UNITAR Online Catalogue

Techniques and Procedures in International Environmental Law - Autumn 2021


4 7月 2021
3 Months
Environmental Governance and Law, Multilateral Diplomacy, International Law


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 explores the different mechanisms made available in international environmental law to facilitate the creation and implementation of sound environmental norms; from the regulatory and economic instruments used by policy-makers, to the role of Environmental Impact Assessments and public participation in environmental decisions.


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

1. Identify the principal regulatory instruments to prevent and mitigate environmental harm and degradation.
2. Describe the main economic instruments applied to promote environmental goals.
3. Explain the procedures for environmental impact assessment.
4. Illustrate the operation of environmental licensing systems.
5. Define the procedural rights of public participation in environmental decision making.
6. Specify the main techniques used to ensure compliance with international environmental law. 


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 Regulatory and Economic Instruments”, covering:

  • Standards settings in regulatory instruments;
  • Restrictions and prohibitions in regulatory instruments;
  • Guidelines and considerations for the use of economic instruments;
  • The purpose of economic disincentives;
  • The different types of economic incentives;
  • The use of tradable permits and joint implementation;
  • Eco labels

Module 2 “Environmental Impact Assessment”, covering:

  • The scope of public licensing regimes
  • The purposes and goals of licensing
  • Public licensing procedures
  • Definition and purpose of Environmental Impact Assessments
  • The procedural requirements of Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Risk Assessment: concept, criteria and procedure

Module 3 “Public Participation & Compliance Control” covering:

  • The Rio Declaration and Public Participation; Elements of Public Participation
  • The right to environmental information;
  • The right to participate in decision-making;
  • The right to a legal recours;
  • The role of NGOs;
  • The role of industry and business groups;
  • Compliance Control


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.