EU external relations, EU environmental policy, environmental rights, EU agreements, climate change, biodiversity, forest, traditional knowledge, corporate accountability
The present paper aims to map existing and future opportunities for utilizing EU bilateral agreements to promote the protection of environmental rights, as well as available legal avenues to address missed opportunities and possible risks that EU environmental action abroad may negatively impact on environmental rights in third countries. It starts with a brief overview of the external environmental policy of the EU, including constitutional requirements to couple human rights and environmental protection in external relations and an introduction to the practice of EU bilateral agreements. The chapter will then provide a snapshot of the environment-and-human-rights connection in EU law from an internal perspective, to demonstrate the political sensitivity of the issue. Against this background, the central part of the paper will identify six thematic areas in which entry points for the protection of environmental rights exist in the framework of EU bilateral agreements. The final section will offer a preliminary reflection of the human rights risks of current environmental external relations of the Union and possible avenues to tackle these risks in EU and international law.
(2014) Lenzerini, F and A Vrdoljak, eds. International Law for Common Goods: Normative Perspectives on Human Rights, Culture and Nature (Hart) pp. 421-441
Protecting Environmental Rights Through the Bilateral Agreements of the European Union: Mapping the Field
European Community Law, Human Right to a Healthy Environment
The treaties creating the European Community contain neither a catalogue of Human Rights nor a reference to environmental protection. This is not surprising, given the focus of the Community, as well as its relatively early date of inception. The language closest to both subjects is contained in Article 36 of the Treaty of Rome, which states that the provisions of the treaty “shall not preclude prohibitions and restrictions … justified on grounds of … the protections of health and life of humans, animals or plants.” Despite their general absence from Community documents, both human rights and environmental protections have found their way into Community law as it has evolved over more than three decades. The evolution has not produced a declared human right to an environment of a particular quality; however, it has resulted in certain guaranteed environmental rights, including the right to receive environmental information, the right to participate in decisions affecting the environment, and the right to ac…
(1992-3) 16 Hastings International and Comparative Law Review 557