Treaty vs Convention
Treaty is a term that refers to pacts or agreements between countries or nation states of the world on different issues. The history of treaties is as old as human civilization as kingdoms and empires fought with each other on petty issues and often signed pacts with each other that have served as the basis of modern treaties between governments. With the establishment of United Nations, treaties between countries have been sought to be regulated by international laws. There is another word called convention that is very confusing for people as it has similar meanings. If one looks up into a dictionary, he finds that the two words are used as synonyms. However, upon closer look, it becomes clear that there are differences between treaty and convention and the two are governed by different rules.
Treaty is any written agreement signed by a few countries or international organizations. Signatories to treaties accept to follow certain rules and obligations and also agree to take liabilities for any failure on their part. After the establishment of UN, countries enter into treaties that are ratified by the United Nations as this international body has been given this special power by the member countries of the world. All modern treaties, especially those entered upon by member countries after 1969 are governed by international rules as per Vienna Convention on the Laws of Treaties (VCLT). This convention forms the backbone of all international treaties since then as it has been ratified by 111 member states of the world. In fact, VCLT is referred to as the Treaty of Treaties worldwide. Treaties between countries are an attempt to end conflict or disagreement between them by reaching a common ground. There is no effect on an international treaty if there is a change in government in the country that is a part of the treaty as the provisions of the treaty have to be followed by the new government irrespective of its policies.
A convention is a special type of treaty or agreement between many countries. Many countries of the world begin discussions on a global issue and reach a consensus regarding procedures and actions they all agree to follow. For example, there have been many conventions under the aegis of United Nations since its inception such as Vienna Convention, convention on wetlands, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and so on.
What is the difference between Treaty and Convention?
• A convention is a special type of international treaty.
• A treaty comes into force as an attempt to end conflict or disagreement between a few countries whereas a convention is an attempt by many countries to discuss global issues and reach and agreement to be followed by signatories.
• Convention is a process that begins with deliberations and ends in an agreement that is drafted and ratified by member countries. On the other hand, a treaty is signed straight away by the members.