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Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)

What are MEAs?

Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) are international treaties, conventions, protocols, and other legally binding instruments between multiple countries that are designed to address specific environmental issues or challenges. These are negotiated and adopted by participating countries to establish common frameworks, principles, and commitments for addressing shared environmental concerns at the global or regional level. MEAs can cover a wide range of environmental issues, including biodiversity conservation, climate change, ozone depletion, chemicals and waste, pollution, etc. They are essential tools for promoting international collaboration in addressing critical environmental problems that transcend national boundaries.

In its capacity as the leading global environmental authority, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been entrusted by the governing bodies of numerous MEAs to serve as the designated entity for providing essential secretariat functions to these conventions. This pivotal role entails UNEP taking on the responsibility of facilitating and coordinating the administrative and logistical aspects of MEAs, ensuring the smooth functioning and effective implementation of these international agreements. UNEP is also engaged in providing comprehensive support with the knowledge, skills, and resources for the enhancement of national capacities, fostering the implementation of MEAs at different levels.

To learn more and find the list of MEAs administered by UNEP, kindly visit

Youth Engagement in MEA Processes

Youth engagement within the processes of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) is crucial for fostering inclusive and informed decision-making. Serving as the official children and youth constituency contributing to and participating in intergovernmental and allied policy processes at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Children and Youth Major Group (CYMG) holds a strategic position to facilitate and enhance youth engagement in MEAs. Notably, CYMG has a track record of effectively supporting youth and children in engaging within MEA processes, including meetings under the Montreal Protocols, Vienna Convention, CMS, CITES, BRS Conventions, and other significant forums.

In 2023, CYMG has been accredited to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) and its Protocols as an 'Observer Entity'. Besides, the secretariat of the Montreal Protocol and Vienna Convention (UNEP Ozone Secretariat) invited CYMG to nominate youth observers to the 35th Meeting of the Parties to Montreal Protocol (MOP35) from 23 - 27 October 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. 

CYMG operationalizes its commitment through specialized thematic working groups and associated networks/platforms. These structures are meticulously tailored to address key policy issues within environmental conventions, fostering comprehensive consultations that actively involve youth and children in shaping perspectives on matters of negotiations under MEAs.

Learn to Engage

CYMG Environmental Law Working Group aligns its efforts with the Montevideo Environmental Law Programme to advance the environmental rule of law, emphasizing capacity building, educational initiatives, and awareness raising. Therefore, the Working Group has organized numerous capacity-building sessions on different Global and Regional MEAs and made those videos available on the CYMG YouTube Channel.

UNEP has significantly enhanced accessibility to information pertaining to multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) through the comprehensive online platform known as InforMEA. Functioning as a one-stop portal, it facilitates searches for key terms within treaty texts, COP decisions, national plans and reports, legal documents, court decisions, and more. This strategic initiative by UNEP not only streamlines information retrieval but also underscores the organization's commitment to fostering transparency, awareness, and informed decision-making in the realm of multilateral environmental governance. InforMEA stands as a powerful tool, empowering stakeholders to navigate and comprehend the complexities of MEAs, ultimately contributing to the effective implementation and enforcement of environmental agreements on a global scale.

Find videos on different MEAs >>
An Introduction to InforMEA >>
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