A  web·guide to sustainable development, conservation & the glocal environment




⫸ Kew Botanical Garden


⫸ Bogd Khan Mountain Reserve, Mongolia


⫸ Britain's first bird sanctuary, established by Charles Waterton on his Yorkshire estate


⫸ Mt Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts


⫸ Manchester Association for the Prevention of Smoke (UK)


⛰ 1st International Maritime Conference (August, Brussels)


⫸ Yosemite State Park (ceded to California by federal government)

📖 Man and Nature, George Perkins Marsh


— Ernst Haeckel coins "ecology"


⫸ French-UK Convention to conserve oysters by prohibiting fishing outside certain dates (signed)


⫸ French-UK Convention to conserve oysters by prohibiting fishing outside certain dates (enters into force)  

⫸ Convention Establishing Uniform Regulations Concerning Fishing in the Rhine between Constance and Basle

— German foresters and farmers call for international bird protection


— Langford-Washburn Yellowstone expedition


— Hayden Yellowstone expedition


⫸ Yellowstone National Park

— Leipzig international meteorology conference


Nuttall Ornithological Club 🔗


— Edward Suess coins the term "biosphere" (Der Entstehung der Alpen)

— International Meteorological Congress in Vienna


— 18 white-tailed deer translocated from NY to VT


"Overfishing Convention" for North Sea


✍ U.S.-UK "Modus Vivendi" agreement relating to Bering Sea Fur Seal Fisheries


✍ Pacific Fur Seal Arbitration Treaty


✍ Pacific Fur SealArbitration Decision


Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS)


— Friends of Nature Movement (est. Vienna: now Friends of Nature International)

⫸ New York Zoological Society (now WCS)


✍ London Convention for the Protection of Wild Animals, Birds and Fish in Africa

✍ Convention between the Riverine States of the Rhine Respecting Regulations Governing the Transport of Corrosive and Poisonous Substances


✍ European Convention Concerning the Conservation of Birds Useful to Agriculture

✍ Danube convention on fisheries conservation

— International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (est.)


⫸ Society for the Protection of Wild Fauna of the Empire (est., UK)


— International Congress for the Portection of Nature


✍ Convention for the Preservation and Protection of Fur Seals


📖 The Fitness of the Environment: Life as an improbable and unexplained phenomenon, Lawrence J Henderson

⫸ Consultative Committee for the International Protection of Nature


— Grey Seals (Protection) Act (UK)


Canadian-American Treaty for the Protection of Migratory Birds


⫸ International Labor Organization


— US Senate resolution on conservation


⫸ International Committee (Council) for Bird Protection (Preservation)


— International Congress on the Protection of Flora, Fauna, and Natural Sites and Monuments

Convention for Preservation of Halibut Fishery of North Pacific Ocean


— BI Vernadsky, Biosfera Scientific examination of "biosphere" Noosphere defined as transformation of the biosphere by humanity


— International Congress for the Study and Protection of Birds


— Second International Congress for the Protection of Nature; Convention for Regulation of Whaling

— Trail Smelter case: IJC awarded US damages in  (agricultural damage in Washington state from SO2 emissions from Cominco


— ESA Committee for the Study of Plant and Animal Communities report advocated a comprehensive U.S. nature sanctuary system

— Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park established


✍ London Convention Relative to the Preservation of Flora and Fauna in Their Natural State


— USA: Migratory Bird Hunding Stamp Act ("Duck Stamp Act")


— Wright, George and Ben Thompson. 1935. Fauna of the National Parks of the U.S.

— Trail smelter case: US/Canada Convention submitting to arbitration

— Paul Sears publishes Deserts on the March


✍ U.S.-Mexico Treaty for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Game Mammals


✍ International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW)


Biopolitics, Morley Roberts

Le PhÈnomËne Humain, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


— G.V. Jacks & R.O. Whyte publish Vanishing Lands


— Washington Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere


— Washington Convention enters into force


— Ed Graham publishes Natural Principles of Land Use


— International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank)

— International Monetary Fund

— Food and Agriculture Organization


— UN International Law Commission;  UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

— International Convention for the Regulation of  Whaling

— June 30-July 7, Basel, Switzerland International Conference for the Protection of Nature


