There are more than 500 international treaties that concern the environment and thus, in principle, the governments of most countries have agreed to work together to conserve biodiversity and protect the biosphere. However, there are still large gaps in the geographic coverage of many of these treaties.
There are more than 500 international treaties that concern the environment (http://www.ecolex.org). The big five, in terms of global reach and core importance to birds and biodiversity conservation, are:
In addition, there are three other international treaties that are crucial in managing and reducing humanity’s impact on the planet’s biosphere:
The three ‘Rio conventions’ (CBD, UNFCCC and UNCCD) rapidly achieved almost universal acceptance, while the other conventions have large gaps in their geographical coverage (see figure). Although the ratification rate of the CMS has accelerated in recent years, a stronger commitment to the conservation of migratory birds and other animals is needed, particularly in the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific. The Convention on Wetlands needs more contracting parties in the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. A number of countries in Asia and the Middle East, where significant international commercial trade in wild birds occurs, have yet to join CITES.
Compiled 2004, updated 2008
BirdLife International (2008) BirdLife Partners work with governments through environmental agreements to protect biodiversity. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/196. Checked: 10/03/2014