Negotiating and Implementing MEAs

Stakeholder Forum was commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to produce this guide for NGOs and civil society advocates which provides advice and recommendations on how to influence the development and implementation of international agreements on environmental issues.

Over the past several decades, the international community has established a range of legally binding agreements designed to tackle the worlds most serious environmental challenges. Each of these Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) focuses on a specific problem, be it hazardous waste, trade in endangered species, climate change or some other prevalent concerns at the time these agreements were developed. In parallel, the role played by NGOs in the international negotiation of MEAs and then, in their national and local application has grown considerably.
In this context and given these new challenges, this Manual attempts to link together two areas of MEA formulation and civil society participation. Its’ goal is to both strengthen multi-stakeholder participation and increase political momentum for effective MEA development, implementation and enforcement.

The format of the Manual follows the sequence of governments’ and NGOs’ actual work on conferences and treaties. It provides background information and approaches, ‘inside the process’ guidance and expert advice on how stakeholders can effectively engage in developing and implementing MEAs.

This work is a collaborative effort made by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and three organizations that have come together to produce this Manual: Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, El Centro de Estudios Ambientales (CEDEA), and Earth Media.

This project is part of UNEP’s extensive involvement with MEAs – a role that includes serving as secretariat for specific MEAs, providing cooperation and support functions on many issues for national governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and local authorities. It is a companion to UNEPs Guidelines on Compliance with and Enforcement of MEAs (2002), and its’ Manual on Compliance with and Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (2006).

Stakeholder Forum has delivered a number of training workshops in the margins of UNEP Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) that build on the guidance provided by the Handbook. In addition Stakeholder Forum has also developed an online Capacity Building Hub to support the MEA manual and provide relevant training materials to support the workshops.


Negotiating and Implementing MEAs
Capacity Building Hub
United Nations Environment Programme – Environmental Governance Programme
Earth Media