The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has a long history of contributing toward the development and implementation of environmental law. The Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC) is the focal Division within UNEP which oversees the many facets of this global legal framework. Hence, the role of DELC within the framework of UNEP is primarily to ensure the progressive development of environmental law across different environmental sectors and levels of governance.
At a global level, DELC has been pivotal in the facilitation of intergovernmental platforms for the promotion and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and defining international environmental norms. At the regional and national scales, DELC has supported many fora as well as the utilisation of resources aimed at strengthening legal principles, policies and guidelines that seek to address environmental issues, especially transboundary legal challenges. These fundamental activities, along with specific sectoral work such as enhancing freshwater and marine law, together form the central aspects of DELC’s work in building and strengthening global environmental laws.
DELC’s current mandate principally stems from the 2009 Montevideo Programme, for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law which forms a broad strategy for the international legal community and UNEP in formulating the activities in the field of environmental law for the decade commencing in 2010.
Key activities undertaken by DELC:
Progressive Development of Environmental Law
Working to be at the forefront of international legal developments by enhancing environmental laws at all levels.
Protecting Human Rights and the Environment
Increasing the understanding of inter-linkages between human rights and the environment.
Improving Environmental Governance of Global Commons
Identifying methods to strengthen institutions and laws which protect natural resources in the Global Commons.
Preventing Transboundary Environmental Crime
Improving legal and policy mechanisms to better combat illegal transnational environmental activities.
Examining Environmental Impacts of Military Activities
Furthering the development of environmental norms in relation to natural harm from military action.
Helping to build a Green Economy
Assisting in developing and strengthening laws, policies and institutions that build a green economy.
Strengthening and “Greening” Water Laws
Working with partners and governments to enhance water laws/institutions, especially related to transboundary resources.
LEGAL RESOURCES & CAPACITY BUILDING
This programme aims to better equip legal practitioners, judges and jurists in their roles interpreting and applying environmental laws.
Training Manual on International Environmental Law
This manual seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of environmental laws for legal stakeholders from all backgrounds.
Global Training Programme on Environmental Law & Policy
Annual training programme aimed at building the capacity of Government officials to develop/implement environmental law.
Building Capacity to Strengthen Carbon Markets – Africa
Meetings, workshops and materials to strengthen implementation of Clean Development Mechanism initiatives in African nations.
Green Customs Initiative
A partnership of international organisations aimed at enhancing the capacity of customs in facilitating legal trade, and preventing illegal trade, of environmentally sensitive commodities
Knowledge management platform thatbrings together 12 global MEAs to develop harmonized and Interoperable information systems in support of knowledge management activities among MEAs for the benefit of Parties and the environment community at large.
This information service on environmental law, operated jointly by UNEP, FAO, and IUCN, provides information on treaties, non-binding policy and technical guidance documents, national legislation, judicial decisions, and law and policy literature.
International / Intergovernmental Organisation