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Research Guides

ES/POL 325: International Environmental Law: Get Started


polar bear
Polar bear by virtualwayfarer, flickr, used under Creative Commons license

Research Tips


  • Start early! Note any information you come across that applies to a later assignment. This will save you time!
  • Make sure you search your Treaty Secretariat's website thoroughly! Look for links to documents and official records of meetings.
  • Try different combinations of search terms, including synonyms and abbreviations or acronyms
  • Don't forget to look at a source's bibliography and read footnotes!
  • Use the advanced search option for a website, wherever available, for a more effective search.
  • Note the publication dates of resources. For negotiations, try a book published around the time the treaty was signed or went into effect. Try searching a newspaper around that date. For treaty results or compliance, try a later publication date.
  • Look for an IGO or NGO that works with the topic of your treaty. Search their website.
  • When searching for a law review, add the word "review" or "history" or "compliance" or "negotiations" to your search terms or in the "Focus" feature when you have your list of results.
  • Try searching in a database that covers the topic of your treaty. Use the Databases A-Z list for suggestions. 
  • Is the U.S. a party to this treaty? Try searching ProQuest Congressional for a hearing on the treaty.

Find Conventions, Treaties & Related Documents

  • International Environmental Agreements (IEA) Database Project - comprehensive database created by Ronald Mitchell, Dept of Political Science, University of Oregon. Note link to Agreements by Lineage and Secretariats.
  • ECOLEX - A gateway to environmental law. Search multilateral treaties by title keyword to find your treaty. Search the Law and Policy Literature section for references to monographs and articles around environmental conservation, then use SuperSearch to find the full text.
  • Environmental Treaty Texts from the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1989. Choose "Country Profiles" to see what treaties a specific country has signed.
  • FAOLEX from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Contains treaties, laws, and regulations on food, agriculture, and renewable natural resources worldwide.
  • Multilaterals Project from Tufts University. Text of environmental treaties organized by topic, by date, and searchable by keyword. Also links to a guide which explains how international treaties come to be. Note that this is an archived webpage, as the project is no longer active (1992-2009),

Key Resources

Start here to get a general overview of your topic, browse for topic ideas, discover key search terms, & find further readings.

Your Librarian

Daria Hafner's picture
Daria Hafner

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Clapp Library 218A

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