- General Search Strategies
- Primary Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Other Related Sites
- Online Discussion Lists
This chapter of the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law discusses electronic resources for international environmental law. The types of resources covered emphasize the Internet but also include CD-ROMs, library catalogs, and on-line subscription/commercial services. The emphasis here is on English-language sources. Although a number of primary and secondary sources are discussed below, the rapidly expanding list of electronic resources in this field precludes any claim to this being an inclusive guide. With that in mind, search strategies for conducting research in this area are included in Section III.
When attempting to determine the boundaries of international environmental law, no clear definition can be applied. Like many other branches of international law, international environmental law is interdisciplinary, intersecting and overlapping with numerous other areas of research, including economics, political science, ecology, human rights and navigation/admiralty.
Until the late 1960s, most international agreements aimed at protecting the environment served narrowly defined utilitarian purposes. Alexandre C. Kiss and Dinah Shelton, Guide to International Environmental Law (Leiden; Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, c2007) at p. 32. Beginning with the 1972 Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (linked from http://www.unep.org/Documents/Default.asp?DocumentID=97), however, international agreements came to reflect a desire to limit damages to the environment. These international agreements paralleled national legislation which increasingly sought to preserve the environment. International environmental law encompasses a diverse group of topics, including:
- climate change (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming (http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/items/2627.php) along with the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_15/items/5257.php and the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Durban http://unfccc.int/meetings/durban_nov_2011/meeting/6245.php,
- sustainable development (The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development http://www.unep.org/documents/default.asp?documentid=78),
- biodiversity (Convention on Biological Diversity http://www.biodiv.org/convention/articles.asp,
- transfrontier pollution (Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Pollution http://www.unece.org/env/lrtap/,
- marine pollution (Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Environment/SpecialProgrammesAndInitiatives/Pages/London-Convention-and-Protocol.aspx),
- endangered species (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)) http://www.cites.org/eng/disc/text.php
- hazardous materials and activities (Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal http://www.basel.int/text/documents.html)
- cultural preservation (Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural & Natural Heritage, http://whc.unesco.org/en/conventiontext/),
- desertification (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification http://www.unccd.int/), and
- uses of the seas (United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_overview_convention.htm)
Recommended treatises on international environmental law include:
- Patricia Birnie, Alan Boyle, and Catherine Redgwell, International Law and the Environment, 3rd ed., Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. (http://www.worldcat.org/title/international-law-and-the-environment/oclc/656550138&referer=brief_results)
- Daniel Bodansky, The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law, Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. (http://www.worldcat.org/title/oxford-handbook-of-international-environmental-law/oclc/71541584&referer=brief_results)
- Alexandre Charles Kiss and Dinah Shelton, Guide to International Environmental Law, Leiden; Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, c2007. ( http://www.worldcat.org/title/guide-to-international-environmental-law/oclc/153598670)
Researchers in this field must remain cognizant of the multiple sources for international environmental law. In addition to international agreements (treaties, conventions, etc.), the researcher should consider the relevance of national environmental laws, regulations and policy statements. Reports and documents issued by multinational and non-governmental organizations also play an important role in shaping and defining international environmental law. These myriad resources can be difficult to identify, much less to obtain, in full text. Flexibility, creativity and familiarity with helpful research tools can make this process less confusing. Tips on using some of these tools follow:
a. Online library catalogs
One of the best places to start research in international environmental law is with the catalog in your local library or law library. A number of these catalogs are now online and can be searched from all over the world.
Many law library online catalogs, especially in the United States, use the Library of Congress (LC) (http://www.loc.gov) classification system (outline at http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/lcco/).
For general or comparative publications on international environmental law, try the subject heading ENVIRONMENTAL LAW--INTERNATIONAL.
More specific subject headings include CLIMATIC CHANGES, MARINE POLLUTION, NATURAL RESOURCES, RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION OF THE SEA, SHORE PROTECTION, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, TRANSBOUNDARY POLLUTION, WILDLIFE CONSERVATION.
Tip: For the most flexible search queries, try your library catalog's KEYWORD search function.
In addition to searching your local law library's online catalog, you can search for materials in other libraries by using WorldCat (http://www.oclc.org/us/en/worldcat/default.htm), a merged electronic catalog of thousands of libraries worldwide. WorldCat contains over a billion records. In addition to providing bibliographic information, WorldCat lists the libraries holding the item, one of which may be near you or willing to loan the item to you via Interlibrary Loan at your public library.
b. Periodical indexes
Periodical articles are particularly useful in researching current issues in international environmental law. In addition, articles can provide useful overviews of the subject as well as citations to relevant primary and secondary sources. Numerous tools exist which index periodicals containing articles about international environmental law. Some legal journals are now available on the Web in full text. For more about those focusing on international environmental law, see Periodicals under Secondary Resources in section V below.
