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Member Log-In. E-mail address. Remember me. Account recovery. You are in page, help us by providing your feedback on different features. Select feature Accessibility Type Metadata. Select feature Registration Log-in Account recovery Profile customization. Select feature. A helpful overview of international environmental law is provided in International Environmental Law in a Nutshell by Lakshman D. Guruswamy with Kevin L. Doran West for those researchers unfamiliar with this area of international law. As discussed below, there are also many sub-categories of treaties based on the type of environmental concern or prevention of certain types of deterioration or liabilities for pollution.

Here are some of the most commonly used abbreviations and acronyms for treaty research in international environmental law however, keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list :. Because of the many possible sub-topics available for international environmental law, it is helpful to have a table of categories and correlating agreements. The following table is a table of international agreements, treaties, and websites for international legal research based on the eight sub-topics of hazardous waste, nuclear waste, ocean and marine sources, ozone and protection of the atmosphere, pollution, protection of species and wildlife, sustainable development, and trade and the environment.

When available, I have linked to sources of the original. Secretariat of the Basel Convention. Decisions Related to the Basel Convention and its Protocol. International Atomic Energy Agency Circular. Paris Convention Decisions, Recommendations, and Interpretations. Minamata Convention.

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There are numerous treaty indexes for historical U. In some instances, these treaty indexes are available in print and online. The following list of indexes and helpful online collections is not exhaustive, but the list includes comprehensive portals for international environmental legal research:. In addition to locating the appropriate treaties and agreements for research in international environmental law, a researcher then needs to uncover any national laws of the foreign nations involved in a research question.

Environmental Decisionmaking in a Transboundary Region

Therefore, the following sources can help provide background information about the legal systems of countries of the world or links to the national laws of foreign nations. The following list provides essential resources for uncovering national laws, more specifically, for international environmental law:. Before researching primary law, such as treaties and agreements and laws of the nations of the world, researchers might also consult their library catalog to uncover helpful treatises, books, or nutshells and basic background texts to better understand this area of international law.

Otherwise Colombia, despite having rules that assure the citizens participation in the public life, is still far from incorporating them in the government processes. The development of a public institutional organization based on the congregation of the actors of consumption and production with water planning and management processes becomes urgent and necessary; as well as it is necessary to foment negotiation mechanisms between multiple water users in order to enter the process in a democratic way, before more organized sectors obtain advantages from the current water management system and its democratic conditions and reorientations imply more time, resources and social damage.

The situation becomes more difficult and complex in some cases in which it is verified that the government instances are deliberately supporting some particular private sector. For this reason, the creation or valorization of regulatory instruments and instances for multiple uses of water, based on the principles of democracy, decentralization and participation, being able to assure the satisfaction of rights of multiple users, prioritizing collective and public interests over private and individual ones.

The instances and instruments should seek for the participation in distinct sectors of users and representatives from the nation, departments, municipalities and indigenous territorial entities, with marked presence in the civil society BUITRAGO et al. The Box 1 shows the institutional structure of the environmental management system in Brazil and Colombia.

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Source: Federal Act no. Organizedby the authors. The modern states organization permits the identification of a territorial action and authority distribution structure in at least three spatial scales: national, regional and local scale. The vertical distribution of authority and its ranges in different scales depend on each State political and administrative organization. In this sense, there might be centralized or decentralized States.

A primary relevant difference between Brazil and Colombia resides in this aspect. Brazil is organized as a federative state, while Colombia organizes itself as a decentralized unitary state. This difference defines the competences and responsibilities that distinct territorial levels perform in almost all sectors of public administration.

The Box 2 shows the distinct level of political and administrative organization of territory in each country. Brazil has a specific and independent structure for water resources planning and management, while in Colombia such competences are put in the national environmental structure. The system corresponds to an institutional structure for the water resources management intended to be articulated to the National Environment System by means of a series of interfaces.


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In Colombia, nevertheless, water resources management specificities are diluted in environmental sector competences. The difference in the political and administrative organization between the two countries has meaningful consequences. While Brazil experiences a federative political and administrative structure, Colombia is unitary, a fact that directly influences the decentralization levels of the decisions-making. In Brazil, the politic of participation calls the attention by the existence of different collegiate bodies in the distinct territorial and institutional levels.

In Colombia, although there are lines in the National Constitution recognizing the participation as a democratic mechanism, in the territorial and institutional structure a strong degree of centralization of responsibilities and decision-making is clear. There is another relevant difference between the two countries concerning the specific issue of the water resources. The water resources management policies have different ranges for presenting different orders: in Brazil, they are State policies, while in Colombia they are government policies. For this reason, it is not rare that the government changes in Colombia result in a new orientation for the policies, with the common interests being delayed or even forgotten.

But, the Environment Ministry still has the competence of formulating the long term policies associated with the environment and other natural resources, a responsibility that also lies on the sphere of the government in course. It is clear that there is a special interest for water resources planning and management in Brazil due to its fundamental role in urban and industrial development, while in Colombia the relative abundance of water resources in a similar way regarding Brazil and the energetic matrix of predominantly hydraulic origin have not constituted sufficient conditions to separate its management from environmental management.

Another essential difference concerns the participation in the decision-making. In the Brazilian water resource management system, the structure is composed by institutions with precise responsibilities and by deliberative and consultative bodies formed by State, civil society and users representatives. In this way, a structure with shared authority and decision-making together with the water management actors is formed. In Colombia, there are collegiate bodies created by Law no.

