Category Archives: Sustainable Development

Workers’ Rights and Pollution Control in Delhi (K.D. Alley & D. Meadows)

Authors

K.D. Alley & D. Meadows

Keywords

Human Rights, Environmental Rights, Constitutional Law, India, Right to a Clean Environment, Pollution

Abstract

Within India’s judicial interpretation of constitutional rights there exists a close link between environmental values and human rights. Yet in some instances court cases defending the right to a clean environment have actually jeopardized the job security of India’s poorest laborers and have led to abuses of human rights. One such example is the 1995 Supreme Court case MC Mehta v. Union of India, which ordered the closure and relocation of polluting industries in Delhi. In this instance the Court responded to middle-class appeals for pollution remediation through a broad reading of the constitution’s fundamental right to life principle, at the same time adversely affecting tens, even hundreds, of thousands of the city’s poorest workers.

The spotty interest of the government’s legislative and executive branches in addressing the environmental problems created by both private and public sector development initiatives has provided the impetus for legal activism in India. Parliament has enacted environmental legislation, but enforcement has been profoundly lax, and governmental pollution control boards have been lenient in regulating industrial and vehicular emissions and industrial and municipal waste treatment facilities. Moreover, projects involving air and water pollution, massive human displacement, and the destruction of natural ecosystems continue to go forward with the imprimatur of formal administrative approval, based on only perfunctory or formalistic compliance with regulatory norms.

Citation

(2004) 11 Human Rights Dialogue 15

Paper

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The Roots of Influence: Nongovernmental Organizations and the Relationship Between Human Rights and the Environment (C. Tracy)

Author

Christopher Tracy

Keywords

NGOs, non-governmental organisations, human rights, environment, dignity, future generations, indigenous right, environmental protection, Rio, legitimacy, international relations

Extract

“Part I of this Article will address the history and development of NGOs. Particular attention will be given to the rationale espoused by various NGOs for their participation in certain global concerns or activities. The connections between human rights and environment NGOs will be discussed, as will the reason for this connection – namely, a “dignity” concern for living human beings, the living plant, those yet to be born and the future of this world. This connection between human rights and environmental organizations is most evident in the protection of indigenous peoples and their traditional lands.

Part II will continue the discussion by examining links between human rights and the environmental in international instruments. Although, there have been numerous connections made in previous human rights and environmental documents, the focus here will be on the developments made in Rio.

Part III will examine the tensions arising out of attempts to prioritize when human rights and environment concerns are to be addressed […]

Part IV will suggest that the NGOs’ diverse participation should continue well into the future before any major prioritization will have to occur. […]

This discussion will conclude with the suggestion that NGO involvement in the international regime will continue to grow and, as it does, a balance must be sought between legitimacy in action and vitality in mission” (pp. 24-25)

Citation

(1994) Journal of International Law and Practice 3 pp. 21-46

Paper

The Roots of Influence: Nongovernmental Organizations and the Relationship Between Human Rights and the Environment

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Unraveling the Nagoya Protocol: A Commentary on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity (E. Morgera et al.)

Author(s)

Elisa Morgera, Elsa Tsioumani, Matthias Buck

Keywords

access, benefit-sharing, environmental sustainability, sustainable development, international law, human rights, intellectual property rights, health, food, oceans

Abstract

The Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing is an international environmental agreement that concerns environmental sustainability, other sustainable development issues and equity. It addresses a complex subject matter that affects a range of research, development and commercial activities and is relevant to different areas of international law such as human rights, intellectual property rights, health, food and oceans.

Unraveling the Nagoya Protocol identifies textual, contextual and systemic interpretative questions and suggests solutions that aim to give a coherent and balanced meaning to the text of the Protocol. Offering a systematic discussion of the Protocol’s legal innovations against the background of general international law, this commentary aims to be of use to international biodiversity law scholars and practitioners, as well as to international lawyers that approach access and benefit-sharing for the first time

Citation

E. Morgera et al. 2014. Unraveling the Nagoya Protocol: A Commentary on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Martinus Nijhoff.

Paper

Unraveling the Nagoya Protocol: A Commentary on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity

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The Right to Environment and Sustainable Development as a Principle of International Law (N. Singh)

Author

N. Singh

Keywords

Right to Environment, Sustainable Development, International Law

Abstract

None available

Citation

(1997) in La Droit a la Qualité de L’Environment: un Droit Endevenir, un Droit a Definir, N. Duple (Ed.)

Paper

Not available online

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Ten practical advantages of a human rights approach to environmental advocacy (T. Kerns)

Author

Tom Kerns

Keywords

Human rights, Ethics, Relativism, Inquiries, Tribunals

Abstract

In order to draw any conclusion about what actions should be done, practical arguments require both a first premise which makes factual claims about the world and a second premise which asserts a value claim. This paper argues that among the second premise value claims available in environmental advocacy, a human rights approach includes distinct advantages that are not as available when relying only on other ethical approaches. The paper describes three practical measures that can be used in environmental human rights work—personal narratives, human rights assessment reports, and citizen-based inquiries and tribunals—and 10 practical advantages of using those and other human rights measures. These include helping to minimize the problem of moral relativism, appeals to compassion and reduction of ethical “slippage,” as well as thinking from the bottom up, access to a rhetorically persuasive vocabulary, and potentially useful legal advantages.

This paper argues that including a human rights dimension in environmental advocacy brings distinct practical advantages that are not as available when relying only on other ethical approaches. The paper describes three practical measures used in environmental human rights work and 10 practical advantages of using those measures.

Citation

Paper

Ten practical advantages of a human rights approach to environmental advocacy

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