The Legal Resources Index (LRI) (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 1980-) is available in CD-ROM and on the Web under the title LegalTrac. LRI can also be found on LEXIS (LAWREV/LGLIND) and WESTLAW (LRI) if the subscriber's library also subscribes to the CD-ROM or Web version. LRI is updated monthly and indexes over 800 English language legal periodicals. Information Access' paper counterpart is called Current Law Index. Coverage dates back to the early 1980s.
The Index to Legal Periodicals & Books (ILP) (New York, NY: H.W. Wilson Co., 1926-) is a subscription index providing citations to articles in over 1,000 legal periodicals covering all areas of jurisprudence, including international law. ILP includes records for periodicals back to 1982 plus the full text of over 325 periodicals dating back to 1994. Subscribers to the ILP Retrospective have access to records from 1908 to 1981.
Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP) is a weekly index published by the Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington. It is available electronically as well as in paper. CILP is also available on WESTLAW in the CILP database. For subscription information, see http://lib.law.washington.edu/cilp/cilp.html.
Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press for the American Association of Law Libraries, 1960-). The IFLP is a multilingual index to articles and book reviews in over 500 legal journals worldwide. Its scope includes international law, comparative law and national law of jurisdictions other than the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Updated quarterly, IFLP is available on the Web through Ovid (http://www.ovid.com/site/catalog/DataBase/104.jsp).
The Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS) International (Bethesda, MD: CSA, 1972-) indexes public policy literature, including periodicals, books, government documents and reports, international agency publications, and internet material in six languages. The references are in English, and many entries include brief contents notes. PAIS International is available via subscription on CSA Illumina (http://www.csa.com/factsheets/pais-set-c.php). The PAIS Archive database contains records for items dating back to 1915.
c. Research Guides and Bibliographies
- Burns, Wil, Bibliography: Environmental Change and Its Impact on Species/Ecosystems (http://www.internationalwildlifelaw.org/Biblio.php4) Although not updated since 2004, this bibliography's 3900+ citations render it noteworthy. It includes citations to peer-reviewed and gray literature (including journal articles, newspaper articles, reports and materials on the Internet) with a focus on climate change (defined as global warming or ozone depletion) and its impacts on flora and fauna species and critical supporting ecosystems.
- E.B. Williams Library Research Guides: International Environmental Law (http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/intl/guides/InternationalEnvironmentalLaw.cfm) - comprehensive research guide prepared by the Georgetown Law Library International and Foreign Law Department.
- Hunter, et al, International Environmental Law and Policy: A Comprehensive Reference Source (http://www.wcl.american.edu/pub/iel/index.html) was designed to be used in conjunction with the authors' textbook, but, as a separate document, this site provides useful links to treaties, international organizations and recent developments in international environmental law. Annex I provides links helpful in researching international environmental law, Annex II lists international organizations active in international environmental affairs, and Annex III provides a chronology of international environmental agreements.
- Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL) (International Environmental Law section linked from http://www.eisil.org). In fall 2004, the American Society of International Law launched this comprehensive database that includes a section on international environmental law. EISIL links to primary documents, such as treaties and other international instruments. Additional information is provided on each instrument, including print citations and relevant dates. EISIL will also guide users to the "best sites" for certain topical areas or kinds of research: Web sites that have been examined by experts and measured against certain standards, such as currency, stability, authenticity, and comprehensiveness. EISIL additionally provides links to recommended research guides that assist researchers in exploring their topics of interest more widely. The database is browseable through a broad framework of subject areas as well as searchable using a targeted search engine.
- Infography about International Environment Law (http://www.infography.com/content/439331236499.html) includes citations to mostly print resources recommended by an attorney specializing in international environmental law.
The major sources of international environmental law are treaties and international agreements. An additional source is customary international law, which is often evidenced by national legislation, government statements, restatements of the law, and the interpretations of international tribunals such as the International Court of Justice and other arbitral bodies. This section lists electronic resources for these various kinds of primary sources, with an emphasis on treaties and other types of international environmental agreements.
a. International Agreements, Declarations, Organizational Statements, Reports, Resolutions and Like Materials
1. The United Nations and Related Organizations
Numerous entities within and related to the United Nations produce materials relevant to international environmental law. These organizations range from divisions within the United Nations to specialized agencies related to the United Nations. Many of these entities have a substantive presence on the Web, providing full-text access to international agreements, reports, resolutions, and other materials. They are arranged here alphabetically after the official UN Web site.
The UN provides UNBISnet (http://unbisnet.un.org/), an online index to its documents along with detailed voting records for General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. For a more detailed discussion of the United Nations and the electronic resources available for researching United Nations materials, see the United Nations Chapter of this ASIL Guide (http://www.asil.org/un1.cfm).
