Global Environment Facility

About –

  • The Global Environment Facility was established in October 1991 as $1 billion pilot program in the World Bank
  • It was established to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote environmental sustainable development
  • GEF provides grants for projects related to –
  • biodiversity, climate, change, international wasters, land degradation
  • the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants
  • GEF also serves as financial mechanisms for the conventions
  • convention on biological diversity (CBD)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC)
  • UN convention to combat desertification (UNFCCD)
  • Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants
  • Minamata convention on Mercury

Organization –

  • GEF is an independently operating financial organization
  • GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment
  • The GEF council is the main governing body of the GEF
  • It functions as an independent board of directors, with primary responsibility for adopting and evaluating GEF programs
  • council members representation 32 constituencies meet twice each year for the three days
  • the GEF CEO and chairperson, Dr. Naoko Ishii heads the secretariat
  • The GEF scientific and technical advisory Panel (STAP) provides technical and scientific advice on the GEF’s policies and projects

GEF Agencies –

  • GEF Agencies are responsible for creating project proposals and for managing GEF projects
  • GEF Agencies play key roles in managing GEF projects on the ground.
  • GEF Agencies assist eligible government and NGOs in the development, implantation, and management of GEF projects.

Areas of Work –

  • Biodiversity
  • GEF supports projects that address the key drivers of biodiversity loss which focus on the highest leveraging opportunities to achieve sustainable biodiversities conservation
  • Climate change
  • The GEF supports projects in
  • Climate change mitigations
  • climate change adaption
  • Chemicals –
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
  • pesticides, industries chemicals or unwanted by-products of industrial processes
  • The GEF supports projects in
  • eliminating the production and use of specific POPs
  • taking measures to ensure that POPs wastes are managed and disposal of in an environmentally sound manner
  • identifying the sources and reducing releases of POPs by products
  • International waters
  • The GEF supports projects in helping countries work together to overcome the tensions in large water systems
  • Land degradation
  • The GEF supports projects in reversing and preventing desertification/land degradation and in mitigating the effects of droughts
  • Sustainable forest management/REDD+
  • The GEF supports projects in
  • forest conservation protected areas and buffer ozone
  • sustainable use of forests (forest production landscape, sustainable forest management) and
  • addressing forests and trees in the wider landscape
  • Ozone depletion
  • The GEF supports projects in developing countries and countries with economic in transition (CEITs) that are not eligible for funding under the Multilateral fund of the Montreal Protocol
  • It implements activities to phase out ozone depleting substances (ODS)

Facts –

  • The United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment programme, and the world bank were the three initial partners implementing GEF projects
  • In 1992, at the Rio Earth Summit, the GEF was restructured and moved out of the World Bank system to become a permanent, separate institution.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

About –

  • IPCC is a scientific intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations, set up at the request of member governments
  • It was first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the WMO and UNEP
  • membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and UNEP
  • The IPCC does not carry out its own original research, nor does it do the work of monitoring climate or related phenomena itself

Functions –

  • the IPPC produces reports that support the United Nations Framework convention on Climate change (UNFCCC)
  • The preparation of the assessment reports is the major IPCC function
  • IPCC assesses scientific information relevant to
  • Human induced climate change
  • The impacts of human induced climate change
  • options for adaptation and mitigation
  • Assessment Reports –
  • The IPCC has published five comprehensive assessment reports reviewing the latest climate science, as well as a number of special reports on particular topics
  • these reports are prepared by teams of relevant researchers selected by the Bureau from government nominations
  • Each assessment reports is in three volumes, corresponding to working groups I, II and III
  • The IPCC’s fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was completed in 2014
  • Conclusions of AR5 –
  • Working Group I
  1. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennium
  2. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years
  3. Human influence on the climate system is clear. It is extremely likely (95-100%) that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming
  • Working Group II
  1. Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the livelihood of serve, pervasive and irreversible impacts
  2. A first step towards adaption to future climate change is reducing vulnerability and exposure to present climate variability
  3. The overall risks of climate change impacts can be reduced by limiting the rate and magnitude of climate change
  • Working Group III
  1. projects suggest an increase in global mean temperature in 2100 of 3.7 to 4.8 C relative to pre-industrial levels
  2. The current trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions is not consists with limiting global warming to below 1.5 or 2 c relative to pre-industrial levels
  • The IPCC also often answers inquiries from the UNFCCC subsidiary body for scientific and technology advice (BBSTA)

Facts –

  • In December 2007, the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Prize
  • The IPCC first assessment report was completed 1990, and served as the basis of the UNFCCC.

