Compliance and Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Over the past four decades, the international community has developed and adopted Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) whihc under international law are fundamental for assisting countries to work together on global environmental issues.

Recognizing that these agreements will only be effective if they are properly implemented and enforced, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has over the years developed educational materials and supported various capacity-building activities focusing on the MEAs.

As part of this continuing effort to highlight the importance of implementation and enforcement, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have created a university-level course on “Compliance with and Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements”. The course has benefited from the input of many scholars and other experts around the world working in the field of environmental law.

The primary target audience for the course is law students, as well as students of international relations, environmental management and other disciplines linked to the study of the environment. After completion of the Compliance coursework, the students will have a better understanding of international environmental law in general as well as of the main challenges for effective compliance and enforcement of the MEAs.

The Project will significantly enhance the capacity of law schools and other academic institutions to train future environmental leaders on how they can more effectively implement, comply with, and enforce MEAs and related domestic legislation. Since the course can be delivered by in-country faculty staff, it will provide a cost-effective way to train new generations of leaders who will understand how to implement and enforce MEAs. The materials have been designed so that the material can be used in conjunction with a range of courses such as those on international relations or environmental management, as well as for continuing education courses for professionals.

The full Compliance course is available on the websites of the IUCN Academy and UNEP (

Survey of Teaching and Capacity-Building

In early 2008, the Academy conducted a survey amongst its member institutions on teaching and capacity-building needs and experience. The survey examined: (1) whether environmental law is compulsory and how it fits into theoevrall curriculum, (2) the extent of needs in several aspects of teaching and capacity-building and (3) the perceived value in utilizing video-conferencing, particularly for teaching.

The Academy will be updating this survey on a regular basis.


  • Shawkat Alam (Co-chair) – Macquarie University (Australia)
  • Amanda Kennedy (Co-chair) – University of New England (Australia)
  • Evan Hamman – Queensland University of Technology (Australia)
  • Anel Du Plessis – North West University (South Africa)
  • Sanjeevy Shantakumar – GD Goenka University (India)
  • Ceri Warnock – University of Otago (New Zealand)
  • Rob Fowler – University of South Australia (Australia)

Ex-officio representative of the Governing Board:

  • Alexander Paterson – University of Cape Town (South Africa)

Training the Teachers Project

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law is committed to advancing the teaching of environmental law around the globe, particularly in countries where the capacity to do so currently is lacking altogether or is seriously inadequate. It has therefore developed the TTT course as one of its “flagship” projects in order to pursue this objective in two types of situation:

  • first, in countries or a region where there are relatively few legal scholars currently teaching environmental law within their Law Schools (for example, many countries in South America and Africa); and
  • second, in countries where environmental law has been specified as a core element of the law curriculum (e.g., India, Indonesia and China) and where there is a clear need to recruit more teachers to deliver the required course.

The TTT course will be delivered in two modes: first, a basic “training the teachers” course (TTT1) for legal academics who have not previously taught environmental law and are willing to take on this task; second, an advanced “training the teachers” (TTT2) course, which involves training legal academics who are already teaching environmental law to enable them to deliver the basic course to colleagues in their country or region who have not previously taught environmental law.

Delivering the Course
The first course, Advanced Training the Teachers, was conducted in Wuhan, China in early March 2011. The five-day course was been developed by a team from the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, in close partnership with the Research Institute of Environmental Law (RIEL) at Wuhan University.

A second training took place in July 2013 at Chongqing University in China. In both cases Vermont Law School played a key role in the conception and offering of these courses et received financial support from USAID for this project.

Course Certificate|
The Governing Board of the Academy has approved the establishment of an Academy Certificate in Environmental Law (Teaching) and an Academy Certificate in Environmental Law (Teacher Training) to be awarded to participants who successfully complete the TTT1 and TTT2 courses respectively.

Additional benefits
The TTT course will be likely to generate considerable flow-on benefits. By increasing the capacity to teach environmental law to law graduates, particularly in less-developed countries, the Academy can make an important contribution to the effective implementation and enforcement of environmental law. Legally-trained professionals who have studied environmental law will be able to apply their knowledge of this field in their subsequent work in government, in the private sector or with non-government organizations. This will contribute in turn to the more effective management and protection of the environment, particularly in countries where this currently presents a significant challenge.



The Academy encourages teaching and university-level capacity building in environmental law worldwide, with special attention to developing countries and economies in transition. The Academy facilitates exchanges of teaching and research faculty among universities to enhance the teaching of environmental law, build up the network of scholars who know and collaborate with each other, and enhance comparative study of environmental law. Teaching interactive “real time” Environmental Law courses over the Internet or via audio-video systems is encouraged.