A. Web Sites
- United Nations Official Web Page (http://www.un.org)
- One of the most useful items on the UN site is its free database United Nations Treaty Collection (http://treaties.un.org), which holds the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS), the Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General and other useful treaty-related resources. In addition to providing the text of many UN documents, the UN Web site includes a directory of other UN Web sites, many of which also contain relevant documents. Links to a number of these sites of interest to the international environmental law researcher are included below. Use the UN Documentation Centre (http://www.un.org/en/documents/index.shtml) as a portal to documents from all principal organs and other UN entitities. Climate Change Secretariat (http://www.unfccc.int)
- Performs secretariat functions as set forth in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/items/2627.php). In addition to the text of the Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, and the site provides access to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_15/items/5257.php and the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban http://unfccc.int/meetings/durban_nov_2011/meeting/6245.php. The secretariat's site includes an overview of climate change; documents of the various conferences, bodies and groups created by the international agreements; national communications; and technical papers.
- Convention on Biological Diversity Clearing-House Mechanism (http://www.biodiv.org/chm/)
- The Clearing-House Mechanism is a network of parties and partners working together to facilitate implementation of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The site provides access to official CBD documents, including final reports and decisions of the Conference of Parties.
- Economic and Social Council (http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ecosoc/)
- The Economic and Social Council's charge under the UN Charter (http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/index.shtml) to promote conditions of economic and social progress and development led to the inclusion of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) (http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/csd/csd_aboucsd.shtml) as one of the Council's nine functional commissions. Working closely with the Commission is the Division for Sustainable Development (http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/index.shtml) with the mission of contributing to sustainable development worldwide by facilitating the implementation of various international environmental agreements relevant to sustainable development.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (http://www.fao.org)
- The FAO is a specialized agency within the United Nations system. Founded in 1945, the FAO's mandate to raise levels of nutrition and improve agricultural productivity involve the organization in issues of sustainable development and conservation of natural resources. FAO's Catalog (http://www.fao.org/icatalog/inter-e.htm) provides bibliographic information on FAO publications. Items can be searched by title, ISBN or Year. The catalog also provides a browable list of subjects. The FAOLEX database (http://faolex.fao.org/faolex/index.htm) contains treaties, national laws and regulations on food, agriculture and renewable natural resources world-wide. FAOLEX users have direct access to abstracts and some full text materials along with indexing information about each text.
- International Maritime Organization (IMO) (http://www.imo.org)
- The IMO is the UN's specialized agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships. The IMO served as the Secretariat for the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) (http://www.imo.org/About/Conventions/ListOfConventions/Pages/International-Convention-for-the-Prevention-of-Pollution-from-Ships-(MARPOL).aspx) in 1972 and has facilitated adoption of numerous Annexes to that convention. The IMO site provides status information on IMO conventions as well as depositary information. The site also includes the text of press briefings, IMO Circulars, speeches and other documents.
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (http://www.undp.org)
- UNDP is the United Nations' global development network, working with countries to find solutions to development problems. Along with the World Bank (http://worldbank.org) and UNEP (http://www.unep.org), UNDP is a managing partner in the Global Environment Facility (http://www.gefweb.org), which funds country efforts to address ozone depletion, global warming, loss of biodiversity and pollution of international waters. UNDP's Web site includes human development reports, annual reports, evaluations and other UNDP publications.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (http://www.unep.org)
- UNEP was established after the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Described as the "environmental conscience" of the UN system, UNEP has provided support in the negotiation, adoption and implementation of several international environmental agreements. UNEP is a co-sponsor, along with the World Meteorological Association, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (http://www.ipcc.ch/). The agency generates numerous reports and policy documents, many of which are available on the Web site. UNEP and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) (http://www.iucn.org/) have joined in an initiative called ECOLEX (http://www.ecolex.org/), designed to provide global access to information on environmental law. ECOLEX contains information on multilateral treaties, international "soft law" and related documents, instruments of the European Union, national legislation, judicial decisions, and law and policy literature.
- World Health Organization (WHO) (http://www.who.int)
- The WHO is the coordinating authority for health initiatives within the United Nations system. The WHO proposes conventions, agreements, and regulations regarding health issues and develops, establishes and promotes international standards concerning foods, pharmaceuticals, and similar substances. The Web site contains a section on Public Health and Environment (http://www.who.int/phe/en/), which includes reports and other WHO publications on environmental health addressing such topics as indoor and outdoor pollution, chemical safety, children's environmental health, and global environmental change.
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO) (http://www.wmo.ch)
- The WMO is the United Nations specialized agency charged with providing leadership in international cooperation in weather, climate, hydrology, water resources and related environmental issues. Its policy-making body, the World Meteorological Congress, meets every four years. The WMO's Secretariat includes publication and distribution of WMO publications among its duties. The WMO Web site includes WMO statements, long-term plans, and announcements. The WMO is a co-sponsor, along with the United Nations Environment Programme, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (http://www.ipcc.ch/).