— ECOSOC resolution convening 1949 UNCCUR

— International Conference for the Protection of Nature (June 28-July 3, Brunnen, Switzerland)

— IUPN is informally established

— William Vogt, Road to Survival


— Inter-American Conference on Conservation of Renewable Natural Resources (Denver) convened to implement WHC

— ICRW enters into force

— Conference for the Establishment of the International Union for the Protection of Nature (9/30-10/7, Fontainebleau, France)

⫸ International Union for the Protection of Nature (October 5)

— IUPN's 1st General Assembly (October 5-7)

⫸ IUPN Commission on Education (renamed Commission on Education and Communication in 1990)

⫸ IUPN Commission on Nomenclature (subsumed in 1970's by Commission on National Parks and Protected Ares)

⫸ International Maritime Organization


— Council of Europe

— UN Scientific Conference on the Conservation and Utilisation of Resources (UNSCCUR)

✍ Tropical Tuna Convention

— 1st International Technical Conference on the Protection of Nature (10/22-29, Lake Success, USA)


— International Convention for the Protection of Birds;

— October 18-23: IUPN 2nd General Assembly, Brussels, Belgium (Survival Service Committee established)

— Ecological Society of America attempted to implement 1932 nature sanctuary system


📖 The Position of Nature Protection in the World, IUPN

⫸ IUPN Commission on Public Information (dissolves in 1958)


📖 First IUPN Bulletin published (January)

— 3rd IUCN General Assembly (September 3-9, Caracas, Venezuela)

✍ North Pacific Fisheries Convention


— 3rd International Conference for the Protection of Fauna and Flora of Africa (October 26-31, Bukavu, Zaire)

— Fundamentals of Ecology, Eugene Odum


— 4th IUCN General Assembly (August 25-September 3, Copenhagen, Denmark); IUCN Commission on Ecology (becomes Commission on Ecosystem Management in 1996)

— IMO Oil Pollution Convention


— IUPN's first logo selected (known as the "flaming artichoke”)

— IUPN's first field mission: information is gathered about the status of various threatened mammalian species of the Middle East and South Asia (January), undertaken by Lee Talbot, author of the resulting 'A Look at Threatened Species' report

— IUPN and the International Office for the Protection of Nature (IOPN) merge.

— IUPN acquires IOPN's "van Tienhoven Library"

— International Air Pollution Congress, NYC

— Harlod Blum, Time's Arrow and Evolution


— June 20-28, Edinburgh, Scotland. 5th General Assembly.

— IUPN becomes IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

— Survival Service Committee becomes an approved commission. (renamed Species Survival Commission1981)

International Youth Federation for Environmental Studies and Conservation (August 4, Salzburg, Austria, IUCN-sponsored)

📖 Man's role in changing the face of the earth


— International Geophysical Year (July-July '58)

⫸ International Atomic Energy Agency

✍ Interim Convention on Conservation of North Pacific Fur Seals

⫸ Scientific Council on Oceanic Resources


— September 11-19. Athens, Greece. 6th General Assembly. Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas is established (renamed World Commission on Protected Areas in 1996).

— Survival Service Commission publishes first list of 26 endangered mammalian species

— Scientific Council on Antarctic Research

— Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources of the High Seas


📖 Environmental Conservation, Raymond Dasmann

⫸ Charles Darwin Foundation (Brussels) for Galapagos Islands under the joint auspices of IUCN and UNESCO.

✍ Antartic Treaty: Antarctica established as the world's first international scientific reserve


— Philip Wagner, The Human Use of the Earth (states that there are environental limits)

— Swedish scientists link transport of sulfur with lake acidification (1950-60)

— Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy


⫸ UNESCO Division for Natural Resources

⫸ World Food Program


— International Clean Air Congress, London

— UNGA Resolution 1721 (XVI): International co-operation in the peaceful uses of outer space


— UNGA Resolution on relationship between economic development and environmental protection

— Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

— IMO Oil Pollution Convention amended


— GE sells first US reactor to Jersey Central Power and Light

— IUCN General Assembly (Nairobi)

— Organization for African Unity

— Raymond Dasmann publishes The Last Horizon


— US Northeast Blackout

— UN Development Program established

— UNESCO Natural Resources Research Committee adopts world conference on environment

