Waters Treaty [link]
Created the International Joint Commission [link],
which was established to prevent or resolve disputes and assist Canadian
and American governments to share common water supplies, most importantly
the Great Lakes, in an equitable and responsible way. The Commission's
primary responsibilities are the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty [link],
the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement [link],
and the Air Quality Agreement [link].
Birds Protection Convention
Because migratory bird habitat spans more than one country, international
co-operation is required to protect them. This treaty was negotiated
between Canada and the United States to halt the extinction of migratory
birds and to establish regulations for their cross-boundary protection.
However, the original Migratory Bird Law only acted to protect birds
which where deemed important or useful for humans, such as songbirds
and insect-eating birds. Birds considered pests, such as hawks, owls,
and crows, where not protected by the act.
called The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially
as Waterfowl Habitat, this convention was originally focused on wetlands
conservation to save waterfowl, but has now expanded its scope to include
conservation of wetlands. The RAMSAR convention, which now involves
121 countries, takes steps to preserve wetlands of international importance
and to find ways to use this resource wisely and sustainably
Man and Biosphere (MAB) Program [link]
Seville convention establishes the framework for a global network of
nature preserves, with a key difference when compared to most nature
preserves. These reserves are intended to explore new ways of integrating
conservation, development, and scientific research, to help humans live
in harmony with nature. MAB reserves include an area of strict environmental
protection, a "buffer" zone which synthesizes conservation and human
use, and a transition zone which allows for human use which does not
have a detrimental effect on the protected area. Canada has six MAB
reserves and another has been proposed.
Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
UNESCO World Heritage Convention established a network of protected
sites of natural significance (World Heritage Sites); sites which posses
"outstanding physical, biological, and geological features; habitats
of threatened plants or animal species and areas of value on scientific
or aesthetic grounds or from the point of view of conservation." As
of May 2000 160 countries have signed the convention, and there are
630 sites worldwide. The convention also prepared a list of World Heritage
Sites in danger and provided for the establishment and protection of
these sites. Canada currently contains 12 World Heritage Sites.
Conference of the Human Environment [link]
An earlier version of the 1992 Rio Conference (see below), this conference
declared that humans are part of the environment as well as affecting
it and being affected by it. It resulted in an action plan that focused
on environmental assessment and environmental management.
Lakes Water Quality Agreement [link]
Amended in 1978 and 1987, this agreement between Canada and the United
States originally dealt with attempts to reduce eutrophication (specifically,
phosphorus loading) of the Great Lakes. Since then, it has expanded
to include toxic substances as well.
on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
152-country convention bans commercial international trade of endangered
species and their derivatives, and monitors trading of species which
might become endangered.
This forerunner to the International Convention on Biological Diversity
was developed with the goal of stimulating countries to implement national
Charter for Nature (UN) [link]
This resolution called for nations to recognize the vital role that
nature plays in making our society possible and called on nations to
preserve and promote conservation.
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [link]
This convention dealt with issues of sustainable fishery catches and
conservation of both aquatic species and habitats.
American Waterfowl Management Plan [link]
and Canada, Mexico joins in 1994) Distresed by the declining numbers
of waterfowl (which includes geese and ducks), Canada and the United
States created this plan, which aims to protect the wetlands and upland
territories that waterfowl need. The eventual goal is to return waterfowl
populations to their level in the 1970s.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
The second Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity met
in November 1988 to explore the need for an international convention
on biological diversity. This group, convened by the UNEP Governing
council, was charged with the responsibility of assessing whether a
convention on biological diversity was needed and what form such a convention
might take. The group found that, although biodiversity issues were
addressed individually in other UN conventions, the piecemeal nature
of this method did not adequately address global concerns about biodiversity.
Their advice was heeded, and resulted in the convening of the 1992 "Earth
Summit" (see below).
Ad Hoc Working Group of Technical and Legal Experts
This group met to prepare an international legal instrument for the
conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. The experts
were to take into account "the need to share costs and benefits between
developed and developing countries" as well as "ways and means to support
innovation by local people".
for the Program for the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)
Program for the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) was established
to address the needs of arctic species. A large circumpolar region is
included in CAFF.
Agenda 21 is an agreement between more than 178 states and UN organizations
outlining goals for environmental action and sustainable development
in the twenty-first century. This farsighted agreement made suggestions
on social and economic dimensions, natural resources, and strengthening
the voice that traditionally marginalized groups have. Agenda 21 was
signed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
(UNCED, see below).
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
Also know as the "Earth Summit" or "Rio Summit," this UN conference
held in Brazil was the source of declarations including The Rio Declaration
on Environment and Development, the Statement of Principles for the
Sustainable Management of Forests, The Convention on Biological Diversity,
and Agenda 21. The day that the convention came into force, December
29th, 1993, is now International Biodiversity Day.
on Biological Diversity (the Rio Conference, the Earth Summit)
This convention, signed by many countries at the United Nations Conference
on Environment and Development in 1992 (UNCED, see above), is a legally
binding international agreement which commits its signatory countries
to developing an action plan to preserve biodiversity and allows for
international co-operation to achieve this goal. The major objectives
of the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of
its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising
out of the utilization of genetic resources.Canada was the first industrialized
country to ratify the convention.