B. UN-specific CD-ROM or Web commercial products
- AccessUN (available by subscription from Newsbank (http://infoweb.newsbank.com) indexes United Nations documents including Official Records, masthead documents, draft resolutions, meeting records, UN Sales Publications, and the UN Treaty Series citations. Also includes several thousand full-text UN documents.
2. Other Multinational Organizations
A. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
ASEAN formed in 1967 to promote economic cooperation and the welfare of the people in the region. Although the focus thus far has been on economic cooperation, the member states have concluded several Agreements on the Environment (http://www.aseansec.org/8919.htm)
i. ASEAN Web Sites
- ASEAN (http://www.aseansec.org)
- ASEAN's official site includes all ASEAN Agreements, Declarations, and Statements from 1967 to present, plus press releases, speeches, and staff papers. The Environment Division (http://environment.asean.org/) provides overviews of ASEAN environmental and disaster readiness activities. The site includes links to ASEAN environmental agreements and other publications.
B. Council of Europe (COE)
Formed in 1949, the Council of Europe's main goal is to strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout its member states.
i. Council of Europe Web Sites
- Council of Europe (http://www.coe.int)
- The Council of Europe's official Web site contains numerous documents, including international agreements. Environmental conventions can be located using the site's full-text searching function at http://conventions.coe.int/. Examples of environmental conventions coming out of the Council of Europe are: Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats and Convention on Civil Liability for Damage Resulting from Activities Dangerous to the Environment. Find more information about the Council of Europe's environmental work and documentation on their Culture and Nature page http://www.coe.int/lportal/web/coe-portal/what-we-do/culture-and-nature, which includes biological diversity, sustainable development, and climate change.
C. European Union
The European Union, (used here as an umbrella term encompassing several communities, including the European Coal & Steel Community, European Economic Community, and the European Communities), was created after World War II to unite the nations of Europe economically. From its initial membership of six European nations, the EU has grown to include twenty-seven nations, and several more have applied for membership. Although initially framed as an economic union, the EU is becoming a cultural and social union in many ways. Concern for the environment is among its members' united concerns.
i. EU Web Sites
- Europa (http://europa.eu)
- Europa is the official Web site of the European Union. The site is extensive and comprehensive, including many free, full-text documents. The Europa site provides access to its legal documents through EUR-Lex (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm), its official portal to EU law. EUR-Lex allows searching in a number of fields as well as by browsing. The EU's Environment policy page (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/index_en.htm) provides access to press releases, environmental action programs, studies, reports, environment fact sheets, newsletters, speeches, statistics, a calendar of events, and information about member state implementing legislation. The Commission has also published a number of Communications on climate change http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/future_action_com.htm. Directorate-General for the Environment (http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/environment/index_en.htm).
- This Directorate-General is the body within the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/) responsible for Commission work on the Environment. The Web site contains a selection of recent Environment Directorate General proposals, fact sheets on air quality and waste, and numerous newsletters. The Web site also includes information about the EU's Eco-label Programme (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/index_en.htm), which serves the primary purpose of stimulating the supply and demand of products with a reduced environmental impact.
- European Environment Agency (EEA) (http://www.eea.europa.eu/)
- Created by Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1210/90, the EEA's aims are to provide information which can be directly used in the implementation of EU environmental policy. Although an entity of the European Union, the EEA's membership is open to non-Member countries that share the agency's concerns. Many full-text PDF documents are available, along with summaries of additional documents. The EC Biodiversity Clearing-House Mechanism (http://biodiversity-chm.eea.europa.eu/) facilitates the exchange of biodiversity information between EU institutions. The Clearing-House provides a biodiversity thesaurus, directory of information sources on biodiversity, and numerous links to full-text documents maintained on other EU sites.
- European Environmental Law Homepage (http://www.eel.nl)
- Provides the text of the major treaties creating the EU, environmental treaties, case law, draft legislation, and other environmental documents. EEL also provides information about current news, upcoming events and job opportunities in environmental law.
- European Union Delegation in the United States (http://www.eurunion.org)
- This site, which is maintained by the European Commission's Office of Press and Public Affairs, reflects the EU's presence in the United States and covers developments in the Transatlantic Action Plan. The site contains numerous full-text documents. The Environment Policy page (http://www.eurunion.org/eu/Environment/Environment.html) provides an overview of EU environmental policy and includes links to relevant EU pages.
ii. EU CD-ROM, Web & Other Online Commercial Products
- Eurolaw (Ascot, England: SAI Global): includes primary and secondary EU legislation, case law, COM docs, and links to the Official Journal online. It also includes national implementing measures and judgments from the European Court of Human Rights. Available as Web product. SAI Global (http://www.ili.co.uk/en).