International Tropical Timber Organization

About –

  • The International tropical timber organization (ITTO) is an intergovernmental organization.
  • It promotes conservation of tropical forest resources and their sustainable management use and trade
  • Objective
  • to promote sustainable management and legal harvesting of forests that produce tropical timber
  • to promote expansion and diversification of international trade in timbre from these forests

Organization –

  • The organization was established under the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA)
  • It was sponsored by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and was ratified in 1985
  • The governing body is the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC)

Mandate and Activities –

  • The ITTO was at first primarily a commodity organization, regulating the international trade in tropical timber
  • In 1990 the ITTC proposed that by 2000 all exports of tropical timber would come from sustainable managed sources, and this goal was adopted
  • In 1987 the ITTO commissioned the Harvard Institute for International Development
  • to prepare a review of current knowledge of multiple-use management of tropical forests.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

About –

  • UNCLOSS is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the law of the sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982
  • UNFLOUS is also called as
  • the law of the Sea Convention or
  • the law of the Sea treaty
  • The UNCLOUS defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their
  • use of the world’s oceans
  • establishing guidelines for business, the environment, and
  • the management of marine natural resources

Formations –

  • UNCLOUS came into force in 1994
  • As of January 2015, 166 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention

Historical Background –

  • Initially national rights were limited to three nautical miles, all waters beyond national boundaries were considered international waters
  • In the early 20th century, some nations expressed their desire to extend national claims:
  • to include mineral resources, to protect fish stocks, and
  • to provide the means to enforce pollution controls
  • Between 1946 and 1950
  • Chile, Peru, and Ecuador extended their rights to a distance of 200 nautical miles (370 km) to cover their Humboldt Current fishing grounds
  • other nations extended their territorial seas to 12 nautical miles (22 km)
  • By 1967
  • 25 nations still used the old three-mile (5km) limit, while 66 nations had set a 12-nautical-mile (22 km) territorial limit and eight had set a 200-nautical-mile (370 km) limit
  • In 1956, the United Nations held its first conference on the law of the sea (UNFLOS I) at Geneva, Switzerland.
  • resulted in four treaties concluded in 1958
  • In 1960, the United Nations held the second conference on the law of the sea (UNCLOS II)
  • no new agreements


  • In 1973 the third United nations conference on the law of the sea was convened in New York
  • The conference used a consensus process rather than majority vote. With more than 160 nations participating, the conference lasted until 1982
  • The resulting convention came into force on 16 November 1994, one year after the sixtieth state, Guyana, ratified the treaty.
  • The convention set the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline
  • Areas –
  • Internal waters
  • covers all water and waterways on the landward of the baseline
  • the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource
  • Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters
  • Territorial Waters
  • Out to 12 nautical miles (22 km ; 14 miles) from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use and use any resources
  • Contiguous Zone
  • beyond the 12-nautical-mile (22 km) limit, there is a further 12 nautical miles (22km) from the territorial sea baseline limit, the contiguous zone
  • state can continue to enforce laws in four specific areas: customs taxation, immigration and pollution
  • Exclusive economic zone (EEZs)
  • These extend from the edge of the territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles(370 km; 230 mile) from the baseline
  • within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources
  • Continental shelf
  • The continental shelf is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory to the continental margin’s outer edge, or 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastal state’s baseline
  • A state’s continental shelf may exceed 200 nautical miles (370 km) until the natural prolongation ends
  • However, it may never exceed 350 nautical miles 650 km, 400 miles from the baseline
  • Coastal states have the right to harvest mineral and non-living material in the subsoil of its continental shelf, to the exclusion of others
  • Coastal states also have exclusive control over living resources “attached” to the continental shelf, but not to creatures living in the water column beyond the exclusive economic zone.

Subsidiaries –

  • ISA
  • International Seabed Authority (ISA)
  • It is an intergovernmental body based in Kingston, Jamaica
  • It was established to organize, regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction
  • It is an organization established by the Law of the Sea Convention
  • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)
  • ITLOS is an intergovernmental organization creativity by the mandate of the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea
  • It was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on December 10, 1982
  • The convention entered into force on November 16, 1994 and established an international framework for law over “all ocean space, its uses and resources”.
  • The tribunal is based in Hamburg, Germany.
  • The Tribunal has the power to settle disputes between party states.

Facts –

  • UN has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention
  • The EEZs were introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important.