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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.
To begin research in international environmental law, a researcher should have a basic understanding of international law and authority: for example, knowledge of treaty research and an awareness of the types of international agreements and their effect in nations of the world as result of reservations, understandings, or declarations.
As noted in this research guide, the number of international environmental treaties is manageable by sub-topic, so identification of the appropriate sub-topic or category of international environmental law is essential to narrowly tailor research and avoid getting bogged down in the wealth of information.
When decisions and collaborations occur between nations across international boundaries and treaties or agreements are made to cooperate for environmental concerns, disputes inevitably transpire because of trade implications for the respective nations, safety concerns and cleanliness of environmental resources among shared borders, or problems with enforcement mechanisms for liability under agreements or treaty provisions relating to the environment.
The vastness of this area of international law includes the environmental sub-issues of population, biodiversity, global climate change, ozone depletion, preserving the Antarctic regions, movement of toxic and hazardous substances, land or vessel-based pollution, dumping, conservation of marine living resources, trans-boundary air and water pollution, desertification, and nuclear damage, among others.
In some instances, these treaty indexes are available in print and online.
For international environmental law, it is most helpful to consult indexes containing world treaties, such as the United Nations Treaty Series, European Treaty Series, or EUR-Lex, and other unique online collections of world treaties like World LII or Fletcher's Multilaterals Project.Like many areas of international law, regulation and implementation of the treaty terms are at the national level.Thus, some knowledge and research of foreign laws in the countries of focus for a research problem is necessary for thorough research and analysis.Heidi Frostestad Kuehl is the Law Library Director and Associate Professor of Law at the Northern Illinois University College of Law’s David C. She holds a Law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law with a specialization in International Trade and Development and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa.International environmental law is an ever-changing, constantly expanding, and intriguing topic for international legal research.PDF Convention on Biological Diversity Website / List of Parties / .PDF Commission for Environmental Cooperation / SICE: Foreign Trade Information System (OAS) UNCCD Website / Status of Ratification / .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 document available online.For other specialized topics in international environmental law research consult Globa Lex articles: Like other areas of specialized international law, international environmental law follows the same sources and categories of law as primary authority under Article 38 of the Statute of the I. Therefore, a researcher should start with identifying the applicable treaties in force and analyzing those nations, which are the parties to the agreement.After determining all applicable treaties based on the facts of the research question, then the researcher can uncover national laws, which might accordingly follow the treaty terms or deviate.