- Justis-Celex (London: Context Limited): Provides access to EU law and national implementing measures. Context Limited (http://www.justis.com/titles/celex.html). LEXIS' EU databases provide access to EU law, including Butterworths selected cases and competition cases.
- WESTLAW's EU-ALL database provides access to treaties, legislation, case law, preparatory documents, parliamentary questions and information and notices.
D. GATT & the World Trade Organization (WTO)
The World Trade Organization was established during the Uruguay Round negotiations of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994 to deal with the rules of trade between nations. The WTO Committee on Trade and Environment works to incorporate environmental and sustainable development issues into trade rules.
i. GATT/WTO Web Sites
World Trade Organization (WTO) (http://www.wto.org)
The WTO's Web site contains the official documentation of the WTO, including the legal texts of the WTO agreements, documents from dispute settlement panels, and much more. The documents are stored in the Documents Online search facility (http://docsonline.wto.org/) in WordPerfect 5.2 format before 2 June 1998 and in Word 97 thereafter. Many documents are also provided in PDF. The documents can be searched, viewed, and downloaded. Search fields include symbol, title, date, and full-text. Updated daily. The WTO's environmental work is discussed at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/envir_e/envir_e.htm.
ii. GATT/WTO on Online Commercial Databases
LEXIS - The international trade materials include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Uruguay Round, including the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization as well as GATT/WTO Basic Instruments and Selected Documents, which includes the principal decisions, resolutions, recommendations and reports adopted by the Contracting Parties every year. The GATTWTO file contains GATT and WTO panel decisions from 1948.
WESTLAW - The GATT database contains the text of the final General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Uruguay Round, including the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, and other documents, including the GATT Uruguay Round Agreements Report on Environmental Issues. The WTO-DEC database includes selected documents from WTO/GATT dispute settlement panels. The WTOGATT AWARDS database includes arbitration settlement awards from the WTO and GATT.
E. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Although they entered into NAFTA as a trade agreement, the three member states (Canada-Mexico-United States) subsequently entered into a complementary agreement, the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation (http://www.cec.org/Page.asp?PageID=1226&SiteNodeID=567) to address shared environmental concerns.
i. Web Sites
Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) (http://www.cec.org)
Created under the the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation to address regional environmental concerns, the CEC works to prevent trade and environmental conflicts and to promote the enforcement of environmental law. This Web site provides documents from the CEC's governing body, the CEC Council (http://www.cec.org/Page.asp?PageID=1226&SiteNodeID=207) as well as a Summary of Environmental Law in North America, including links to the texts of several international agreements and relevant national laws in NAFTA member countries (Canada, Mexico, and the United States). The materials are available in French, Spanish and English.
National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade (http://www.natlaw.com)
The National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade is a non-profit research and educational corporation whose purpose is to facilitate trade and investment in the Western Hemisphere. The Center's InterAm Database (http://www.natlaw.com/database.htm), available by subscription, provides access to Mexican and Latin American legal and regulatory information. Non-subscribers can purchase documents for a fee. In addition, this site provides several environmental treaties (http://www.natlaw.com/treaties/enviro.htm) in full text, although only to subscribers or for a per-document fee.
ii. NAFTA on Online Commercial Databases
LEXIS - In NAFTA file, find the North American Free Trade Agreement plus Supplemental Agreements. NAFTA panel review decisions from April 1995 on are included in NAFDEC.
WESTLAW - The NAFTA database includes chapters of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other documents released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative; find Binational Panel decisions and related documents in the NAFTA-BIP database. The NAFTA-Awards database contains arbitration settlement awards.
F. Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD)
The OECD is a Paris-based intergovernmental organization enabling its 34 Member Countries to consult and cooperate with each other in matters concerning sustainable economic growth, including sustainable development and the environment.
i. Web Sites
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (http://www.oecd.org)
This official OECD homepage, available in English and French, provides detailed information about the OECD. In addition to background information, the site contains the text of recent annual reports, policy briefs, statistics, background papers and numerous other documents (follow the links under "Publications" at the bottom of the page). OECD's Environment Directorate (http://www.oecd.org/department/0,3355,en_2649_33713_1_1_1_1_1,00.html) groups environment-related documents under the heading "Publications and Documents" and provides links to related OECD materials.
G. Organization of American States (OAS)
Under the OAS Charter (http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/charter.html), economic and social development of the Americas has long been one of the organization's goals. At its 26th regular session in 1996, the General Assembly established the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development.
i. Web Sites
Organization of American States (http://www.oas.org)
The official OAS Web site provides the text of Resolutions and Declarations (http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/resolut.html) and conventions (http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/treaties.html) and numerous other types of documents (http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/documents.asp)). The Department of Sustainable Development and Environment (http://www.oas.org/usde/) is the technical arm of the OAS General Secretariat responsible for responding to the needs of member states on issues relating to sustainable development within an economic development context.
