Environmental law provides the foundation for governance approaches and management policies directed towards environmental conservation and sustainable usage of natural resources. Much of the modern body of environmental law has been developed internationally through the adoption of international conventions, but numerous agreements have also been concluded at the regional level or on a bilateral basis.
All legal instruments need to be implemented at the national level through appropriate national legislation in order to ensure adequate application and compliance. Unfortunately, a multitude of states within the international system either lack corresponding national environmental legislation or the human resources needed for the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).
Over the past decade, UNITAR has contributed in bringing the complex range of environmental agreements comprehensible to stakeholders concerned with their implementation. Considering the need of Member states to enhance their national capacities in order to meet the environmental obligations, in 1997 UNITAR launched the Diploma Course in International Environmental Law. The Course is conducted in form of distance learning.
The overall goal of the Course is to improve general knowledge in and to introduce participants to specific aspects of international environmental law. It provides both basic and advanced academic training in environmental law, enhancing the qualifications of all actors involved in environmental management.
At the end of the first four modules, participants should be able to:
- Identify and differentiate sources, implementation methods as well as main concepts and principles of international environmental law;
- Develop an understanding of the role of international environmental law within the main international and regional organizations and regimes;
- Define a number of law-making procedures in international environmental law;
- Apply different enviromental law techniques and procedures to improve compliance and enforcement of international environmental obligations at the national level;
- Describe and explain the international environmental law negotiation process;
- Effectively negotiate an international environmental agreement in the context of a multilateral negotiation.
At the end of the modules five to ten, participants should be able to:
- Develop an enhanced understanding of the main MEAs;
- Correctly analyze and interpret different provisions of the main MEAs;
- Identify and effectively implement main relevant MEAs at the national level.
The Diploma Course in International Environmental Law consists of 10 books covering the full range of international environmental law issues:
Course 1: Introduction to International Environmental Law
Course 2: The Role of International Organizations in the Evolution of Environmental Law
Course 3: Techniques and Procedures in International Environmental Law
Course 4: International Environmental Negotiations
Course 5: International Environmental Law: Hazardous Materials and Waste
Course 6: International Environmental Law: Biological Diversity
Course 7: International Environmental Law: Atmosphere, Freshwater and Soil
Course 8: International Environmental Law: Marine Environment, Polar Regions, Outer Space
Course 9: Environment and Trade
Course 10: Developments and Trends in International Environmental Law
The Diploma Course in International Environmental Law is a self-tailored and self-study distance learning course. It must be completed within a time frame of 18 months. The course books are concise and provide essential information for effective independent study of the subject. Each book has a corresponding assignment designed to test the knowledge of participants. Assignments are reviewed and evaluated by the International Law Programme team and the evaluation forms with comments are sent to participants.
In addition, the Course provides personalized support to participants and interactive learning tools such as a website where all course material and additional sources are available to participants (e-library, discussion fora, etc.).
Designed to be global in scope, the Course reaches a large number of people working for governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as professionals and students from academic and research institutions. Special attention is given to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, where environmental legislation is not sufficiently developed and which lack adequately qualified and trained personnel to implement MEAs.
Participants who successfully complete the Course are entitled to receive UNITAR's Diploma in International Environmental Law.