Treaty and convention are two words that looks to have same meaning.
Too often I hear the question about difference between these two terms . And each time I read or hear an answer to this question, it becomes even more confusing.
Do you feel the same way about these terms ? So lets simplify these terms once for all.
What is a treaty ?
We will come to the difference part. But first let us understand what exactly a treaty is. And what more better way to understand this than with a story.
The story is about “peace process”.
Let us say there are 2 friends. Off late, they fight a lot with each other. But now they want to have a peaceful environment. So they made a set of rules for each one to follow. Both of them signed these rules and agreed to follow this in the future.
You know what ? They have just signed a treaty.
Since this treaty is about having peace and harmony, it may be called “Peace treaty” between two friends. And since it involves two parties, it will be called “Bilateral treaty”.
Now you can co-relate this to the real treaties.
For example, Indus water treaty is a bi-party treaty between India and Pakistan for distribution of water from rivers flowing from India to Pakistan.
Same way, Cuban-American treaty is the bi-party treaty between Cuba and United states of America for the betterment of relations between these two countries.
When does a treaty come in force ?
Usually a treaty will enter into force when all the parties have signed the treaty. A Bilateral treaty will enter in force when both the parties have agreed to the conditions set in he treaty.
What is a Convention ?
Now that we know about treaties, let us move to what a convention is.
Let us take a similar story in different situation. There are 10 friends who nowadays are fighting with each other. Because of this the peaceful environment of the town is in question.
The head of the town drafts a policy for conduct of people in the town. This policy will be a convention. Let’s call it “Peace convention”.
A Convention has Articles, annexes and regulations.
In our story, before this convention is brought up, head of the town (in discussion with the head of families) may decide upon various rules about how to go about in bringing this convention. Rules such as
- How many families need to accept the convention for it to come in force ?
- Who among the family members can give their vote
- How a family can cast its vote. That is by verbal, written, typed. And by which method, That is by email, fax, hand delivered etc
These set of rules forms “Articles of the convention”.
The details of the convention is drawn up into annexes and each annex will have many regulations.
How a convention enters into force ?
As I said, a convention has articles and Annexes. It can have different structure but at least the IMO conventions are structured this way.
One of the Article of the convention will have the details of how the convention will come in force.
For example, Article 18 of the Ballast water convention states that for this convention to enter into force, At least 30 states with combined gross tonnage of 35 percentage need to ratify the convention.
Difference between Treaty and Convention
Now you see, both of these examples are for a peace process. One is “peace treaty” and second one is “peace convention”.
As you might have already noted, there are few differences. That is exactly what differentiates a treaty and a convention. Let us discuss the differences.
Number of Parties involved
The treaty is between a limited number of parties. Mostly two (Bi-party treaty), sometime three (tri-party treaty) and rarely more than that.
But convention is usually for larger number of parties. For example SOLAS convention has been ratified and adopted by 172 countries.
Drafted and executed by
A treaty is drafted and signed by the parties involved. For example if two countries are at war, they may sign a “peace treaty” to end the war. This treaty may cover the rule of conduct of each nation to avoid such wars in the future.
In this treaty only two countries are involved and no one else. The process may proceed under some international body but it is the parties involved that decides and agree on the structure of the treaty.
But the convention is drafted and executed under an international body such as United Nations for the issues that affects multiple countries (or parties) .
Extent of coverage
Treaty is drafted, agreed and signed to solve a local issue. For example,
- A issue of tensed environment between two countries
- Issue of flow of river water between two countries
whereas a convention is drafted, agreed and signed to solve a issue that affects larger section of the world.
So much in common
Having said all that, you would have noticed that there are so many similarities between a treaty and a convention.
For example, look at the two stories of friends, one of which led to a treaty and other to a convention.
At the end, both are a kind of “peace process agreements”.
This is the reason that the word “treaty” and “convention” are many times used interchangeably.
Treaties and conventions in Maritime context
Shipping and maritime industry is international in nature. All the rules and regulations in maritime context affects almost all countries.
Rules and regulations for the international shipping are governed by IMO which is a body of united nations.
As we can understand by now that all the rules drafted by IMO would fall under the category of “Convention” and not “treaty”.
So we can say that IMO drafts conventions for the world shipping to adopt and follow.
Few of these conventions that we all know are
- SOLAS convention (For safety of life at sea)
- MARPOL convention (For pollution prevention at sea)
- CLC convention (For civil liability during oil pollutions)
- FUND convention (Supplementary fund for oil pollution incidents)
- SUA convention (Suppression of unlawful acts)
- Load line convention (For ship’s load line)
All these conventions were drafted, approved and were brought in force to solve a larger issue that affects the world’s shipping.
Treaty and convention are confusing. In maritime context, we have conventions as these are executed by an international body and these aims for the world shipping at large.
Though all these conventions are sometimes referred as “International treaties” but so far we know what each one of these mean, it is OK to use these interchangeably.
About Capt Rajeev Jassal
Capt. Rajeev Jassal has sailed for over 24 years mainly on crude oil, product and chemical tankers. He holds MBA in shipping & Logistics degree from London. He has done extensive research on quantitatively measuring Safety culture onboard and safety climate ashore which he believes is the most important element for safer shipping.
Dear Sir,Thanks a lots for giving excellent knowledge.
Thank you Raman..
excellent sir for every topic there are very good examples which clears our doubt easily keep posting topics with these nice examples Appreciate your hard work for letting us to know these useful information
sir please do explain clc ,fund ,sua, and fal convention
I have already written on CLC convention and Fund Convention. I will write on SUA and FAL Convention.
