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Environmental Law and Sustainability

International and Foreign Laws

ECOLEX has environmental treaties, national legislation, and national and international judicial decisions, searchable by subject, keyword, and country. This site is operated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the UN Environment Programme.

FAOLEX, by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has national laws dealing with food, agriculture, and renewable natural resources.

Treaty Organization Websites

Texts and Treatises

The Art and Craft of International Environmental Law (Daniel Bodansky, 2010)
Introduces the concepts and history behind international environmental law, and goes into detail on how it arises. International rules can arise as customary norms develop and become accepted by enough of the world's countries, or directly through international negotiations. The book discusses the key players in the processes and the obstacles to cooperation and states' adherence to commitments. It also asks whether these systems have been effective.

Differential Treatment in International Environmental Law (Philippe Cullet, 2016)
Discusses the phenomenon of differential treatment, or variations of benefits and enforcement responsibilities, in environmental law, and applies it to a case study of plant protection regimes. It examines how differential treatment can further the goal of sovereign equality in an equitable manner to promote international environmental justice.

Ecological Restoration in International Environmental Law (Anastasia Telesetsky, et. al, 2016)
Examines efforts to restore land and resources to their “natural state” before human intervention, such as reforestation and wetlands reconstruction, and how international law influences and supports such efforts. Specific issues include the efforts of private, non-state actors in protecting and restoring natural environments and the role of climate change.

Enforcement of International Environmental Law: Challenges and Responses at the International Level (Martin Heidemann-Robinson, 2018)
This short volume lays out the shortcomings of international environmental enforcement, such as the typical absence of penalties and other enforcement mechanisms to employ against violating countries. Other mechanisms seek to encourage compliance with environmental standards.

International Environmental Law and Policy for the 21st Century (Ved Nanda & George Pring, 2012)
Introduces the origins and fundamental concepts of international and national environmental laws throughout the world, and introduces the stakeholders and institutions responsible for overseeing international regulation. Specific issues include sustainable development, energy production, nature preservation, freshwater, human rights and biotechnology.

International Environmental Law in a Nutshell (Lakshman D. Guruswamy & Mariah Zebrowski Leach, 2017)
This study aid involves an overview of the sources of law, including treaties, custom (or the informal development of law through the conduct of countries believing they were bound by law), and judicial decisions, and how the law becomes effective. Specific environmental topics include biodiversity, climate change, pollution, population, desertification, and nuclear damage. The guide to the many acronyms of international environmental law is particularly helpful. Also available on West Academic (login required).

Routledge Handbook of International Environmental Law (Shawat Alam et. al, eds., 2013)
Provides the basics of how the international community regulates environmental problems and pollutants that transcend political boundaries, and the principles underlying international environmental law. Authors explore the environmental justice issues that arise in international enforcement, the roles of various stakeholders and enforcers. Chapters deal with specific environmental media and issues such as biodiversity, freshwater, marine pollution, air quality, climate, and nuclear energy, as well as cross-cutting issues such as international trade and indigenous rights. Finally, authors explore various challenges looming in the future, such as deforestation and displacement of populations due to climate change.

Transboundary Governance of Biodiversity (Louis J. Kotze & Thilo Marauhn eds., 2014)
This anthology delves into concepts surrounding the human responsibility to safeguard the natural world, including animals and plants. Authors discuss various approaches to determining responsibilities to safeguard the environment and examines the effectiveness of different approaches implemented in different parts of the world. They address specific topics such as the effect of conservation activities on rural residents and the conflicting pressure to increase bio-energy production to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Available on campus or through ASURITE via HeinOnline:

China Oceans Law Review
Journal on international maritime environmental issues affecting China, with articles presented in English as well as Chinese.

Eastern and Central European Journal on Environmental Law
Summarizing the environmental issues facing certain European countries as well as commentary on international and foreign regulatory issues.

International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
Analyzing environmental and other legal issues concerning coastal countries and the non-jurisdictional high seas.

Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy
Concerning efforts to protect threatened and endangered wildlife amid economic expansion, and related topics such as illegal trade in animals.

New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law
Describing environmental challenges facing the island nation, including urban development, marine resources, and climate change.

Ocean and Coastal Law Journal
This Maine-based journal concerns international regulation of coastal waters, maritime resources, and the high seas.

Sustainable Development Law and Policy
Concerning American, international, and foreign efforts to regulate the built environment and protect nature and resources.

Transnational Environmental Law
Emphasizing the environmental issues that transcend national boundaries, such as climate change, destruction of nature, and waste disposal.

More international and foreign environmental journals available on HeinOnline.


Center for International Environmental Law
CIEL focuses on climate change, energy sustainability, regulation of toxic chemicals, and human rights issues around the world. It provides reports on its impact as an organization, as well as on environmental topics such as plastics, resource extraction, and resource trade, complete with statistical information.

Earth System Governance Project
This organization is dedicated to researching global environmental issues and providing information to the public while exploring systems of governance. It provides research materials on environmental and related topics such as the social impact of environmental stewardship, and it provides a news service. 

Global Environment Facility
It provides data on the results that environmental spending achieves, with a list of specific projects and the impact that environmental efforts have on countries around the globe. Researchers can also track information on a variety of topics, such as restoration of particular environmental media and related social and economic issues.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climaet Change is a scientific body established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization to assess climate change.

