What is the IEA Database Project?

The International Environmental Agreements (IEA) Database Project seeks to foster analysis of international environmental agreements (IEAs) by providing a "single source" repository for most information related to IEAs and the evaluation of their influence. Initiated in 2002, the Database seeks to provide negotiators, treaty secretariats, scholars, students, and interested citizens with a reliable list of all historic and current IEAs.  IEAs, as defined here, include efforts to regulate human interactions with the environment that involve legally binding commitments ("agreements") among governments ("international") that have environmental protection as a primary objective ("environmental") (see Definitions).

What's different? Hasn't this already been done?

This project improves upon other excellent projects that catalogue global environmental governance by:
  • Establishing a clear and explicit definition of an "international environmental agreement" -- the definitions used by other projects are often unclear or unstated; 
  • Identifying the population of instruments fitting that definition -- the agreements captured by other projects are often incomplete, unsystematic, or out of date;
  • Providing electronic texts of all MEAs -- this project has collected and, where necessary, digitized the texts of many obscure MEAs that are not readily available elsewhere in electronic format; 
  • Categorizing IEAs by "lineage" (see below) -- no other projects clarify the legal linkages among agreements;
  • Linking agreements to performance indicators -- no other projects link agreements to corresponding empirical evidence regarding behaviors and environmental quality that could be used to assess institutional influence;
  • Identifying a comprehensive list of environmental secretariat websites -- no other project identifies as many environmental secretariats.