A Convention is an international agreement between a number of
countries, dealing with a specific subject of common concern.
Conventions are legally binding, and having signed, each country
follows a process of ratification, whereby the means for
implementing the provisions of the agreement nationally must be
ascertained. A country which ratifies becomes a 'Contracting
Party' to the Convention, and the agreement enters into force
at a set period after a specified number of ratifications.
Conventions relating to nature conservation and the protection
of the environment are known as Multilateral Environmental
Agreements (MEAs). The UK is a contracting party to a number of
such agreements. During the 1970s agreements were concluded on: the
protection of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar
Convention); the protection of sites of international cultural or
natural significance (World Heritage Convention); the regulation of
wildlife trade (CITES); the protection of species and habitats of
European importance (Bern Convention); and the protection of
migratory species (Bonn Convention). Following the Earth Summit in
1992, two further agreements were concluded: the Convention on
Biological Diversity, which aims to prevent the further loss of
biodiversity, whilst using its components sustainably, and sharing
arising benefits, in an equitable way; and the Climate Change
Convention, which seeks to address global warming through the
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Also in 1992, the OSPAR
Convention was concluded to address the protection of the marine
environment in the North-east Atlantic.
See navigation for summary information on the main
international Conventions to which the UK is a contracting party.
Each summary provides an overview of the Convention concerned, how
the agreement is being implemented in the UK, and JNCC's role in
this implementation. Links are provided to relevant areas of work
within JNCC, and useful external sources of information (such as
Convention Secretariat websites). Users should note that the
summaries provided are correct at the time of writing; however, for
up to date information, primary sources should be consulted.