Sir Perfectly explained it helps much more than expected
Excellent explaination sir...easy to understand and remember...
Glad you found it useful Pravin...
Sir i need to understand Hague Visby and Hamburg rules in better way....request your assistance...Thanks in advance.
I have written a blog on Hague-Visby rules...If you have any specific question on this, do not hesitate to ask.
well explained once again sir. Sir could you give some examples of treaties with regard to shipping, signed between different countries
Sir please write an article about SUA convention.
wooh what an interesting presentation
excellent way of presenting the matters with easly undersatnable examples, really appreciate you.
Thanks alot sir...
Really well explained n to the point. Kindly captain I am a graduate in shipping and maritime. How can I proceed for masters online or distance e learning. Kindly assist??
Thanks for your good clarification regarding treaty and convention among countries. If you don't mind,you can share your articles through my email,I will be happy.
My ex-husband and I had always managed to stay friendly after our divorce in February 2017. But I always wanted to get back together with him, All it took was a visit to this spell casters website last December, because my dream was to start a new year with my husband, and live happily with him.. This spell caster requested a specific love spell for me and my husband, and I accepted it. And this powerful spell caster began to work his magic. And 48 hours after this spell caster worked for me, my husband called me back for us to be together again, and he was remorseful for all his wrong deeds. My spell is working because guess what: My “husband” is back and we are making preparations on how to go to court and withdraw our divorce papers ASAP. This is nothing short of a miracle. Thank you Dr Emu for your powerful spells. Words are not enough. Email email@example.com Phone/WhatsApp +2347012841542.
great explanation thank you
I want to genuinely thank Dr Ayoola for making my dream come through. I was on the internet when I saw people posting and talking about Dr Ayoola. On How he has help them in winning lottery. My name is Gerald Muswagon this is my story on how I win $10 million After reading the article about Dr Ayoola I contacted him I told him to help me win lottery he respond to me by saying he will help me after working with him he assured me that I will win. Which I believe. After working with Dr Ayoola he gave me a number and ask me to go and play it which I did today I’m here shearing a testimony about this same man Dr Ayoola help me to win $10 million dollars all thanks to you Dr I will keep taking about your good because you are a man of your word I hope people that really need this will come across it for you to help them as well. If you want to win big in lottery contact Dr Ayoola today and be rest assured of winning contact him via email drayoolasolutionhome@gmail. com or https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Ayoola-105640401516053/ text or call +14809032128
Hello everyone out here!! My Fiancée Lesbian who left me is back, I want to share my testimony it's my happiness with you all in this site, last year my Lesbian Wife left me for another woman, she abandon me alone and I miss her, since everything was so hard for me because i really love her so much, i didn’t lose hope i try my best to get her back when i was searching online and read testimonies of Dr Kachi how he has been helping ladies in getting there Ex lover back, I had no option than to seek for help, i contacted Dr Kachi explain my problem to him, Dr Kachi Guarantee me not to worry that's going to help me cast a return love spell for me, that will bring my Lesbian Wife back and assure me within 2days, it was just like a magic my wife who left me surely return back, i couldn't believe when she live the other lady and she come back to me with so much love and caring will are together now, I will never forget this help that Dr Kachi did for me, a love spell that brought my wife back. If you are here and you need help to get your Ex Lesbian back do contact Dr Kachi through this email: firstname.lastname@example.org I'm proud to be on his testimony page. His Number Text and Call +1 (209) 893-8075 Visit his Website: https://drkachispellcaster.wixsite.com/my-site
My name is Matt. I'm here to say a very big thanks to Priest Salami and his great Oracle for saving my marriage. No one would have believe that I and my wife will ever come back together again as lovers. But this great spell caster reunited us in just 48hours. Priest Salami is truly a real and honest online spell caster. Contact him now on: email@example.com. Whatsapp number: +2348143757229
Hello my name is Vivian Marcus from the United State, i'm so exciting writing this article to let people seek for help in any Break up Marriage and Relationship, Dr Kachi brought my Ex Boyfriend back to me, Thank you Sir Kachi for helped so many Relationship situation like mine to be restored, i was in pain until the day my aunt introduce me to Dr Kachi that she got her husband back with powerful love spell with help of Dr Kachi So i sent him an email telling him about my problem how my Boyfriend left me and cheating on me because of her boss lady at work i cry all day and night, but Dr Kachi told me my Boyfriend shall return back to me within 24hrs and to me everything he asked me to do the next day it was all like a dream when he text me and said please forgive me and accept me back exactly what i wanted, i am so happy now as we are back together again. because I never thought my Ex Boyfriend would be back to me so quickly with your spell. You are the best and the world greatest Dr Kachi. if you're having broke up Ex Lover or your husband left you and moved to another woman, You do want to get Pregnant do not feel sad anymore contact: firstname.lastname@example.org his Text Number Call: +1 (209) 893-8075 You can reach him Website: https://drkachispellcaster.wixsite.com/my-site
More things to do on myseatime
Learn the difficult concepts of sailing described in a easy and story-telling way. These detailed and well researched articles provides value reading for all ranks.
Seafarers Question Answers
Ask or answer a question on this forum. Knowledge dies if it remains in our head. Share your knowledge by writing answers to the question
This podcast on the maritime matters will provide value to the listeners. Short, crisp and full of value. Stay tuned for this section.
Excellent article captain sahab !
Glad you liked it Nitin..