greatest environmental success stories in modern history and their role now is arguably more important than ever. Amid the twin crises of climate change and ecological collapse, it is critical that decisionmakers learn from past mistakes and strive for ambition and collaboration at a global level.
International Treaties in Nature Conservation provides a unique insight into the inner mechanisms of international treaties – their history, development, successes and failures – from those who have spent their lives working with them. The authors shed light on the key features of these international processes in relation to nature conservation, especially in the UK, revealing how treaties and global institutions came about, how they function in theory and practice, the main issues they address and the challenges they face both in making decisions and in terms of their national and international implementation. International Treaties in Nature Conservation will help to provide an understanding of international conservation treaties for anyone involved in conservation policy, including policymakers, professional ecologists, advisors, students and researchers.
- Establishing international contexts
- International treaties: what are they and what do they do?
- Historical development
- International treaties: how they work
- How do treaties work on a national level?
- National implementation
- The impact of UK actions on an international scale
- Looking forward
- Have MEAs made a difference?
Further reading and resources
Appendix 1. Main types of process for international cooperation
Appendix 2. How it works in practice: the evolution of international regimes to regulate whaling
The authors bring a huge wealth of expertise from their past and current positions within both statutory and non-government nature conservation organisations and academia - although the views they bring to the task are their own. They have also worked in multiple capacities with, and for, international organisations including the European Union; Biodiversity Convention; Ramsar Convention on Wetlands; Convention on Migratory Species; Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats; African-Eurasian Waterbirds Agreement; Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels; OSPAR; International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Academic & Science (ICES); Wetlands International; and many others. The capacities through which they have engaged with international conservation have included as representatives of governments, and of national and international non-government organisations; through involvement in Convention scientific advisory bodies; as lobbyists; and through Secretariat advisory support; as well as close involvement with a range of national governments in the challenging and important task of implementing international obligations nationally. This collective experience provides rounded views on the critical importance of international treaties for nature conservation.
"This is a small book on a big subject. The subject of international treaties (such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Ramsar Convention, the Bern Convention) may not sound gripping but it is important if one wants to understand why governments must behave in certain ways and can be brought to account if they do not. [...] The authors are a knowledgable bunch, having worked in this specialised area for some or most of their working lives – they are experts. And that comes through in the easy, accessible way in which they explain things in these pages. [...] The brevity is to be welcomed as it results from clear, concise paragraphs which explain and illustrate but don’t go on and on. I think a book twice the length would be half as good.[...]"
– Mark Avery