Category Archives: Uncategorized

Environmental Rights and International Peace: Protections of Biological and Cultural Diversity: Emerging Recognition of Local Community Rights in Ecosystems Under International Environmental Law (L. P. Breckenridge)

Author(s)

Lee. P. Breckenridge

Keywords

United Nations, UN, environmental protection, development, international policies, biological diversity, ecosystems, international peace, cultural diversity, local communities, community rights

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992 forged a new consensus on international environmental policies to protect the world’s biological diversity and its most fragile ecosystems. The documents produced by UNCED (the Rio Declaration, 1Agenda 21, 2 and the Forest Principles 3 ) and the two conventions opened for signature at the conference (the Convention on Biological Diversity 4 and the Convention on Climate Change 5 ) all take important steps toward the formulation of international standards governing the use and management of living resources to preserve their diversity and renewability into the future.

The articulation of international environmental requirements is accompanied, strikingly, by a new recognition of local communities’ roles in protecting biological diversity and ecosystem viability. “Grassroots” empowerment has become a centerpiece of the environmental agenda. Throughout the UNCED documents, 6 a mandate for decentralization goes hand-in-hand with the centralization expressed in new international environmental norms and institutional mechanisms. International environmental law is emerging as a new source of authority for pluralism, and protection of biological diversity has become inextricably linked to protection of cultural diversity…

Citation

(1992) 59 Tennessee Law Review 735

Paper

Environmental Rights and International Peace: Protections of Biological and Cultural Diversity: Emerging Recognition of Local Community Rights in Ecosystems Under International Environmental Law

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‘Swa’-jal-dhara or ‘Pay’-jal-dhara-Sector Reform and the Right to Drinking Water in Rajasthan and Maharashtra (P. Sampat)

Author

Preeti Sampat

Keywords

Access to water, community ownership, drinking water supply, privatisation, right to water, state run services, structural adjustment, Swajaldhara, water policy, water sector reforms

Abstract

Since the ascent of economic liberalisation in the 1990s, Washington Consensus policies – exemplified by structural adjustment and reform – have become the norm across the globe. As a result the State redefines its role from that of a provider of basic services to a ‘facilitator’ that enables access to these services. Resources like water, energy, health and education are now called socio-economic goods that people must own and maintain on their own. Increasingly in all service sectors – energy, health, education or water-‘demand-driven’ projects formulated and executed by ‘user committees’ that are supposed to establish ‘community ownership’ through initial cost-sharing with all operations and maintenance costs borne by the users. Added to this, establishment of independent regulatory commissions, like those witnessed in the power sector, mean that citizens can no longer hold the State accountable for securing basic services for citizens.

Reforms in the rural drinking water sector in India were adopted in 1999 through the Sector Reform Project (SRP) on a pilot basis and have been scaled up throughout the country in the form of Swajaldhara launched on 25th December 2002. It is premised on a demand-responsive approach where the community initially mobilises 10 per cent of the cost of the project demanded by it and the rest of the funds are contributed by Government of India (GoI). So far five phases of Swajaldhara have commenced on the official understanding that these would achieve a high degree of participation and community control that would meet the needs of water for all. Very often, the socio-political dynamic of a context alters significantly how policies and schemes are implemented and what they achieve for their intended beneficiaries.

A survey of 28 villages in Rajsamand and and Bhilwara districts of Rajasthan and 7 villages in Osmanabad and Latur districts of Maharashtra raises questions that need to be investigated if the right to water for all is to be realised. This paper will draw upon the findings of this survey to explore the dynamic between the Scheme and its ability to realise the right to water in an equitable and just manner. The parameters of Swajaldhara, the socio-political context and the process of implementation including bureaucratic practice will be examined to critique the rural drinking water policy of the Indian State and its underlying premise of Structural Adjustment.

