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Introduction to International Environmental Law - I 16

By: United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)


21 Mar - 11 Apr, 2016  22 days

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USD 500

Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) are the predominant legal method for addressing trans boundary environmental problems. Adopted by States, MEAs are standard-settings instruments for effective global environmental protection. However, nowadays some States, particularly least developed and developing countries, face the challenge of implementing over 300 MEAs due to limited technical, financial and human resources.

For the adequate implementation of and compliance with MEAs at a national level, there is a need to raise awareness on International Environmental Law (IEL) and develop specific capacities for its implementation at the national level.

Event Objectives

The course provides the basics of IEL by identifying its sources and fundamental principles, the law-making process, its main actors, as well as the implementation and compliance procedures needed to understand and apply MEAs.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Define the role and importance of international law for the protection of the environment
  • Distinguish between the different sources of IEL and identify the main actors involved in its development
  • Describe the historical evolution of IEL and identify its key standard-setting instruments
  • Identify the mechanisms and procedures established to ensure compliance with IEL obligations
  • Analyze the fundamental principles and emerging concepts of IEL and apply them to real situations

Content and Structure

The course is divided into three modules with a total of five interactive lessons. Module 1 presents a general introduction of IEL, followed by its historical evolution. In Module 2 participants will learn about the fundamental principles of IEL, as well as about the concepts framing it. Finally, Module 3 covers the processes and procedures in the making and application of IEL. Each module presents lessons, tasks, discussion forums and assessments.

The course comprises approximately 25 learning hours, spread over 3 weeks. On average, participants should expect a workload of about 8-10 hours/week. Depending on the module, there is a slight variation of the amount of learning hours required per week. The course is mostly organized around asynchronous activities, which gives participants flexibility to complete learning activities, assignments, and assessments.


The course is composed of lessons, which help participants to acquire the required knowledge necessary for the tasks, discussion forums, and quizzes. Practical examples and case study analysis allow for the direct application of the knowledge acquired. At the end of the course, participants are required to submit a final report tackling relevant elements of a case study based on the knowledge gained. Apart from the core content, a number of additional resources are available for participants to further deepen their knowledge. 

Targeted Audience

This training course is designed for government officials from ministries of the environment, agriculture, forests, water, tourism, foreign affairs and other related areas. It also targets international civil servants, NGO representatives, judges, prosecutors and lawyers working in the fields of environmental law/management, international relations/politics and sustainable development. Additionally, academics, private sector professionals and graduates/researchers interested in specializing in IEL may also benefit from the course.

Additional Information

Certificates: Participants who successfully complete all the course activities and assessments will receive a Certificate of Completion issued by UNITAR.

Technical Requirements: The course is delivered through UNITAR’s Virtual Learning Environment and participants will require a reliable internet connection throughout its duration.

Web based Mar 21 - 11 Apr, 2016
USD 500.00
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+41 22 917 8400