Biodiversity and the Law

Financial obligations, carbon trading, and joint implementation To reaffirm its holistic consideration, the protocol did set financial commitments for the developed countries to meet the cost of climate related projects and studies as well as supplying the relevant technology to other countries for assisting in reducing the overall levels of the gases in the atmosphere. To add to that, the protocol introduced economic incentives for reducing air pollution though emissions trading.

Industries and companies that reduce their emissions below the set limit caps by their governments can convert the exceeded reduction into monetary terms which is easily sold to those with higher and/ or willing to increase their limits. Such mechanisms are effectively being used by the European Union as a major incentive to reduce the overall levels. To ease the applicability of the system by a country, the protocol upholds other means that a country can use to increase the uptake of its emissions into the atmosphere.

Through Clean Development Mechanisms, Germany has been strongly involved in forestation practices China . Countries implementation and implication of the protocol Arguably, most of the countries have sharply been divided over the direct implementation of the protocol as they are completely different in model and setting which requires them to apply different systems to effect the same goals. In Australia, the government established The Green House Gas Abatement Scheme which required large consumers of and producers of electricity to buy New Green House Abatement Certificates .

As a result, energy efficient systems were therefore established and installed. However, this system has been strongly criticized by the Australian Center for Energy due to its reliance upon offsets. Besides, the government commissioned a study for implementation of the carbon trading system which recommended its application by 2012. Therefore, implementation setbacks in Australia arise due to conflict between the local legislations and the new system. However, it has been recommended for the positive gear towards establishing a better pollution free world.

In US, the world largest contributor of green house gases to the atmosphere, little measures have been forth coming with regard to the Kyoto Protocol. Consisting of only 5% of the world population, US contribute over 25% of the total global green house gas emissions. Analysts cite non-commitment by the government to address the emergent global warming issues. As a super power, US have been one of the most industrialized countries in the world. Arguably, over 50% of its economy is dependent on industrial mass production systems.

Therefore, it has considered ratification of Kyoto protocol to be part of the min impediment that would cripple its main economic supportive sector . Announcing US withdrawal from Kyoto protocol, President Bush noted that “Kyoto Protocol would hurt the US economy. ” With US being considered as a direct role model and therefore emulated by many others, it has made more countries to reduce their efforts to trace the emissions reductions demands globally. Therefore, part of the failure comes from influence of the international law application and implementation necessary to ensure better conservation efforts.

However, the current president has indicated that US will enter the Cap-and-Trade system by the year 2010 to reduce global warming. The government has proposed a 10 year investment of US $ 15 billion per year to support clean energy development. In most of the developing countries, Kyoto Protocol has little implications as they are less industrialized and their contribution has been considered to be less significant to the current system of global warming. However, conservationists have disagreed on the implication of allowing the developing countries to raise their emissions to certain levels in order to attain certain development levels.

European Union agreed for a 10% emissions increase for Iceland and other less developed countries in its bloc . Under the provisions of polluter pays principle, the system has been strongly criticized by conservationists who call for establishment of better and alternative technologies for addressing the problem in these countries. Other developing countries like Philippine and Angola depends on CDM and joint implementation projects especially by the developed countries. Biological diversity loss Over the years, concerns have been put forward regarding the rising levels of biodiversity loss.

Arguably, biodiversity is the most addressed aspect in the international Natural Laws for conservation. However, their applications have recently surmounted to poor establishment of the conservation aspects with regard to maintenance of the prior established systems. Of greater concerns is the demand of the biodiversity laws to interlink with others in order to harmoniously effect the desired objectives. Like other conventions, protocols and international laws, biodiversity international policies are entirely dependent on the local governance and the adjacent communities to the areas of conservation .

a) Convention on Biological diversity During the first United Nations Convention on Human Environment in 972 at Stockholm, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) was created to address environmental issues that affect the universe. As result, UNEP prepared the Convention on Biological Diversity which was in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 to establish the correct mechanisms to conserve world flora and fauna . The convention was based on the precautionary principle which calls for adequate scientific consideration for all actions to establish the effects they would have on biodiversity.

According to the principle, all the projects and programs are supposed to establish the correct preventative mechanisms which would reduce the effects to biodiversity in the region. Since establishment, the law has greatly assisted many countries to link their development with conservation. Previously, most countries had problems differentiating and setting the correct boundaries between conservation and development. Therefore, the law is not just adequate but holistically applicable at all situations when effectively applied.

