Category Archives: Environmental Justice

Litigating environmental disputes in the inter-American human rights system…(C. Courtis)

Author

Christian Courtis.

Keywords

Human rights; environment; ECHR; access to information; Americas; discrimination; due process; environmental protection; equal treatment; right to fair trial; social justice.

Abstract

Suggests how cases concerning environmental protection can be litigated within the Inter-American Human Rights System by applying the adjective or instrumental rights and principles of the American Convention on Human Rights 1969, including the rights to: (1) fair trial and due process; (2) a remedy or judicial protection; (3) access to information; and (4) equal protection and non-discrimination. Compares these rights with their equivalents under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950. Discusses, with reference to case law, the potential use of the civil and political rights protected by the 1969 Convention to uphold environmental rights.

Citation

(2008) 2(2) Human Rights and International Legal Discourse, 179-209.

Paper

Litigating environmental disputes in the inter-American humanrights system: eight strategic approaches.

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… Human Rights, International Environmental and Sustainable (Development) Law (E. Hey)

Author

Ellen Hey

Keywords

MDGs, human rights law, fragmentation of international law

Abstract

Why have we not done better, given that the MDGs have been part of humanrights law for six decades? This essay points to the fragmented nature of the international institutional framework – or international governance structure – as a factor that has contributed to our failure. This fragmented institutional setting has led to a fragmented approach to international law. Finally, this essay considers how international law, despite its fragmented nature, might further the integrated approach evident from the MDGs. It suggests that by developing procedures such as the World Bank Inspection Panel and the Aarhus Compliance Mechanisms integrated approaches to the application of international can be developed by enabling the law to be applied in context.

Citation

( 21 March 2009 ) Working Paper

Paper

The MDGs Archeology, Institutional Fragmentation and International Law:
Human Rights, International Environmental and Sustainable (Development) Law

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Public Participation and Democracy in Practice—Aarhus Convention… (B. Toth)

Author

Bende Toth

Keywords

Empowerment, private citizens, environmental decision-making, access to information, public fora, Aarhus Convention, UNECE, NGOs

Abstract

In recent years, a number of national and international legal developments have led to the implementation of procedures to ensure the empowerment of private citizens in environmental decision-making processes. In practice, this has meant increased access to information affecting decision-making, the establishment of public fora for discussion, and some broadening of legal standing requirements for individuals and citizens’ groups challenging actions based on environmental concerns. These three concepts-public participation, access to information, and access to justice-are the three main pillars of the Aarhus Convention, which entered into force in October of 2001, and is administered by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). In addition to the three pillars, the most notable feature of the Convention is the key role carved out for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which feature prominently in the Convention’s conception of environmental democracy. The Convention has been signed and ratified by more than forty countries from Europe and Eurasia, and parallel principles are being advocated and applied in a variety of other settings.

The Aarhus principles grew out of the Rio Declaration’s Principle 10 and the United Nations’ Agenda 21 program, both of which underscored the importance of the role of the public and the NGO sector in environmental decision-making.

In part I, this paper will introduce how an empowered public can help address various difficulties in confronting environmental issues. This section will emphasize general arguments for procedural rights for the public.

Part II will offer an in-depth look at the three pillars, trace similarities in the United States’ federal law, and also look at European Union (EU) implementation efforts at the MemberState level through the directive process. A secondary goal of this section will be to assuage some critics’ fears about the Aarhus Convention. The section will also look to various Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee decisions, so as to distill a sense of the Committee’s interpretation of the Convention. In reviewing the advisory “case law” of the Compliance Committee, the central guiding principle, in line with the goals of the Convention, has been to guarantee a modicum of public participation rights in line with basic procedural rights. The Committee has also hewn a course in line with both the letter and spirit of the Convention, balancing deference to the signatory parties with the broader goals of the three pillars.

Part III will look at the special rights accorded to the NGO sector by the Convention and discuss the benefits of empowering the NGO sector in this manner. The section also addresses key elements of the Convention’s compliance mechanisms.

Part IV will focus the implications of the Aarhus convention for the signatories, especially in the former Soviet satellite nations, and includes lessons gleaned from implementation efforts there. The section will also advocate for the continued adoption of Aarhus principles in the developing world.

Citation

(2010) 30 Journal of Land, Resources, and Environmental Law 295

Paper

Public Participation and Democracy in Practice—Aarhus Convention Principles as Democratic InstitutionBuilding in the Developing World

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Making Treaties Work: Human Rights, Environment and Arms Control – publication review (E. Denza)

Author

Reviewed by Eileen Denza

Publication edited by Geir Ulfstein, Thilo Marauhn and Andreas Zimmerman Thilo.

Keywords

International environmental law; international human rights; international arms control; procedure; Aarhus Convention; complexity.

Abstract

This is a publication review for the relevant title and begins:
“This is a good news book for those who care about the development of international law into an effective, supervised and enforceable legal system. It contains authoritative and clearly organised research into the implementation of treaties in three areas, chosen because they are at the forefront of the modern development of international law, from self-contained co-existence to active cooperation among States”.

Citation

(2009) 58(1) International & Comparative Law Quarterly, 259-260.

Paper

Making Treaties Work: Human Rights, Environment and Arms Control – publication review

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Saving the Polar Bear: Saving the World: … Capabilities Approach and … Ecosystems (E. Cripps)

Author

Elizabeth Cripps

Keywords

Capabilities, Nussbaum, Schlosberg, Justice, Nonhuman animals, Ecosystems

Abstract

Martha Nussbaum has expanded the capabilities approach to defend positive duties of justice to individuals who fall below Rawls’ standard for fully cooperating members of society, including sentient nonhuman animals. Building on this, David Schlosberg has defended the extension of capabilities justice not only to individual animals but also to entire species and ecosystems. This is an attractive vision: a happy marriage of social, environmental and ecological justice, which also respects the claims of individual animals. This paper asks whether it is one that the capabilities approach can really deliver. Serious obstacles are highlighted. The potential for conflict between the capability-based entitlements of humans and those of nonhuman animals or ‘nature’ is noted, but it is argued that this does not constitute a decisive objection to the expanded capabilities approach. However, intra-nature conflicts are so widespread as to do so: the situation is outside the circumstances of justice as they are standardly understood. Schlosberg attempts to reconcile such conflicts by re-examining what it means to flourish as a sentient nonhuman animal. This fails, because of the distinction between flourishing as a species, which often requires predation, and flourishing as an individual, which is as frequently incompatible with it. Finally, the paper considers how a capabilities theorist might move beyond such conflicts, identifying two possible strategies (which are not themselves unproblematic) for reconciling the demands of humans, animals and ecosystems.

Citation

(2010) 16 Res Publica 1-22

Paper

Saving the Polar Bear, Saving the World: Can the Capabilities Approach do Justice to Humans, Animals and Ecosystems?

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