3. Miscellaneous Sources for International Environmental Agreements, Declarations, Statements, and Related Documents
A. Web Sites
Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) (http://www.ciesin.org)
CIESIN is part of Columbia University's Earth Institute. This Center focuses on applying information technology to interdisciplinary data, information, and research problems related to human interactions in the environment. CIESIN's Web site contains the text of more than 140 international environmental agreements, which are searchable through the ENTRI system (http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/entri/):
Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) (http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/entri/) ENTRI allows the researcher to search for treaties by date, keyword, and other fields. The Country Explorer (http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/entri/partySearch.jsp) provides data on over 200 countries, including which environmental treaties a particular country has signed or ratified. An additional tool is the Conference of Parties (COP) decision search tool (http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/gsametasearch/cop_start.jsp), which allows the researcher to search for decisions produced by the Parties in selected multilateral environmental agreements.
This site includes the text of several conventions, national and international tribunal cases, selected UN resolutions, and links to other sites containing multilateral conventions and international environmental law and policy documents.
Multilaterals Project (http://fletcher.archive.tusm-oit.org/multilaterals/)
The Multilaterals Project at the Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy is designed to make available the texts of international multilateral conventions and other instruments. The database is organized by subject as well as chronologically. Full-text searching is also available. Originally created in 1992 to provide access to environmental agreements, the database now includes treaties in other fields as well. The major subject headings still reflect the emphasis on environmental agreements: they include "Atmosphere and Space," "Flora and Fauna--Biodiversity," "Marine and Coastal," and "Other Environmental."
B. CD-ROMs and Online Commercial Databases
The Environmental Law Reporter, edited by The Environmental Law Institute (St. Paul, MN: West Group, c1993-) (ELR) The ELR contains the text of major treaties, conventions and international agreements concerning the environment. Subscription information is available at http://www.elistore.org/elr.asp. The institute also provides free access to many of its Research Reports (http://www.elistore.org/reports.asp) in PDF format.
HeinOnline Treaties and Agreements Library is a subscription collection of treaties and related materials. It includes United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST), Treaties and Other International Agreements Series (TIAS), Kav Agreements, International Legal Materials, Treaties in Force, Guide to Treaties in Force, and other useful treaty indexes. See http://home.heinonline.org/content/list-of-libraries/?c=46 for additional information.
International Environment Reporter (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.) (IER)
The IER provides tracking of developments in international law, including legislative and judicial activity around the world as well as the actions of international organizations.The Web version is updated weekly, and email alerts are available. See http://www.bna.com/products/ens/iner.htm for subscription information.
Treaties and International Agreements Online (TIAO) (http://www.oup.com/online/us/law/oceanalaw/?view=usa#tiao) is a subscription database from Oxford University Press - Oceana Law Online, containing the text of over 17,000 treaties . A major TIAO subject category is Environment, with approximately twenty secondary subjects such as Climate and Marine Pollution.
LEXIS - Look for treaties to which the United States is a party in USTRTY. Additional selected treaties and agreements can be found in ILMTY, which contains portions of the American Society of International Law's International Legal Materials from 1975.
WESTLAW - The INTLENVL database contains a collection of international environmental law instruments in a variety of subject areas, including control of resource pollution, environmental protection and conservation of natural resources. The USTREATIES database covers U.S. Treaties and other International Agreements (T.I.A.S.) from June 1979 and Senate Treaty Documents from 1993. The ILM database contains the American Society of International Law's International Legal Materials (ILM) from 1980, which reproduces a variety of international legal documents, including selected international agreements.
b. Case Law
1. Web Sites
International Court of Justice (ICJ) (http://www.icj-cij.org)
The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Its official Web site contains recent decisions of the Court, its current docket, basic documents and other publications in French and English.
Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) (http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/j_6/)
The ECJ's official Web site contains case law since 1997. The advanced search interface at http://curia.europa.eu/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=en is searchable by case number, date, parties' names, words in the text, and subject matter, including environment, energy policy, forestry, and fisheries policy." The judgments are available in all official languages. In addition to judgments, the site provides the ECJ's diary, proceedings, press releases, a digest of Community case law, annotations of judgments (in French) and other information. The EUR-Lex database (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm) also provides access to ECJ case law, incuding older materials.
E-Law's Legal & Scientific Resources page (http://www.elaw.org/resources/) provides access to environmental case law from around the world.
European Environmental Law's case law page (http://www.asser.nl/Default.aspx?site_id=7&level1=12218) provides access to European environmental case law, including selected national court decisions.
