Virtual Library

This WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources is an Internet directory of over 2000 annotated links to high-quality English-language sources of information and analysis in many international and global studies topics. Sites are carefully selected for their long-term value, favoring those with cost-free, authoritative information and analysis online.



Directories, Databanks, and Portals about the Global Environment

Climate Change Portal-- "Web interface developed by the NOAA/ESRL Physical Sciences Division to access and display the immense volumes of climate and earth system model output that informed the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)."  Both ocean and land data are available for display.

Climate Change Search Facility-- From Eldis, a world-class UK directory and gateway to electronic information resources on development, to search thousands of high quality online publications concerning global, regional, and country climate change issues. Additional related topics to search are found under the "Topics" dropdown menu at the top of this page.

ECOLEX: The Gateway to Environmental Law-- From the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Conservation Union, several large databases of national and international legal instruments and materials related to environmental management, searchable by subject area, keyword, country, or date.

Environmental Performance Index-- Biennial index presents interactive results of collaboration between Yale and Columbia Universities to rank countries on environmental performance indicators across policy categories covering "both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality." Results are shown in interactive maps, country rankings, country profiles, and case studies. Also posts news and blogs.

Freshwater Ecoregions of the World-- "Global biogeographic regionalization of the Earth's freshwater biodiversity... covering virtually all freshwater habitats on Earth, [an] ecoregion map, together with associated species data." From the Nature Conservancy.

Other Sources about the Global Environment

Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities-- Official governmental source of information on the environment in Australia.

Center for International Earth Science Information Network-- Excellent site from Columbia University's Earth Institute, to further the interdisciplinary study of global environmental change. See especially their very useful Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center, with datasets, interactive maps, and links designed to integrate social and natural science data for better decision making on environmental issues.

Commission for Environmental Cooperation-- Created under the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation, under NAFTA, to address environmental and related trade issues in North America.

Convention on Biological Diversity-- Website of the Convention on Biological Diversity, with news, fact sheets, country profiles, and many reports on the Convention and related topics. See especially their flagship publication "Global Biodiversity Outlook."

Environmental News Network--
"A collection of resources, teachers, experts and tools that provide objective information and knowledge about the increasingly complex field of environmental science." Posts news, features, newsletter, and special reports.

European Environmental Agency-- News, publications, datasets, multimedia, and maps from this European Union organization. Also check out the European Environment Information and Observation Network.

Forestry Site of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations-- Detailed databased information on the world's forests, including in country profiles. Note the State of the World's Forests and the Global Forests Resources Assessments sections.

Global Footprint Network-- "International think tank working to advance sustainability through use of the Ecological Footprint, a resource accounting tool that measures how much nature we have, how much we use and who uses what." The site develops, applies, and allows users to apply the concept of the Ecological Footprint to "bring about new solutions and spark a global dialogue about ecological limits and overshoot."

Greenpeace International-- This famous environmentalist group offers information on many topics, emphasizing climate, oceans, forests, agriculture, toxic pollution, and nuclear matters.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change-- IGO established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme "to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation." Posts reports, press releases, official documents, and graphic presentations on the topic. Note the IPCC's follow-up report on "assessment of the current scientific knowledge on mitigating climate change," with video, Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change.

International Institute for Sustainable Development-- IISD's mission is to promote sustainable development in decision making, internationally and within Canada, for audiences and clients including businesses, governments, communities, and concerned individuals. Publications are available in the Library.

International Water Management Institute-- International research center supported by the network of 60 governments, private foundations and international and regional organizations, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, with the mission of improving the "management of land and water resources for food, livelihoods and nature," especially in developing countries. Posts a wide variety of publications, analytical tools, and databases.

Mongabay-- NGO that "seeks to raise interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife, while examining the impact of emerging trends in climate, technology, economics,and finance on conservation and development." Posts useful news and analysis of regional and global trends and issues in environmental science and conservation.

National Centers for Environmental Information-- From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, "responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation's treasure of climate and historical weather data and information." Posts global environmental, climatic, weather, and oceanographic information. Note especially the worldwide Climate Monitoring center and NOAA's National Oceanographic Data Center.

State of the World's Rivers-- "Interactive web database that illustrates data on ecological health in the world’s 50 major river basins," as measured by 14 indicators, from the International Rivers NGO.

UN-Water-- Official United Nations site that posts much information on and analysis of "all aspects of  freshwater, including surface and groundwater resources and the interface between fresh and sea water. It includes freshwater resources, both in terms of their quality and quantity, their development, assessment, management, monitoring and use (including, for example, domestic uses, agriculture and ecosystems requirements)."

UNESCO Water Security Portal-- "Intended to enhance access to information related to freshwater available on the World Wide Web. The site provides links to the current UNESCO and UNESCO-led programmes on freshwater and will serve as an interactive point for sharing, browsing and searching websites of water-related organizations, government bodies and NGOs, including a range of categories such as water links, water events, learning modules and other on-line resources." Note as well UNESCO's World Water Assessment Program.

United Nations Atlas of the Oceans-- "An Internet portal providing information relevant to the sustainable development of the oceans. It is designed for policy-makers who need to become familiar with ocean issues and for scientists, students and resource managers who need access to databases and approaches to sustainability." Free registration required.

United Nations Environment--  To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. Be sure to consult the major UNEP year book "Global Environment Outlook." You may find the UNEP Library, the UNEP Knowledge Repository, and the Resources and Data sections to be helpful. For more data, maps, and country reports, also try the United Nations Environment Programme partners at GRID-Arendal. Note the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the world biodiversity information and assessment center of the UNEP.

World Bank Environment Site-- Outlines World Bank projects related to the environment and provides plentiful data and analysis of environmental conditions and issues around the world.

World Resources Institute-- A policy research center striving to address how societies can meet basic human needs and promote economic growth without undermining natural resources and environmental integrity. This site posts a large number of full-text studies, an annual report, maps, data, videos, and other resources.

World Water Council-- Based in Marseille, this "international water policy think tank dedicated to strengthening the world water movement for an improved management of the world's water resources" posts news and analysis about world water issues and about conferences on the topic.

World Wildlife Fund-- World's largest independent conservation organization. Note the Publication and Resources page and especially the Living Planet Report, a quantitative picture of the world's natural environment and the human pressures upon it, through the Living Planet Index, to measure the change in the health of the world's natural ecosystems since 1970.

Yale Environment 360-- "Online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues [with] original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news," from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

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This section of the WWW Virtual Library system was created, and is edited and maintained, by Dr. Wayne A.Selcher, Professor of International Studies Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2288  U.S.A., as a volunteer and non-profit public service. This website copyright 1997-present by Wayne A. Selcher. E-mail: