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.