Besides, application emphasizes on the need to consider inter-generational and intra-generational equity in sharing the benefits and proceeds from these resources . Whereas most countries have continuously mistaken this law to mean total restrictions from access to their biological resources, the premise is untrue as it requires effective sustainable exploitation of their resources. This convention effects conservation via the following mechanisms; i. Definition and distinction of biological diversity and conservation

By definition of biological diversity, the law obligates the governance of different states to ensure the correct boundaries are established thereby reducing the overall vagueness in exploitation of biological resources. It denotes that Biological diversity is the variability among living organisms from all the sources and which include inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other ecosystems and ecological complexes which they are part. Besides, it includes the diversity within and between the species and of the ecosystems . Notably, law is very specific on definitions of phenomenons and aspects which must be precise and specific.

This has simplified most cases at the grassroots level as people are more knowledgeable on various aspects of conservation. However, disparities have risen over the wildlife animals that exist outside various National parks and reserves. Bureaucracy and lack of effective management has been cited as part of the major factor that have incited people into poaching especially in the third world countries. In Zimbabwe, Kenya and Botswana, over 50% of their wildlife found outside the protected region has been strongly affected by poaching for game meat and other animal products.

ii. In-situ and ex-situ conservation Article 2 of this convention has been well applied in the world where conservation of flora and fauna has been effected globally in and outside their natural regions. Arguably, this has strongly been linked to the direct benefits that are reaped from tourism sectors. Many countries have well established national parks and game reserves where their local tourism is based. Over 1000 national parks and 5000 national reserves exist in the world today .

Pa Ngam National Park, Valley of Flowers National Park in India, Yorkshire Dales National Park in England, Rondane national park in Norway, Tapanti National park in Costa Rica, and Twelve Apostle national park in Australia have been hailed for their great efforts in conservation. Besides, there has been a strong increase in conservation efforts by African countries . Though considered as an internal aspect for the different countries, the protocol provides for equitable sharing of resources with the local communities who act as the direct custodians for the same .

Specialized forces on conservation have been established in US, EU, Asia and most of the African countries to act as guards especially for the in-situ conservation systems. iii. Environmental impact assessment Modern world has often been described as an evolution of systematic structures especially in people’s minds necessary for enhancing better understanding of the immediate natural and anthropogenic interactions needed for better living. As a result, this convention underscored the essence of initiating preventative and control systems for reducing biodiversity loss.

Conservationists have referred to the concept of Environmental Impact Assessment as the best tool so far for enhancing conservation of biodiversity in the planet. Under this policy, countries have established lead experts in the field of biodiversity management and conservation who evaluate the possible impacts of different government and private projects on biodiversity before they commence. Emphasizing on suitability of this law, analysts argue that it has become possible to pro-actively establish counter-harmful measures before establishment of different projects.

Bedsides, it uses experts who are able to link short and future benefits of the new projects. Major projects like large scale irrigation systems, industries establishments, roads, railway lines, and dams establishments among others demands for environmental impact assessment before they kick off . Besides, the convention calls for training to the local people and development of their indigenous knowledge on biodiversity conservation. It also requires that member countries establish effective monitoring systems to ensure effective application of the whole protocol.

b) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) By mid 20th century, it became evident that most of the animals were becoming extinct with speed prompting international intervention. Underscoring the essence of the occurrence, historians linked the system to massive colonization and extensive wars that were taking place in the forests and major wildlife conservation regions. Besides, these threats to flora and fauna were exacerbated by trade which intensified well to the later section of the 20th century.

CITES is therefore an international agreement arrived at in 1973 by the members of International Union for Conservation of Nature (CITES) to curtail trade in specimens of wild flora and fauna specimens that are threatened in the world. Its main goal is to ensure that trade relating to wild flora and fauna do not under any circumstances threaten their existence. Currently, over 33,000 species of animals and plants are highly threatened and therefore offered protection by this convention.

Arguably, this convention has been very effective such that since its entry into force in the year 1975, only one species under its protection (Spix’s Macaw) has become extinct as a result of trade. By January 2009, 174 members had ratified the convention. Arguably, this convention has been one of the most effectively run and operationalized for conservation issues relating to threatened species . Though it do not provide for arbitration in case of non compliance, it established a secretariat which deals with infraction by the parties.

This secretariat is responsible for assessment of wildlife threats and provision of technical assistance necessary for addressing their problems . Besides, the party may give the respective state warning, suspension from cooperation by the secretariat, and possible suspension of CITES related trade with the offending party. Emphasizing on the effectiveness of the convention, conservationist have hailed its permitting system which requires all the products from the endangered species to be authorized by the secretariat and the local governments.