— UNESCO Natural Resources Research Committee

— ICC releases Environmental Guidelines


— ECOSOC invites UNESCO & FAO to prepare report on "Conservatioonservation and Rational Use of the Environment”

— International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna


— Swedish scientist Svante Oden publishes article which prompts Swedish govt to limit sulfur content of fuel oil in


— UN Industrial Development Organization

— Torrey Canyon oil spill affects UK and France


— Swedish Ambassador to UN Astrom proposes Stockholm Conference to ECOSOC (July)

— Intergovernmental Conference of Experts on the Scientific Basis for Rational Use and Conservation of the Resources of the Biosphere; UNGA endorses Stockholm Conference Proposal (December)

— ECOSOC adopts RF Dasmann's report

— Hardin: Tragedy of the Commons

— African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources


⫸ UN Fund for Population Activities

⫸ Scientific Council on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE)

✍ IMO Convention Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties

✍ IMO International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage

✍ South East Atlantic Convention (fisheries)


📖 Future Shock, Alvin Toffler

— Congress bans supersonic transport issue (SSTs)


⫸ Man and the Biosphere Programme

✍ Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance


— UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) est.

— Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention) est.

— UN Environment Program est.

— Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter

— Oslo Convention for Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from ships and Aircraft

— OECD Recommendation on Guiding Principles Concerning International Economic Aspects of Environmental Policies

— Raymond Dasmann publishes Planet in Peril?

— Taghi Farvar& John Milton publish The Careless Technology


— Convention on the Trade of Endangered Species (CITES)

— Convention for Prevention of Pollution by Ships

— Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources in the Baltic Sea and the Belts

— Raymond Dasmann et al. publish Ecological Principles for Economic Development


— OECD issues several recommendations on the environment (including PPP)

— ∑ Recommendation of the Council on the Implementation of the Polluter-Pays Principle

— ∑ OECD Recommendation of the Council on Principles concerning Transfrontier Pollution

— Molina and Rowland, "Stratospheric sink for chlorofluoro-methanes: Chlorine atom catalized destruction of ozone" appears in Nature

— Paris convention for Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources

— Cocoyoc Declaration (UNEP/UNCTAD Symposium)


— World Heritage Convention entered into force

— UNEP Governi Council 3rd Session decided that ocean environment would be one of its concentration areas

— UNEP sponsored Mediteranean Action Plan (MAP)

— UNESCO/UNEP begin Program for Env Education

— CITES & Ramsar enter into force

— US-Mexico Joint Committee for the Conservation of Wild Flora and Fauna

— US (Russel Train) calls attention to CFC/ozone problem to the NATO Committee on the Challenge of  Modern Society

— Brezhnev Proposals at Helsinki CSCE conference

— IMO Convention Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties enters into force

— IMO International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage enters into force


— UNEP calls for meeting on protecting SOD

— NAS concludes CFC's affect SOD; calls for regulation

— Barcelona Framework Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution

— UNEP establishes International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals

— OECD Guidelines for MNEs

— OECD Recommendation of the Council on Equal Right of Access in Relation to Transfrontier Pollution (abrogated in 2017)


— UN Conference on Desertification; Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques

— UNEP experts meeting produces World Plan of Action on the Ozone Layer: recommends establishment of Coordinating Committee on the Ozone Layer (CCOL); adopted by UNEP Governing Council

— Ozone ammendment to US CAA

— UNEP Environment Coordination Board terminated

— OECD Recommendation of the Council for the Implementation of a Regime of Equal Right of Access and Non- Discrimination in Relation to Transfrontier Pollution


— Amoco Cadiz oil spill

— UNEP Principles on Conservation and Harmonious Utilization of Natural Resources Shared by Two or More States

— International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund

— US bans nonessential uses of CFC aerosols;  International conference (Germany) on SOD

— UNESCO report on "indicators of the quality of life and environmental quality”

— MARPOL Protocol

— Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage enters into force


— James Lovelock: Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth

— Geneva Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) signed

— First World Climate Conference (Geneva) warns of climate change

— World Climate Programme established

— Berne Convention on the Conservation of Wildlife and Natural Habitats;  Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals


— UNEP GC calls for reduction in use and capacity of CFCs 11+12

— UN Decade on Drinking Water Supply (1980s)

— World Conservation Strategy; Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)


— UNEP GC extablishes Working Group to elaborate convention for protection from SOD