Citation

(2007) 3(2) Law, Environment and Development Journal 101

Paper

‘Swa’-jal-dhara or ‘Pay’-jal-dhara-Sector Reform and the Right to Drinking Water in Rajasthan and Maharashtra

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Unmasking Chinese Business Enterprises: Using Information Disclosure Laws to Enhance Public Participation …(T. Riley and C. Huiyan)

Author(s)

Timothy Riley and Cai Huiyan

Keywords

China, access to environmental information, corporate disclosure, Chinese businesses, government decisions, corporate decisions, public participation, impact, local communities, ecosystems

Abstract

This article argues that the existing state of corporate disclosure law and regulations in China is insufficient to allow the Chinese public adequate access to environmental information. As a result, citizens are unable to participate properly in crucial government and corporate decisions that impact local communities and ecosystems.

Citation

(2009) 33 Harvard Environmental Law Review 177

Paper

Unmasking Chinese Business Enterprises: Using Information Disclosure Laws to Enhance Public Participation in Corporate Environmental Decision Making

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Catastrophe in the Making…Engineering of Katrina & the Disasters of Tomorrow (W. Freudenburg, et al)

Author(s)

William Freudenburg, Shirley Laska, Robert Gramling, Kai Erikson

Keywords

Hurricane Katrina, natural disasters, affected communities

Abstract

When houses are flattened, towns submerged, and people stranded without electricity or even food, we attribute the suffering to “natural disasters” or “acts of God.” But what if hey’re neither? What if we, as a society, are bringing these catastrophes on ourselves?

That’s the provocative theory of Catastrophe in the Making, the first book to recognize Hurricane Katrina not as a “perfect storm,” but a tragedy of our own making—and one that could become commonplace.

The authors, one a longtime New Orleans resident, argue that breached levees and sloppy emergency response are just the most obvious examples of government failure. The true problem is more deeply rooted and insidious, and stretches far beyond the Gulf Coast.

Based on the false promise of widespread prosperity, communities across the U.S. have embraced all brands of “economic development” at all costs. In Louisiana, that meant development interests turning wetlands into shipping lanes. By replacing a natural buffer against storm surges with a 75-mile long, obsolete canal that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, they guided the hurricane into the heart of New Orleans and adjacent communities. The authors reveal why, despite their geographic differences, California and Missouri are building—quite literally—toward similar destruction.

Too often, the U.S. “growth machine” generates wealth for a few and misery for many. Drawing lessons from the most expensive “natural” disaster in American history, Catastrophe in the Making shows why thoughtless development comes at a price we can ill afford.

Citation

William Freudenburg, et al, Catastrophe in the Making: The Engineering of Katrina and the Disasters of Tomorrow (Shearwater, 2009)

Book

Catastrophe in the Making: The Engineering of Katrina and the Disasters of Tomorrow

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Coastal Hazards and Vulnerability (L. McFadden)

Editor

Loraine McFadden

Keywords

Tsunami Early Warning Systems, Community Disaster Preparedness, Indian Ocean Region, Coastal Community Vulnerabilities, Resilience Benefits, Disaster Reduction Measures, Institutional Challenges, Flood Plain Agricultural Systems, Multi-scale Coastal Vulnerability Index, Coastal Managers, Strategic Regeneration, Integrated Planning Approach, Managing a Coastal Resort, South Wales

Abstract

Our coasts provide a home and livelihoods for millions of people; many of the world’s biggest cities are along coastlines. Yet these precious areas face increasing threats from irresponsible development and the potential dangers of climate change.

This volume explores the wide spectrum of coastal hazards, from high-magnitude, low-frequency events like tsunamis and hurricanes, to longer-term processes like urban regeneration and changing agricultural practices. International case studies range from mitigation measures in the Azores Archipelago to managing a coastal resort in South Wales, to tsunami early warning systems in the Indian Ocean Region. The resulting collection spans approaches from social science, engineering, planning, geology and biology and presents an integrated approach for assessing the impact of, and response to, coastal hazards. It will be of interest to all those involved in strategies for the environmental management of coastlines.

Citation

Loraine McFadden (eds), Coastal Hazards and Vulnerability (Earthscan, 2010)

Book

Coastal Hazards and Vulnerability

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