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GEO Year Book 2003  
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Theme: GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Issue: International environmental governance
Indicator: Number of parties to multilateral environmental agreements

A number of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) have been negotiated and adopted to address environmental issues of global significance. The MEAs are important frameworks for global environmental governance, and the number of countries and regional organizations that have ratified an MEA is an indication of political will to address the issue concerned.

Ratification of the selected agreements has steadily grown over time (Figure 18), with conventions such as CITES, CBD, World Heritage, UNFCCC (excluding the Kyoto Protocol) and Vienna (including the Montreal Protocol) approaching the maximum possible number of parties. Taking an overview of the ratification of the 13 MEAs, the proportion of maximum possible ratifications has increased in all regions. Europe, for example, has reached a ratification rate of 78 per cent of the maximum possible if all countries ratified all the MEAs. The rate stands at 71 per cent for the world as a whole (Table 2).

 

Figure 18: Number of parties to multilateral environmental agreements, 1971–2003

Table 2: Number of parties to multilateral environmental agreements, by region*
Region (no. of countries)
CBD
CMS
CITES
World Heritage
Kyoto
Vienna/ Montreal
Ramsar
PIC
POPs
UNCCD
UNCLOS
UNFCCC
Basel
Sum of ratifications of all 13 MEAs
Potential maximum (no.of countries x13)
Overall % ratified (of possible maximum)

Africa (53)

52
27
51
45
23
51
38
13
11
53
38
52
37
491
689
71
Asia and the Pacific (45)
44
9
28
39
33
41
23
8
8
44
33
44
33
387
585
56
Europe** (49)
46
36
44
48
34
46
46
15
11
46
35
46
46
499
637
78
LAC (34)
32
7
32
31
27
33
25
6
7
33
27
33
30
323
442
73
West Asia (12)
10
3
7
11
1
10
0
5
2
2
9
10
10
80
156
51
North America (2)
1
0
2
2
1
2
2
1
1
2
0
2
1
17
26
65
Global (195)
185
82
164
176
119
183
134
48
40
180
142
187
157
1 797
2 535
71
* Data on the number of parties as of December 2003. **Including the European Community as a separate party.
Source: see Annex

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