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International Environmental laws

by Lara Vincent | 19-07-2018 21:59 recommendations 0

'International Environmental Law'

International environmental law highlights the policies and legal norms that attend to the transboundary, regional or global environmental problems (Brunnée & Streck, 2013). Significant challenges in international environment relate to sustainably developing areas while considering human impacts on the natural resources/environment.


But, environmental disputes create significant challenges for international law because there is no international court for the environment. Additionally, private actors rather than the state, have traditionally been the transgressors and so it?s the states duty to regulate and police these private actors under their jurisdictions (Brunnée & Streck, 2013). Scientific understanding of the environment is continuously changing meaning that the governments in different countries need to educate themselves and their citizens of the changing international rules and policies.


Cooperation between all countries is needed when policing international environmental issues. Action or inaction on these problems transcends jurisdictional boundaries causing problems for all. However, not all countries have the same equity and capacity to monitor and evaluate transgressions. This brings into account the inequalities between developed and developing nations.



Example of the environmental challenge relating to international environmental law.

One challenge I would like to bring up is the cross-boundary traffic in hazardous wastes. The tightening of specific laws, regulations and policies relating to the disposal of hazardous waste are extremely important to fight international transgressions. However, rising costs and a lack of capacity means that many countries struggle to conform to these rules for disposal of certain waste (Asante-Duah & Nagy, 2001). Many developed nations can use market opportunities to recover, reclaim or recycle waste to reduce the amount needed for disposal. Alternately, these countries use their financial positions to send their wastes to less developed nations at a cost.


But why do countries send their waste away?

Too strict environment laws in industrialised nations have created increased cost for waste disposal meaning that developed countries find it easier and cheaper to export their waste elsewhere (Asante-Duah & Nagy, 2001). Cash-poor countries will often be happy to accept this waste as it means more money for them despite not being able to control their own waste firstly and then the incoming waste.


But, the movement of waste to less developed countries can be problematic because they often lack environmentally sound facilities to treat, store and dispose their own waste let alone another country?s (Asante-Duah & Nagy, 2001). This begs the question as to whether more developed nations should be allowed to send their excess waste to poor countries without worrying about how the waste will be disposed. Rather, there needs to be an understanding from the International environmental laws about the costs of internal disposal versus the costs of sending waste elsewhere. There must be consequences for developed countries when sending waste to countries who cannot dispose of it adequately.


Asante-Duah, K., & Nagy, I. V. (2001). A paradigm of international environmental law: the case for controlling the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes. Environmental management27(6), 779-786.

Brunnée, J., & Streck, C. (2013). The UNFCCC as a negotiation forum: towards common but more differentiated responsibilities. Climate Policy13(5), 589-607.




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  • Dormant user Lara Vincent
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  • Joon Ho Mentor says :
    Hello Lara, it has been reported that developed countries do export hazardous wastes and relative, toxic materials to the countries where import those materials and dissolve them.
    Apart from its movement and validity of process for import and export, in the perspective of environmental justice, it is apparently 'unfair' trade to do so.
    Treating people especially the ones dissolving and recycling them must be take carefully.
    Thanks for your report!
    Posted 22-07-2018 23:59

  • Gyeongrin mentor says :
    Hello Lara
    'However, not all countries have the same equity and capacity to monitor and evaluate transgressions.' points out the problem that we are facing in international cooperation. The difference should be considered to reach better equity. Money issues sometimes cover-up the bigger image when actually more is behind the veil of finance.
    Thanks for the report :)
    Posted 20-07-2018 23:17

  • Rosa Domingos says :
    Hi Bharat!

    The way in which international environment law is set is executive rather than informative enough. I also think that it should be made aware to all stakeholders (this includes the very citizens of state) of the dynamics of IEL so that they know how to counteract problems arising due to environment harm.

    I do think that the developed and non-developed countries do to some extent know of the IELs but do very little to deal with the problems because of the money issue that comes with it. That's is what we need to address the most, the transparency and competency of leaders who make the decision to harm the environment.

    All in all, lovely report!
    Posted 20-07-2018 19:43

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