This has offered not just a regulatory mechanism, but an effective monitoring system for the threatened animals and pants . Besides, it has systematically arranged different classes of threats that assist in emphasis of the care needed to reduce further threats. In addition, this classification has effectively assisted in improving the level of protection to the more threatened species thereby helping to maintain the natural biodiversity in the globe. Arguably, this convention has been cited as one of those that have been very easy to localize and implement by different countries.

(a) Appendix I: This represents the animal categories that are highly threatened by any form of trade. Trade in these species is illegal. The management authority of the exporting country is required to make non-detriment report that assures individuals will not be threatened or negatively affect their population. Notable animals under this category include Gollira gorilla, Panthera tigris, Acinonyx jubatus, Elephas maximus, Loxoddonta africana, the dudong and manatese. Arguably, this class has over the last decade attracted much attention as people become more conservation enlightened.

(b) Appendix II: In this category, there are 32, 500 listed species . However, these species are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become threatened unless strict regulations are established. In this class, no import permit is required for these species under CITES. Therefore vast trade occurs on animals in it. Whereas most people have been embarking on these animals to effect trade, CITES member countries like America and Spain have established additional rules that govern their wildlife in this class.

Therefore, application of the international natural laws are directly subjective to the governing authorities which may decide to take it a notch higher due to comprehension of the overall benefits or maintain just the required standards for compliance. Animals in this class include, Ursus americanus, Green iguana, and African grey parrot. (c) Appendix III: This appendix represents about 170 species that are listed after one member country asks other CITES members for assistance in controlling trade in the species.

Trade is only permitted with appropriate export permit by the government in the countries of origin. Concerns and shortcomings of CITES Though this convention has greatly assisted in conservation of natural flora and fauna, great concerns have been raised over its emphasis on animals and plants while taking less consideration to address the habitat that the same biodiversity thrives in. Conservation efforts that do not consider emphasizing on habitat orientation are doomed to fail. To add to that, it has taken a less profile in addressing the resultant issues of the main causes of threats to the biodiversity.

In the third world countries, the main reason for species threats is poverty as people use these products as their direct source of income. Therefore, it should establish effective alternative mechanisms to be used by these people in support for their livelihood . Most of the projects that have failed to take into consideration the local people totally or partially fails. Water resources destruction and loss Water covers over 70% of the total global surface . As a result, it harbors massive resources that require special attention to prevent their overuse and/ or destruction of their habitats.

Therefore, international conservation laws are concerned with maintenance of the correct environment for their existence as well as direct monitoring to ensure their sustained productivity. Similar to other conservation laws, these laws emphatically considers the direct medium upon which flora and fauna thrives to be of greater essence as it provides food, mates and home to them. As a result, the debate on marine resources and inland wetland resources has revived the long time concerns on the global resources management which calls for better address of the water resources which holds over 50% of the world global diversity .

Besides, the demand for holistic approach towards most of migrating biodiversity became important as it dawned to the international community that most of the wildlife resources could not be conserved isolation but required combined efforts by different parties in ensuring their cross boarder occurrences . Ramser convention on wetlands of international importance Ramser convention on wetlands of international importance was one of the first modern intergovernmental treaties that were signed in 1971. This convention sought to halt worldwide loss of wetlands and to conserve them through wise use and management.

To ensure effective use of these resources, this convention calls for international cooperation in areas of policy making, capacity building and technology transfer between the member states . Being argued to be one of the most conclusive conventions in addressing the problems facing the wetlands, most of the ecologists have called for expansion of its mandates necessary for covering the remaining wetlands globally. Holistically, the convention seeks to classify and establish particularistic measures for various wetlands that hold biodiversity of international importance.

Criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance Initially, the law was considered to be highly controversial as disparities arose regarding the definition of the term importance with some of them claiming that all the wetlands possessed particularistic considerations in their own jurisdiction. However, the clarifications were immediately given with those wetlands that contain representative, rare, and/ or unique biodiversity in or near it being given more weight.