Globelaw's Cases Relating to Nuclear Testing, Climate Change and the WTO (http://www.globelaw.com/Cases.htm)
The Globelaw site currently contains the text of a few decisions of international and national tribunals along with summaries and parties' arguments.
2. Online Commercial Databases
Oxford Reports on International Law (Oxford University Press)
This subscription service provides online access to domestic court decisions on international law from over 60 jurisdictions. In addition to the full text of the decisions in their original language, the database provides English translations and expert commentary. Relevant subject headings include international environmental law, law of the sea, and air law. For subscription information, see http://www.oup.com/online/us/law/oril/.
WESTLAW's INT-ICJ database contains the ICJ cases since 1947.
c. National Legislation, Regulations, and Policy Statements
National laws often contribute to the formation of customary international environmental law. In addition, national laws can indicate acceptance of such custom-based law in the absence of a treaty or other binding international agreement. However, identifying or confirming the existence of a particular country's environmental legislation poses quite a challenge. The Internet is fast becoming a good source for these foreign materials.
1. Internet Sources
ECOLEX is maintained by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Conservation Union. In addition to providing access to environmental treaties, ECOLEX is a good source for national environmental legislation and court decisions.
E-Law's Legal & Scientific Resources page (http://www.elaw.org/resources/) provides access to environmental legislation from around the world.
FAOLEX, maintained by the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations, contains a large collection of national laws and regulations on food, agriculture and renewable natural resources. The database includes abstracts and indexing information about each text, as well as the full text of most legislation contained in the database.
Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) (http://www.glin.gov/)
Maintained on the Library of Congress Web site (http://www.loc.gov), GLIN is an online database containing statutes, regulations, court decisions and related national materials from over 50 countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. GLIN provides abstracts and citations to the more than 60,000 laws of foreign nations in the database. All summaries are freely available, and free access to full texts is also available for most jurisdictions. Relevant subject terms include Biological Diversity, Environment, Pollution, Sustainable Development, U.N. Environment Programme, and Water. GLIN provides a subject thesaurus to aid the researcher in determining appropriate subject headings.
2. CD-ROMs and Online Commercial Databases
Thomas H. Reynolds & Arturo A. Flores, Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World Like its revered counterpart in print, Foreign Law: Current Sources on CD-ROM and the Web provides an overview of each nation's legal system, official sources of legislation and judicial decisions, and a subject-specific guide to both official and commercial sources of law, including those translated into English. To identify environmental legislation in each country, look for sources listed under the subject heading ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, along with FISHING & MARINE RESOURCES, MARITIME LAW (ADMIRALTY), MINERALS & MINING, and NUCLEAR ENERGY. See the W.S. Hein site (http://www.wshein.com) for information about ordering the print and CD-ROM versions, and visit http://www.foreignlawguide.com for more about the Web version.
WESTLAW - The ENFLEX-INT database contains full-text translations of environmental statutes and regulations for a number of foreign jurisdictions.
Environmental law journals have embraced electronic publication, and a number provide either the full text or abstracts of articles on the Internet.
a. Web Sites
Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum (http://delpf.law.duke.edu/)
Full-text articles from 1996 -.
E-LAW Advocate (http://www.elaw.org/news/advocate/)
Quarterly electronic newsletter of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (E-LAW) (http://www.elaw.org)
Earth Negotiations Bulletin (linked from http:www.iisd.ca/linkages/)
Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) (http://www.iisd.org/), the Earth Negotiations Bulletin provides daily coverage of official UN negotiations for environmental and development agreements. The bulletin is written and edited by a team of professionals from throughout the world.
Electronic Green Journal (http://escholarship.org/uc/uclalib_egj)
One of the first peer-reviewed digital journals promoting an open access publishing mode, the Electronic Green Journal provides full-text articles, bibliographies and book reviews concerning international environmental topics. Coverage begins in 1994.
Environmental Law (http://www.lclark.edu/org/envtl/) From the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clarke College. Web site provides full-text articles beginning with issue 36:1 (2006) and abstracts beginning with issue 25:1 (1995). Its companion online journal (http://www.elawreview.org/nav/) posts online articles, recent case summaries, and readers' comments.
FSU Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law (http://www.law.fsu.edu/journals/landuse/)
Although the focus of this journal is on U.S. environmental law, its scope includes international environmental law issues as well. Full-text articles from issue 10:1 (1994).
Georgetown International Environmental Law Review (http://www.law.georgetown.edu/journals/gielr/)
Web site contains abstracts only from 1988 to present.
Global Environmental Politics (http://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/glep) This periodical examines the relationship between global political forces and environmental change. The site provides tables of contents and abstracts from 2001 to present. Articles can be purchased individually from the site.
GreenLaw (Pace University College of Law; former title: Environmentally Friendly)
Full-text journal of the Pace Center for Environmental Legal Studies.
