1 Oct 2023
The registration is closed.

International Environmental Law - Self-paced track - 2023 Q4

3 Months
Programme Area
Environmental Governance and Law, Multilateral Diplomacy, International Law
This is a self-paced course and can be completed at your own paced within the 3 months. Please note that we are unfortunately currently unable to offer fee reductions or fee waivers for our self-paced courses.
Event Focal Point Email
Public – by registration
Mode of Delivery
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Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) are the predominant legal method for addressing transboundary 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.

This course will provide you with the basics of International Environmental Law (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 Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

At the end of the course, you 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.

The course requires about 30 hours to complete. If you do it directly, with leave from work, it could take you about 1.5 week. If you do not have leave from work, it could take you about 3 weeks back to back. However, since the course is self-paced, you can divide the work within the 3 month period.

The course is divided into three modules:

Module 1 “Introduction to IEL”, covering:

  • The definition of the environment and the need for its protection 
  • The sources of IEL 
  • The role international law plays in the protection of the environment 
  • The evolution of IEL 

Module 2 “Principles and Concepts Shaping IEL”, covering:

  • The principles of international law such as state sovereignty and the duty to cooperate with other states 
  • Concepts of IEL (e.g. sustainable development, common concern of humanity) 

Module 3 “Implementation of IEL” presents how IEL is implemented.

This self-paced course promotes an interactive approach through lessons and multimedia material, stimulating critical thinking. It provides a lot of flexibility, since you will be able to complete the course at your own pace and timeframe. Contents and activities are practice-oriented and under a self-assessment approach, so participants will learn through practical examples and assignments associated with research and case scenarios. This experience will be supported by the UNITAR team, additional resources and material, and visuals such as infographics and videos.

Government officials, international civil servants, lawyers, judges, NGO representatives, academics and private sector professionals in the field of international law and international organizations.

Certificates: Participants who successfully meet the minimum passing requirements at the end of the course will receive a UNITAR Certificate of Completion.

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