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International Environmental Law:

by Bharat Adhikari | 20-07-2018 03:42 recommendations 0


Growth of international environmental law as a separate area of public international law began in the 1970s with the Stockholm Conference on the Environment in 1972. Since then interest has steadily increased and it is one of the fastest growing areas of international law. Current issues of international concern covered by environmental law include ozone layer depletion and global warming, desertification, destruction of tropical rain forests, marine plastics pollution from ships, international trade in endangered species (i.e. ivory trade), shipment of hazardous wastes to Third World countries, deforestation of Brazil and the Philippines, protection of wetlands, oil spills, transboundary nuclear air pollution (i.e. Chernobyl), dumping of hazardous wastes, groundwater depletion, international trade in pesticides, and acid rain. Environmental law is also cutting across other areas of international law, such as commercial/business law, trade, and human rights.


What is International Environmental Law?

International Environmental Law (IEL) is concerned with the attempt to control pollution and the depletion of natural resources within a framework of sustainable development. It is a branch of public international law - a body of law created by states for states to govern problems that arise between states.


IEL covers topics such as population, biodiversity, climate change, ozone depletion, toxic and hazardous substances, air, land, sea and transboundary water pollution, conservation of marine resources, desertification, and nuclear damage.


International Environmental Law Governance:

The UN Environment Assembly - the highest-level UN body ever convened on the environment - opened on 23 June 2014 at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi. UNEA feeds directly into the General Assembly and has universal membership of all 193 UN member states as well as other stakeholder groups. With this wide reach into the legislative, financial and development arenas, the new body presents a ground-breaking platform for leadership on global environmental policy.



Two major declarations on international environmental law are:

-The Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (the 1972 Stockholm Declaration) (UN Doc. A/CONF/48/14/REV.1 (1972). This declaration represented a first major attempt at considering the global human impact on the environment, and an international attempt to address the challenge of preserving and enhancing the human environment. The Stockholm Declaration espouses mostly broad environmental policy goals and objectives rather than detailed normative positions. The UN website provides introductory information, procedural history and preparatory documents associated with the Declaration, as well as the full text of the Declaration.

-The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (UN Doc. A/CONF.151/26 (vol. I)) was a short document produced at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), known as the Rio Earth Summit. The Rio Declaration consists of 27 principles intended to guide future sustainable development around the world.


Environmental law:

Environmental law, also known as environmental and natural resources law, is a collective term describing the network of treaties, statutes, regulations, common and customary laws addressing the effects of human activity on the natural environment. The core environmental law regimes address environmental pollution. A related but distinct set of regulatory regimes, now strongly influenced by environmental legal principles, focus on the management of specific natural resources, such as forests, minerals, or fisheries. Other areas, such as environmental impact assessment, may not fit neatly into either category, but are nonetheless important components of environmental law.


One solution based on the existent problematic sources and points of international environmental law is: Procedures and funding for monitoring and enforcement should be improved. Existing agreements should be integrated.



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  • Dormant user Bharat Adhikari
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  • Joon Ho Mentor says :
    Hello Bharat, not only mitigation but also monetary part along with adaptation part have been pointed out as 'most important factors' to act against climate change and establish stronger environmental regime for the world. 'Procedures and funding for monitoring and enforcement should be improved. Existing agreements should be integrated' <- I do really agree with your words, and this is also what several climate change-related international organizations are trying to pay attention for, but still it is the core issue in need of solutions.
    Thanks for the good report!
    Posted 23-07-2018 19:39

  • Gyeongrin mentor says :
    Hello Bharat
    'Procedures and funding for monitoring and enforcement should be improved.' is a good point to make sure that the laws that the international society make to keep the environment safe to be kept well. The making of laws aren't the end and more continuous effort is needed so that the IEL could function well!
    Thanks for sharing :)
    Posted 21-07-2018 12:40

  • Rosa Domingos says :
    Hey Bharat!

    It's really informative how you set up the report. It really does pose a problem that I believe with the corruption (that occurs within the highest sectors of government) as a main issue, will take a while to solve.

    On top of that, it's the executive to part that poses the most problem, but hopefully the UN will have practical ideas to combat this.

    Thank you for reporting!
    Posted 20-07-2018 16:23

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Thank you for sharing:):):)
    Posted 20-07-2018 12:55

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