— UNEP Env Law Experts Meeting (Uruguay) include SOD among top priorities (adopted by UNEP GC in 1982)


— Working Group begins negotiations in Stockholm

— NAS/NRC report on C+E of SOD

1968-1982: Stalemate in European talks

— German policy makes a reversal based on Waldsterben research by Ulrich Join Scandinavians in seeking Sox reductions

— EC Directive on Large Combustion Plants seeks low-sulfur power stations in long term

— CCAMLR entered into force; IWC votes in favour of a moratorium on commercial whaling to be phased in by 1986;  Berne Convention entered into force; UNGA World Charter for Nature

— UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Section XII concerns the environment)

Nauru Agreement


— Bonn Convention entered into force; International Tropical Timber Organization; International Tropical Timber Association

— Working Groups advance cooperative science EMEP grows to sophisticated monitoring network and center of understanding

— LRTAP Convention enters into force


— LRTAP: Protocol on Long-term Financing of the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range

    Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP)

— NAS/NRC report on SOD


— Helsinki protocol to LRTAP

— Cairo Guidelines and Principles for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous Wastes

— Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer Calls for 1987 protocol

— British Antartica Survey publishes data (collected since 1960s) on AOH

— Reagan submits ViennaConvention to Senate for ratification


— UNEP and WMO release 1st comprehensive international scientific assessment on ozone depletion

— US Senate ratifies Vienna Convention

— Various activities under US government/international agencies International negotiations/consultations continue

— NASA releases Atmospheric Ozone 1985

— Chernobyl nuclear accident

— Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident


— World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (Brundtland report)

— UNEP Governing Council establishes working group of experts to study “umbrella convention” for biodiversity conservation


— Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change established by WMO & UNEP

— G-7 Venice Summit states responsibility for environmental problems, with SOD leading the list

— Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer signed

    1988 Canada/US/Mexico Tripartite Agreement on the Conservation of Wetlands and their Migratory Birds

— IUCN adopts "World Conservation Union" as a working name; (MAB) Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves; Tropical Forestry Action

    Plan (FAO, UNDP, WB, IUCN, WRI)

— Regional Seas Programme changes name to "Oceans and Coastal Areas" (OCA)

— Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities (CRAMRA)

— NGOs motivate the 30% Club of 12 states

— Cairo Guidelines and Principles for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous Wastes


— Declaration of Brazilia (Latin American and Caribbean states reaffirming sovereignty over resources, but willingness to cooperate on environmental issues)

— 8 Amazon states support (1) Amazonian Special Environmental Commission and (2) Special Commission on Indigenous Affairs

— Exxon Valdez oil spill

— G-7 Green Summit

— Sophia Protocol on NOx

— UK reverse position on acid rain and other environmental issues, partly in response to evidence on acidification in Wales

— Toronto World Conference on the Changing Atmosphere calls for a World Atmosphere Fund & a 20% CO2 reduction target by 2005

— UNGA Res 45/53: Protection of Global Climate for Present and Future Generations of Mankind

— NASA Ozone Trends Panel reported a decline in stratospheric ozone between 1970-86 that was 2-3 times more thatn had been predicted in models used for the Montreal Protocols

— DuPont announces termination of its $600 million CFC business by shortly after 2000

— UNEP Hague Ozone Science Meeting

— Rainforest Alliance establishes Smartwood Program

— Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal


— Business Council for Sustainable Development

— Ministerial Conference on Atmospheric Pollution and Climate Change (Netherlands) issues Noordwijk Declaration calling for

    stabilization by 2000

— Helsinki Declaration: total phaseout of CFCs by 2000

— IPCC's First Assessment Report affirms that global warming is a serious threat


✍︎ Protocol the the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection

— First UN Security Council environmental resolution (holding Iraq liable for damages)

— Global Environment Facility (reestablished 1994)

— Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) calls for stabilization as a first step

— Bush Policy: Sununu argues that action unwarranted in light of uncertainty about effect and costs

— London meeting: Full phaseout in industrial countries of both CFCs and halons by 2000 New restrictions on methyl chloroform

    & carbon tetrachloride (Lindar Ammendments to Montreal Protocol)

— Formal negotiations for a climate convention begin under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a

