Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Many environmental issues are global, transboundary, or occur in most countries across the planet. For these reasons nations have agreed to a significant number of international treaties over the years, usually referred to as ‘Multilateral Environmental Agreements’ (MEAs), and in particular since the global summits on the environment in Stockholm in 1972 and Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

MEAs are legally binding upon those States that become the party to them (through ratification, accession, acceptance or approval) and often take the form of a legal text known as a Convention, Protocol or Agreement. MEAs generally fall under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), through the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) or the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), or the Council of Europe (COE).

  • The UNEP is an agency within the UN that coordinates environmental activities.
  • The UNECE is one of the five regional commissions of the UN which aims to promote pan-European economic integration.
  • The COE is an international organisation whose aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe, and includes MEAs on biodiversity and landscape protection.

Malta is party to various MEAs and the EU is a party to many such environmental MEAs.

Official NameUsual NameCompetent AuthorityKey
Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air PollutionCLRTAPERAAir Pollution
Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (1999)1999 Multi-effect ProtocolERAAir Pollution
Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Long-term Financing of the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP)1984 EMEP ProtocolERAAir Pollution
Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on the Reduction of Sulphur Emissions or their Transboundary Fluxes by at least 30 per cent1985 Sulphur ProtocolERAAir Pollution
Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or their Transboundary Fluxes1988 NOx ProtocolERAAir Pollution
Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution concerning the Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds or their Transboundary Fluxes1991 VOC ProtocolERAAir Pollution
Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Further Reduction of Sulphur Emissions1994 Sulphur ProtocolERAAir Pollution
Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Heavy Metals1998 Heavy Metals ProtocolERAAir Pollution
Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants1998 POPs ProtocolERAAir Pollution
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and FloraCITESERABiodiversity and Conservation
Convention on Biological DiversityCBDERABiodiversity and Conservation
Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological DiversityCBD/Nagoya ProtocolERA/PPD/DFABiodiversity and Conservation
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological DiversityCBD/Cartagena ProtocolERABiodiversity and Conservation
Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety CBD/NKL ProtocolERABiodiversity and Conservation
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild AnimalsCMS (Bonn Convention)ERABiodiversity and Conservation
Agreement on the Conservation of the Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic AreaCMS/ACCOBAMSERABiodiversity and Conservation
Amendments to the Agreement on the Conservation of the Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic AreaCMS/ACCOBAMS/Monaco AmendmentsERABiodiversity and Conservation
Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in EuropeCMS/EuroBatsERABiodiversity and Conservation
1995 Amendment to the Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in EuropeCMS/EuroBats/Bristol AmendmentsERABiodiversity and Conservation
2000 Amendment to the Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in EuropeCMS/EuroBats/Bristol AmendmentsERABiodiversity and Conservation
Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural HabitatsBern ConventionERABiodiversity and Conservation
Emerald Network under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural HabitatsBern Convention/Emerald NetworkERABiodiversity and Conservation
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl HabitatRamsar ConventionERABiodiversity and Conservation
Protocol to Amend the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl HabitatRamsar Convention/Paris ProtocolERABiodiversity and Conservation
Amendments to Articles 6 and 7 of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl HabitatRamsar Convention/Regina AmendmentsERABiodiversity and Conservation
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Mediterranean Wetland InitiativeRamsar Convention/MedWetERABiodiversity and Conservation
Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental MattersAarhus ConventionERAGovernance and Others
Amendment to Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matter (2005)Aarhus Convention - GMO AmendmentERAGovernance and Others
Kiev Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental MattersPRTR ProtocolERAGovernance and Others
Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary ContextEspoo Convention (EIA Convention)ERAGovernance and Others
First amendment to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (2001)First amendment to the ESPOO ConventionERAGovernance and Others
Second Amendment to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (2004)Second amendment to the ESPOO ConventionERAGovernance and Others
Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution (1976)Barcelona ConventionERA / MFEAGovernance and Others
Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (1995)Barcelona ConventionERA / MFEAGovernance and Others
Protocol Concerning Mediterranean Specially Protected Areas to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (1982)SPA Protocol ERAGovernance and Others
Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (1995)SPA and Biodiversity Protocol ERAGovernance and Others
Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution from Land-based Sources to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (1980)Land Based Sources Protocol ERAGovernance and Others
Amendment to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution from Land-Based Sources to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (1996)Amendment to Land Based Sources ProtocolERAGovernance and Others
Protocol on the Prevention of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (1996)Hazardous Wastes ProtocolERAGovernance and Others
Protocol for the Prevention of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (1976)Dumping ProtocolERAGovernance and Others
Amendment to the Protocol for the Prevention of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (1995)Amendment to the Dumping ProtocolERAGovernance and Others
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in AfricaUNCCDERALand and Soil
Florence (European Landscape) ConventionFlorence Convention (ELC)ERA/ SCH/ PALand and Soil
Florence Convention Amendment Protocol Florence Convention (ELC) - Amendment ProtocolERA/ SCH/ PALand and Soil
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their DisposalBasel ConventionERAWaste Management
Amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their DisposalBan Amendment of the Basel ConventionERAWaste Management
Protocol on Liability and Compensation for Damage Resulting from Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their DisposalLiability Protocol of the Basel ConventionERAWaste Management