Of greater concern were the wetland that contains the vulnerable, critically endangered or threatened ecological communities. This convention is one of the most creative forms of law that interlinks the current communities and the future generations to enhance equity at the local and international level. This has made most of the wetlands to be some of the mostly sought regions in the world. In Africa, Lake Nakuru National Park has been a center of attraction for millions of tourists visiting Kenya annually. Application and implications of the convention

Since its initial adoption at Tehran in Iran during the year 1971, countries have continuously joined and ratified the convention necessary for ensuring better protection for their wetlands. By the year 2008, the convention had been ratified by 159 member states . Most countries consider it to be much easier to protect ramser sites as compared to prior holistic indications. The total designated area under this convention is 170, 315, 584 hectares by the 1833 wetlands globally . In Australia, over 65 ramser wetlands covering an area of about 7. 5 million hectares have been designated .

Being one of the countries that first ratified the convention, it has harmonized most of its environmental resources management with the requirements of the convention. Arguably, this law has increasingly become easy to assimilate by other countries due to its raised capacity to guarantee adequate source of clean and safe water for the world population. Pointing at the need to conserve our wetlands at all costs, economists have called for irrigation to be able to feed the ever rising demand for food. Though the law has been hailed greatly for its current success, it has been accused of failing to strongly reprimand the offenders.

To effectively apply legal demands in a national setting, environmental lawyers have been calling for a review of the terms under which this convention has been operationalized. Besides, the convention relies heavily on individual countries for determination of the wetlands designate. Whereas this has been considered as a motivator factor for ensuring easier compliance, it has acted as a direct block to wetlands that could have otherwise been designated as ramser wetlands . Convention on conservation of migratory species of wild animals

Whereas many countries have been boasting of their vast flora and fauna within their own jurisdictions, most of them have been proved wrong as these animals only spend short periods of time there. To prevent individual countries from blocking these animals’ ways for prestige and/ or development, this convention aimed at recognizing and securing migratory routes of different animals as part of their survival emphasis. The convention was passed in 1979 under the United Nations Environmental program and provides a global platform for cooperation between countries that share wildlife resources globally.

Of greater concerns were birds which migrate with the season’s variability from north to the equatorial regions and back . Emphasizing on the need to address conservation from an expounded point of view, there has been strong need to reduce external habitat destruction for the wild animals by the people. However, this law requires direct consideration of other legislations and policies to effectively operate and yield the required results. It do not address the measures regarding sharing of the different benefits that results from these resources.

According to analysts, most of the conservation work demands motivation especially from the direct returns like those of tourism to those involved with direct conservation of the wild animals. Though the model has often been accused of being too much economically derived, over 75% of the communities living in the world living in wildlife migrating corridors are wiling to give way to the migrating animals as long as they enjoy the resultant benefits. Major factors hindering effective application of international law

Arguably, the state of the world has been threatened much by the people’s lifestyles and political systems that define and determine the applicability of the different international laws. In most of the third word countries, poverty has been the main focus for the governance while people are directly concerned with daily survival only . As a result, little consideration has been given to application of and effecting the natural laws in their jurisdictions . Besides, lack of effective governance and political goodwill has been a major stabling blocks for most of the natural laws applications.

All the natural laws are entirely dependent on the immediate governments to ensure effective compliance, monitoring and reporting mechanisms . As a result, this has made application and especially sharing of resources a direct platform for high level bureaucracy. Finally, conflicts in major regions like Afghanistan, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone have shifted conservation issues well to the second and third places after survival. Conclusion and recommendations The current international laws provide an ample platform for effective conservation of our environment.

Since the first international environmental convention on human environment was held in Stockholm, the level of awareness on environmental conservation has drastically risen. Therefore, states, companies, institutions and individuals have come to appreciate the direct impact that environment has in their jurisdictions. Besides, laying an operationalization platform for faster and higher management of the environmental biodiversity, these conventions and protocols have assisted in enhancing holistic approach to the different environmental matters.

As indicated by the above discussion, environmental conservation cannot be achieved in isolation but requires ample interactions between all the factors of the natural systems. Arguably, all the laws as derived from the major conventions treaties and protocols act as direct build up for the previous one therefore putting an intrinsic outlay of the modern issues as they arise. Whereas most of the people argue that the laws have been ineffective, this is wrong in that the same laws have been applied by other states and organizations with much higher levels of success.

Indicating that countries are sovereign states and therefore bound to make independent decisions, it is clear that these laws are virtually tied to the local policies and regulations which may be politically and/ or bureaucratically derived. Therefore, higher levels of democracy and inclusive leadership should be established with an aim of inducing all systems representation in the system. Besides, management of nature should be taken a step higher from the local national levels to regional economic cooperation like European Union as they effect better monitoring of the same aspects.

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