Signed copy of the Geneva Convention, a multilateral convention establishing the laws of humane war.

A multilateral convention, also sometimes called a multilateral treaty, is a convention entered into by at least three, but often more, sovereign nations. Each member of the convention makes the same promises to the others, and each has the same duties and obligations under the terms of the convention. Below are some of the multilateral conventions currently honored by the international community.

Treaties and Conventions Regarding Outer Space and Celestial Bodies

These treaties and conventions govern the way that nations around the world behave in outer space and on celestial bodies, and govern the use of celestial resources.

Conventions for the Protection of Biodiversity

International conventions on biodiversity commit the parties to the protection of Earth’s diversity of species.

  • The Convention Relative to the Preservation of Flora and Fauna in Their Natural State, entered into force in January 1936, was put in place to protect the native plants and animals of some regions, especially Africa, through nature preserves and national parks.
  • The Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere, entered into force in 1942, seeks to protect from extinction the native wildlife and plants of the Americas, and to safeguard areas of extreme natural beauty, historic significance, or scientific importance.
  • The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling of 1946 seeks to regulate the whaling industry in order to protect global whale populations.
  • The International Convention for the Protection of Birds was signed in Paris in 1950 and entered into force in 1963. It aims to protect all global species of wild birds.
  • The International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants was originally entered into in 1961; the convention was revised in 1978. It seeks not only to protect existing plant varieties, but to develop new ones that might benefit humanity.

Human Rights Conventions

International human rights conventions seek to defend the human rights of people around the world, by setting standards for humane treatment in peace and wartime.

Conventions Regarding International Diplomatic Relations

Diplomatic relations refer to the way countries interact with one another in matters of peace, war, culture, economics and trade, human rights, environmental protection and more. Conventions on diplomatic relations set standards for interactions between national governments.

Arms Control Treaties and Conventions

Conventions regarding arms control prevent the proliferation of dangerous biochemical or nuclear weapons, and can help stop weapons from reaching the hands of rogue governments and terrorist groups.

Economics and Trade Conventions

Economics and trade conventions protect the global economy by regulating international trade.

Global Warming and Environmental Conservation Treaties and Conventions

The international community recognizes the importance of environmental conservation, and makes an effort to protect the environment and slow climate change with these agreements.