Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. has extensive experience representing clients on matters related to the negotiation and implementation of bilateral, regional and global multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Increasingly, MEAs are driving legal and policy developments in the U.S. and around the globe.  The Firm has represented a wide range of U.S. trade associations and industry sectors at major international environmental negotiations, and has developed effective global advocacy strategies that have helped shape the outcome of key international negotiations. Our work extends to advising clients on the U.S. implementation of international environmental agreements through existing statutory authorities, executive orders and, where necessary, amendments to major U.S. environmental statutes. Our work and prior attorney experience includes matters related to virtually all of the global environmental agreements, including:

  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs);
  • The Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol;
  • The Biosafety Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity;
  • The Basel Convention and related agreements governing the transboundary shipment of hazardous wastes and recyclables;
  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer;
  • The Rotterdam Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Convention;
  • MARPOL 73/78;
  • The London Dumping Convention;
  • The Law of the Sea Convention; and
  • The UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution and its protocols.

The Firm has a leading role in counseling the U.S. chemicals, electronics, aviation and consumer products industries on international environmental issues.  Recent examples of our international work include:

  • Stockholm Convention on POPs.  The Firm represents the U.S. chemical industry on matters related to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). We also represent a major downstream user industry sector with respect to the potential addition of a new chemical to the treaty. The Firm has assisted with the development of global advocacy strategies, participated at Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meetings and provides ongoing advice on implementation issues. Our representation of industry in these global negotiations is the culmination of many years of work on earlier North American and European regional accords on POPs and persistent, toxic, bioaccumulative substances (PTBs).
  • Biosafety Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity.   The Firm worked with the U.S. food and consumer products industry to develop a global advocacy strategy that succeeded in having governments limit the scope of the Biosafety Protocol, which establishes a new global regime governing trade in living modified organisms (LMOs). In the course of negotiations, many governments favored the imposition of stringent import and export controls and risk assessment requirements on cross-border shipments of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) ( e.g. , seeds, plants, commodities) and any product derived from such organisms ( e.g. , cereals). The Firm's advocacy and strategic counseling helped to secure a final agreement that excluded “products thereof” from the accord, thereby avoiding the imposition of import and export controls on a wide range of common processed foods and other products derived from GMOs.
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) The Firm provides on-going research, analysis and advocacy assistance on issues and developments related to the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol for a variety of clients, including companies and major trade associations from the manufacturing, energy, pharmaceutical and transportation sectors. Much of our work has been focused on the potential shape and role that a global greenhouse gas emissions trading regime might take, developments relating to carbon sinks, and the targeting of specific chemicals for control as greenhouse gases.
  • The Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes. The Firm frequently advises clients on compliance with an expanding international legal regime governing the transboundary movement of recyclables that includes not only the Basel Convention but also the OECD System for controlling wastes destined for recovery, and U.S. bilateral agreements with Canada, Mexico, Malaysia and Costa Rica. The Firm has represented industry groups in negotiations at Conferences of the Parties (COPs) and Technical Working Group meetings of the Basel Convention and in the OECD. Our work has succeeded in narrowing the scope of recent amendments that threatened to expand the universe of materials classified as hazardous waste subject to international controls and trade prohibitions. The Firm also advises clients on the development and potential impact of proposed U.S. implementing legislation for the Basel Convention which is expected to drive amendments to U.S. hazardous waste and chemical control laws.
  • POPs and Heavy Metals Protocols to the Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) Convention.   The Firm represented the U.S. chemical industry in negotiations for a Protocol to the LRTAP Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and assisted with industry advocacy on a corresponding protocol targeting heavy metals. The negotiations among European countries, the United States and Canada, which ran from 1995 through 1998, focused on identifying commercial chemical products, pesticides and production by-products that would be banned or restricted within Europe and North America. We currently represent a significant downtown user sector regarding the proposed addition of a new chemical to the agreement.
  • Marine Pollution.   The Firm also has extensive experience with matters arising under the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention, the London Dumping Convention and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and its 1978 Protocol (MARPOL 73/78). Our experience extends to matters related to off-shore oil and gas exploration, specially protected areas and waste discharges from ships.

Attorneys of the Firm have significant prior experience, including work as a legal advisor to the U.S. delegations to meetings under almost all of the instruments discussed above. We also advise clients on the impact of regional environmental initiatives such as those arising under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAFTA Environmental Side Agreement), the U.S. - Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), and the U.S. - Canada Air Quality Agreement. Similarly, we advise clients on a number of European regional marine pollution agreements.

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