Under international law, a treaty is a legally binding agreement between states (countries). A treaty can be called a convention, protocol, pact, agreement, etc. It is the content of the agreement, not its name, that makes it a treaty. Thus, the Geneva Protocol and the Biological Weapons Convention are the two treaties, although neither treaty in its name. Under U.S. law, a treaty is a legally binding agreement between countries that requires ratification and „consultation and approval“ of the Senate. All other agreements (internationally treated) are called executive agreements, but are nevertheless legally binding on the United States under international law. The contract database consolidates contract information filed with the FAO Director-General. Users have access to the full text of each contract in all official languages; information on the status of each contract (signing, entry into force, participation, declarations and reservations, withdrawals, amendments, etc.); and, for each country, the list of contracts it has complied with and the dates of its contractual measures. A treaty is negotiated by a group of countries, either through an organization created for this purpose or by an existing body such as the United Nations Council on Disarmament (UN). The negotiation process can take several years depending on the subject of the treaty and the number of participating countries.
At the end of the negotiations, the treaty will be signed by representatives of the governments concerned. Conditions may require that the treaty be ratified and signed before it becomes legally binding. A government ratifies a treaty by tabling a ratification instrument in a treaty-defined location; the ratification instrument is a document containing formal confirmation of the Government`s acceptance of the provisions of the treaty. The ratification process varies according to national laws and constitutions. In the United States, the president can only ratify a treaty after receiving the „consultation and approval“ of two-thirds of the Senate. In addition to treaties, there are other less formal international agreements. These include efforts such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the G7 Global Partnership Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Although the PSI has a „declaration of prohibition principles“ and the G7 Global Partnership includes several statements by G7 heads of state and government, it also does not have a legally binding document that sets specific obligations and is signed or ratified by member states.