International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (http://www.springerlink.com/content/106601/)
This peer-reviewed journal focuses on achieving cooperative solutions to international environmental problems. The site provides abstracts, with full text available to subscribers and for a per-article fee to non-subscribers.
Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy (http://www.jiwlp.com/)
Web site includes abstracts and selected full-text articles in PDF from 1998 - 2007.
LEAD is a peer-reviewed academic publication based in New Delhi and London and jointly managed by the School of Law of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) – University of London and the International Environmental Law Research Centre (IELRC). The site provides access to abstracts and the full text of articles from 2005 to date.
New York University Environmental Law Journal (http://www.law.nyu.edu/journals/envtllaw/)
Includes full-text articles, notes and book reviews since 1992. Also includes videos and speeches. Indexed by author, subject and issue.
Our Planet (http://www.ourplanet.com/imgvrsn/planethme.html)
UNEP's magazine on the environment and sustainable development, Our Planet contains full-text articles since 1996 by leaders of UN organizations, national governments, NGOs, and experts. Each issue focuses on a specific theme, usually tied to an international conference (e.g, climate change).
b. Commercial Online Services
LEXIS - The BNA International Environment Reporter can be found on LEXIS in the BNA/INTENV file. It monitors the pollution control activity in the major industrial nations, focusing on legislation and the political and social issues affecting environmental protection programs, multinational and bilateral agreements and treaties, pollution prevention measures, key meetings, and actions of the United Nations and other international organizations. Coverage begins in September 1987. For environmental law reviews in Lexis, search ENVLR.
- WESTLAW - The BNA International Environment Reporter - Current Reports is located in the BNA-INTENVR database and analyzes international environmental issues. Coverage begins with February 1998.
Many of these sites contain links to official versions of primary sources. In addition, they may contain essays, press releases, directories, and other useful information.
The American Society of International Law‘s current awareness publication International Law In Brief (http://www.asil.org/ilibmenu.cfm) is a free, bi-monthly email service. It carries analytical abstracts of significant documents reflective of the broad, contemporary nature of international law.
ASIL Insights Online is also available both on the ASIL Web site (www.asil.org/insights.htm) and as a free email service (about once a month). Concise, unbiased essays outline the international law issues behind current events.
ASIL Interest Group in International Environmental Law (http://www.asil.org/interest-groups-view.cfm?groupid=20)
The International Environmental Law Interest Group focuses on the role of law in addressing international environmental issues.
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) (http://www.ciel.org)
CIEL is a public interest, not-for-profit law firm focusing on strengthening and developing international and comparative environmental law, policy and management. CIEL provides access to many of its documents, including studies and articles, on this site.
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (E-LAW) (http://www.elaw.org)
E-LAW is a world-wide network of public interest attorneys, scientists and other advocates interested in international and domestic environmental law. The advocates exchange information concerning international environmental issues, with the aim of building local environmental law expertise. Most of these exchanges occur through e-mail and electronic conferencing. The site features environmental law cases from around the world, mostly in English.
Environmental Law Institute (ELI) (http://www.eli.org)
The ELI is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization working to activate a broad constituency of nearly 4,000 environmental professionals in government, industry, the private bar, public interest groups, the media, and academia. They provide training programs, law and policy reform programs, and produce numerous publications, which can be ordered via the Web site. One of ELI's major program areas focuses on international environmental law issues.
International Environmental Law Research Centre (IELRC) (http://www.ielrc.org/) The IELCR, located in Geneva and New Delhi, serves as a forum for the development of legal and institutional frameworks that foster equitable and sustainable environmental management at the local, national and international level. The site provides access to articles, working papers, briefing papers and more on a variety of environmental topics, including biosafety, biodiversity, climate change, intellectual property, justice and human rights, and water.
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) (http://www.iisd.org/)
IISD works to promote sustainable development in decision-making internationally and within Canada. IISD publishes the Internet periodical Earth Negotiations Bulletin and hosts the Linkages site (http://www.iisd.ca/linkages), which is a multimedia resource providing timely coverage of conferences and updates re ongoing negotiations.
OCEANLAW (http://www.oceanlaw.net/) is a consulting service posting research relating to international fisheries law and related law of the sea issues. The site provides publications and guides on fisheries law and oceans law.
Online discussion lists provide a convenient forum for discussing issues with others interested in the same topic. A number of lists focus on or include issues relating to international environmental law:
CLIMATE-L (moderated news and information distribution list on developments in climate change research and policy; more information at http://www.iisd.ca/email/climate-L.htm)
ENVLAWPROFESSORS (Environmental Law Professors discussion list; subscription instructions at http://lists.uoregon.edu/listjoining.html)
INTLAWPROFESSORS (International Law Professors discussion list; subscription instructions at http://mailman.anu.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/intlawprofessors)
This page was revised and updated December 8, 2011.