The UEF–UNEP Course has been organized annually since 2004. The previous courses which have been are:
- Course on International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy (Waters)
22nd August - 3rd September 2004, Joensuu, Finland
- Course on International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy (Forests)
14th - 26th August 2005, Joensuu, Finland
- Course on International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy (Biodiversity)
26th June - 7th July 2006, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
- Course on International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy (Chemicals)
12th - 24th August 2007, Joensuu, Finland
- Course on International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy (Oceans)
29th June - 11th July 2008, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
- Course on International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy (Environmental Governance)
28th June - 10th July 2009, UNEP Headquarters and Naivasha, Kenya
- Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (Climate Change)
15th - 27th August 2010, Joensuu, Finland
- Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (Synergies among the biodiversity-related conventions)
15th - 27th September 2011, Bangkok, Thailand
- Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (Ocean Governance)
19 – 31 August 2012, Grenada Grand Beach Resort, Grenada
- Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (Natural Resources)
4 – 16 August 2013 , Joensuu, Finland
The course has over the years imparted knowledge and skills set on MEAs and Diplomacy in the field of international environmental law to more than 325 participants from both developed and developing countries.
The Course seeks to transfer past experiences in the field of international environmental law to current and future negotiators of environmental agreements. The Course alumni actively participate in international environmental negotiations, and networks created during the Courses play an important role in environmental negotiations around the world. In addition, the course aims to provide a forum to foster North-South cooperation and to take stock of recent developments in the negotiation and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements and in diplomatic practices in the field.
In addition to government officials engaged in international environmental negotiations, other stakeholders, such as representatives from non-governmental organizations and the private sector, are encouraged to participate in the Course. Researchers and academics in the field are also eligible.
The selection of participants is based on experience in international environmental law-making and diplomacy. The selection process aims to strike a balance between developing and developed countries, equitable geographical distribution and gender. The participants are selected in three categories: fully funded, partially funded and self-funding. The full fellowship covers travel, full board, subsistence and the tuition fee, while the partial fellowship covered only full board, subsistence and tuition fee but does not include travel. The organizers encourage candidates to find external funding for their participation.
The Course lecturers and facilitators include diplomats, government officials and academics. Representatives from UEF and UNEP deliver lectures and presentations, lead the negotiation simulation, and function as Course resource persons. The working methods of the Course are a combination of lectures and interactive sessions in the form of plenary and group discussions, workshops and simulations.
Feedback has been collected on each Course, which has in turn been compiled into a detailed Course Evaluation. In addition, the International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy Review has been published after each Course.