    Framework Convention on Climate Change

— Negotiations on the Convention on Biological Diversity commence

— Caring for the Earth Strategy for Sustainable Living

— Business Charter on Sustainable Development (ICC)

— Valdez Principles

— Declaration of World Industry Conference on Environmental Management (WICEM II)


— UNGA Res 47/191: Commission on Sustainable Development

— OECD Environment Policy Committee (Replaced 1972 OECD Environment Committee)

— Declaration of the UN Conference on Environment and Development

— First negotiating meeting on Framework convention in Washington

— NASA reports that depletion was proceeding twice as fast as expected over parts of the northern hemishphere

— UN Conerence on Environment and Development (UNCED, aka, the "Earth Summit")

— UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed

— 153 countries sign Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

— Agenda 21

— Statement of Forest Principals

— Rio Declaration


— Commission on Sustainable Development established

— Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on the Convention to Combat Desertification

— International Court of Justice establishes 7 member chamber for environmental matters

— Forest Stewardship Council (est.)

— Convention on Civil Liability for Damage Resulting from Activities Dangerous to the Environment

— Agreement to Promote Compliance with Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas

— CBD enters into force


— UNFCCC enters into force

— NASA reports higher chlorine levels over New England than any previously seen over Antarctica

— Copenhagen meeting: Industrial countries advanced phaseout date of halons to 1994 and CFCs

— VOC Protocol

— Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and Lakes

— Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage

— Convention on the Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, with


— Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context

— UN Security Council resolution 687 (Iraq: determining that a state can be liable for env damage and depletion of natural

    resources resulting from unlawful use of force)

— Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import Into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of

    Hazardous Wastes Within Africa

— UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents

— Basel Convention enters into force

— Convention to Combat Desertification

— UNCLOS entered into force

— Instrument Establishing the Global Environmental Facility

— International Tropical Timber Agreement

— Protocol on Further Reduction of Sulphur Emissions (replaces 1985 instrument)

— ILC Draft Articles on the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses

— Convention on Nuclear Safety

— Most industrial states (excluding US) agreed to ban export of hazardous wastes to poor states


— First UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) convenes in Berlin; agrees to negotiate quantitative limits by the end of 1997

— IPCC's Second Assessment Report affirms the human influence on climate change.

— Nobel Prize awarded to Rowland, Molina, and Paul Crutzen

— Vienna Meeting: increased restrictions on methyl bromide and HCFCsMontreal Protocol calls for developed countries to end of production of CFCs (except for "essential uses”)

— World Trade Organization established

— Working Group on Biosafety established to negotiate a protocol under CBD



— Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses

— Kyoto Protocol is adopted in Japan, requiring industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.




✍  Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity


— IPCC's Third Assessment Report concludes that temperature increases over the twenty-first century could be significantly larger than previously thought and that the evidence for human influence on climate change is stronger than ever.




— Cartagena Protocol enters into force


— CBD Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing established

—Adoption  of the Akwé: Kon Guidelines for cultural, environmental, and social impact assessments

— Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for sustainable use


— Kyoto Protocol enters into force

— Ad Hoc Group on Liability and Redress holds first meeting



— IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report

— Bali Action Plan is adopted, including negotiating tracks to be pursued under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (convention track) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties Under the Protocol (protocol track).



Copenhagen Accord under UNFCCC


— UNFCCC COP establishes the Green Climate Fund

— Strategic Plan 2011–2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted under CBD

—  Nagoya–Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety adopted

— Nagoya Protocol Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization adopted


— Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) is established by the UNFCCC COP to develop a protocol, another legal instrument, or an agreed-upon outcome with legal force under the convention applicable to all parties.



— Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol is adopted, setting up a second commitment period from 2013 to 2020.

10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) üîó" 1F517




— Lima Call for Climate Action

— Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (1997) enters into force

— Nagoya Protocol enters into force


— Paris Agreement negotiated


— Paris Agreement signed







— International negotiations commence on an international convention on plastics

✍ Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) adopted




Code key:

⫸ Institutional establishment

—  Generic

Summit or conference

✍︎  International agreement

📖 Key publication

🔗 Weblink

Please note...

Once upon a time, this was very much a work in progress. Hopefully, it will be again soon, but for the past ~20 years this timeline has not been actively updated. Please note that a lot has happened in the last couple decades, so don't believe everything you don't read.

Environmental timeline