In Colombia, community participation in many times has only an informative character. In Brazil, the regional level competences are responsibility of the State Secretariats, but also of the hydrographic basins committees. Nevertheless, the Secretariats responsibilities in the state sphere are similar to the Union competences in the national sphere, while the hydrographic basin committees constitute collegiate bodies that act in the rivers hydrographic basins according to their domainality Union domain rivers or state rivers. In Colombia, acting in the regional sphere is a competence of the Regional Autonomous Corporation, Environment Administrative Departments of cities with more than a million of inhabitants, and Sustainable Development Corporations.

In the highest level of CARs organogram there are corporate assemblies with the following responsibilities: a. To elect the Board of Directors; b. To assign the fiscal reviewer or the internal auditor of the Corporation; c.

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To know and to approve the administration management report; d. To know and to approve the profit and loss accounts of each annual period; e. To adopt the Corporation charters and the reforms introduced to it. To propose to the Corporate Assembly the adoption of the charters and its reforms; b. To determine the personnel of the Corporation; c.

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To allow for the participation of the Corporation in the constitution and organization of societies or associations and foundations or the admission in the already existing ones; d. To arrange the contracting of external credits; e. To determine the Corporation internal structure; to this purpose, it may create, suppress and fuse facilities, and may grant responsibilities according to the law; f.

To approve the incorporation and the subtraction of protected areas; g. To authorize the entity functions delegation; h. To approve the general plan of activities and the annual budget of investments; i. To name of to remove, in compliance with the charters, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation. The Box 3 shows the institutional structure of the water resources management of Brazil and Colombia. Source: Adapted from Braga et al. The water resources policy specificity in Brazil results in specific management instruments for it.

These management instruments are, in theory, strongly inter-dependent and supplemental from the conceptual point of view, and have the objective of promoting the protection and recovering of water in a hydrographic basin whose physical expression is the set of investments to be performed there PEREIRA, The implementation of these management instruments has demanded technical, political and institutional abilities and requires participation and acceptance by the actors involved, a fact that has limited its development and success.

In Colombian, management instruments of command and control type have been created in order to prevent the water bodies contamination and to determine the payment for use of the resource. The command and control policies implementation have, nevertheless, incurred high social costs, as the permissible limits of polluters cannot be accomplished by all polluting companies. In addition, the lack of monitoring of the control mechanisms for the fulfillment of the rule prevents the efficacy in the polluter emissions reduction and primarily determines a low level o compromise from the polluting agents GARCIA, The Box 4 presents the water resources management instruments adopted in Brazil and Colombia, and the Box 5 presents the water resources management instruments classification adopted in both countries according to their typology.

Sources: Federal Act no. Sources: Braga , p. The interest of world countries in relation to transboundary water resources management, expressed through the large number of international conferences, forums and agreements handling this matter demonstrates the lack of regulation in a global scale. The development of an institutional and juridic apparatus for the regulation of the water resources use in a international scale is one of the biggest challenges to be faced by countries that share waters, because it meets the countries sovereignty and the prevalence of national legislation concerning the water use RIBEIRO, This treaty is the juridic instrument that recognizes the transboundary character of Amazon.

From the legal benchmark established by TCA it was created, in December 14, , the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization OTCA , that constitutes an international organization that coordinates, by means of its Permanent Secretariat inaugurated in Brasilia, in May 13, , procedures and dynamizes the execution of its decisions.


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  7. In , amazon countries decided to institutionally empower the Amazon Cooperation Treaty TCA with the creation of a Permanent Secretariat with juridical personality. However, the decision was only implemented in , with the Amendment Protocol to TCA approval that officially instituted the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization OTCA as a mechanism responsible for the improvement and strengthening of the cooperation process developed in the TCA sphere.

    One of its functions as a regional body is to coordinate itself together with other initiatives that figure in the territorial space that forms Amazon, whether in the infrastructure, transportation or communication matter. TCA reaffirms the amazon countries sovereignty, also aiming to stimulate, to institutionalize and to guide the regional cooperation process among them. The treaty foresees the scientific and technological research increment, information exchange, rational natural resources use, freedom of navigation, cultural patrimony preservation, healthcare management, creation of research sites, establishment of a proper infrastructure of communication and transportation and the increment of transboundary trading and tourism.

    Its central objective is the promotion of Amazon harmonic development and the incorporation of its territories to the respective national economies, seen as an essential element for the maintenance of balance between economic growth and environmental preservation. The agenda adopted a horizon of eight years for its implementation after a broad consultation, regional sectoral dialogues and information gathering process in Member Countries that occurred in the sphere Strategic Plan review.

    The plan was elaborated based on the ongoing processes conclusions, previously consolidated activities and the priorities set in conversations with member countries authorities. In the Water Resources sub-theme sphere, many awaited results were pointed, namely: I To promote the adoption of an integrated and integral focus of water resources management adaptation to climate changes, soils, civil society participation ; II To promote actions that facilitate the equitable access, as wide as possible, to quality waters for combined civil society, with an emphasis in the vulnerable populations, indigenous people and tribal communities; III To promote the discussion of particular problems of hydrographic basins handling in border areas; IV To stimulate the participation of vulnerable populations, indigenous people and tribal communities in water resources debates.