International Renewable Energy Agency
IRENA promotes adoption of renewable energy systems such as wind, solar, and ocean power in countries throughout the world. It provides a wealth of resources on the development of renewable systems, including production capacity progress, cost studies, locations of potential resources, studies of the benefits of sustainable energy. It provides statistics and focused data on particular countries or regions of the world.

International Union for the Conservation of Nature
The IUCN unites governmental and non-governmental organizations in more than one hundred sixty countries to protect the natural world. It includes commissions dedicated to public education; ecosystem management; the intersections of environmental, economic, and social policy; species survival; adjusting environmental laws; and studying protected areas. The IUCN also provides annual reports on environmental issues such as climate change, forest management, water resource management, and World Heritage sites.

OECD – Climate Change
OECD has research and analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development relating to climate change.

Sustainable Governance Indicators
Examines countries around the world for not only performance in safeguarding the environment, but also promoting economic health and social equity.

United Nations Division for Sustainable Development
This U.N. website has information, documents, and publications relating to issues contained in Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the Barbados Programme of Action for Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, and the Commission on Sustainable Development. National information by country includes information submitted biennially in national reports by member states to the Commission on Sustainable Development.

United Nations Environment Programme
The U.N. Environment Programme website provides a wide range of resources, including technical guidelines, clearing-houses, trainer manuals, databases, publications and other useful tools produced by UNEP for governments, policy makers, civil society, private sector and the public at large.

United Nations Global Change Research Program
The U.N. Global Change Research Program coordinates federal research on changes in the global environment. USGPR was created in 1989. From 2002-2008, the USGPR was known as the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. The Program’s website gives information on the government agencies it works with and provides access to its publications and various research resources.

United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform
This U.N. body provides leadership in promoting and coordinating implementation of the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations.

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
The U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization website has statistical databases and agriculture and food security databases organized by country and thematic area, a virtual library, including FAO publications and meeting documents, and the text of conventions, agreements, and treaties deposited with FAO.

United Nations System’s Work on Climate Change
This U.N. group's website provides an online inventory of U.N. System activities on climate change and links to the websites of U.N. partners on climate change.

World Bank Environment Page
The World Bank Environment page has information and publications on certain areas affecting World Bank operations in the environmental field.

World Health Organization – Climate Change
The WHO works to identify policy options to help prevent, prepare for and respond to the health effects of climate change, and supports Member States in selecting and implementing response strategies.

World Meteorological Organization
The World Meteorological Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations dealing with meteorology, operational hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.

United States Global Change Research Program
This U.S. program coordinates federal research on changes in the global environment. USGPR was created in 1989. From 2002-2008, the USGPR was known as the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. The Program's website gives information on the government agencies it works with and provides access to its publications and various research resources.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Policy and International Affairs
The role of the Office of Policy and International Affairs of the Department of Energy is to deliver unbiased advice to the Department of Energy’s leadership on existing and prospective energy-related policies. The Office’s website provides information on its services and initiatives.

U.S. Department of Justice: Foreign Law
The United States government has collected links to sources of foreign law, including environmental regulation.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: International Cooperation
Summarizes the domestic efforts to coordinate on transboundary pollution issues and with specific foreign governments such as China, Canada, and the geographical regions of the earth, along with global initiatives such as mercury reduction and ocean stewardship.

Arab Forum for Environment and Development
This non-governmental organization provides reports on sustainable development of natural resources in the Arab region.

Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment
This Australian government agency gathers information on the island continent and its efforts to protect biodiversity, protect against wildfires, and adapt to climate change impacts such as the degradation of coral reefs.

Environmental Africa
This non-governmental organization provides a blog and describes efforts to preserve and restore African ecosystems and improve technology and infrastructure for sustainable development.

European Commission: Climate Action
The European Commission website on climate action has information about the European Union’s international and domestic climate change activities. The site also has a number of studies on various aspects of climate change.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
The EEA is an agency of the European Union that provides environmental information to EU bodies and EU member countries.

Friends of the Earth International
This non-governmental organization promotes sustainability in regions around the world, including North America, Africa, and Latin America. It provides publications on subjects such as food sovereignty, environmental justice, and human rights.

Rainforest Foundation US
This non-governmental organization works to preserve the natural environments of Brazil, Peru, Panama, and Guyana, and providing information on climate change and the tension between natural resource development and nature preservation.

News and Blogs

The Center for International Environmental Law's blog updates frequently with breaking environmental news from around the world on topics such as garbage disposal and the progress of sweeping "Green New Deal"-style reforms.

Climate Law Blog: Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Updates on domestic, foreign, and international efforts to address climate change.

The European Journal of International Law provides an environmentally focused resource touching on issues relevant to particular countries as well as global challenges such as climate change.

This nonprofit group provides news releases for the public from universities, governments, and corporations worldwide on international environmental and health issues.

European Law Blog: Environmental Law
Detailed commentary on the impact of regulatory efforts on regional environmental goals.

Legal Planet: Environmental Law
Provides commentary on emerging and ongoing environmental and health issues such as sustainable use of natural resources and infectious diseases.

World Commission on Environmental Law: News
Updates on global and foreign environmental regulatory efforts.