The Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law is a landmark reference work, providing definitive and comprehensive coverage of this dynamic field. The Encyclopedia is organised into 12 volumes around top-level subjects – such as water, energy and climate change – that reflect some of the most pressing issues facing us today. Each volume probes the key elements of law, the essential concepts, and the latest research through concise, structured entries written by international experts. Each entry includes an extensive bibliography as a starting point for further reading. The mix of authoritative commentary and insightful discussion will make this an essential tool for research and teaching, as well as a valuable resource for professionals and policymakers.
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Edited by James R May and Erin Daly
Edited by Michael Faure
Vasiliki (Vicky) Karageorgou
Abstract The right of access to justice in environmental matters, which is essential for the transition to sustainable models of governance and living, is closely intertwined with the participatory rights of access to environmental information and public participation. It also has linkages to the procedural right to a fair trial and to an effective remedy. The chapter analyzes how the concept of access to justice in environmental matters is enshrined in regimes and instruments at the international and regional level and what the repercussions at the national level are. It also provides an assessment of the current situation as regards access to justice at the different levels of governance, with emphasis on the national level.
Naysa Ahuja, Carl Bruch, Arnold Kreilhuber, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema and John Pendergrass
Abstract Human rights can be achieved only through a rule of law that advances environmental protection. Environmental rule of law is a set of environmental governance mechanisms, principles, and practices that hold all entities equally accountable to publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated laws that are consistent with international norms and standards for sustaining the planet. Environmental rule of law enhances environmental governance by linking environmental sustainability with fundamental rights and obligations. This entry frames environmental rule of law concepts and principles, and explores its linkages with both substantive and procedural rights. It discusses how these linkages make environmental rule of law a touchstone for advancing and operationalizing a broad range of human rights related to the environment. Referring to global trends and specific illustrations, the chapter examines three key ways that environmental rule of law can advance the human rights and environment discourse. First, it focuses governmental, civil society, private sector, and international attention on implementation and enforcement of existing environmental protections and requirements essential to realizing a number of human rights. Second, it seeks to improve the institutional practice of respecting and enforcing environmental rights by strengthening capacity, accountability, and policies. Third, it fosters the political will to implement and enforce existing rights and legal requirements. As a way forward, the chapter explores mechanisms for strengthening the environmental rule of law, including through its contribution to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Wahyu Yun Santoso
Abstract Biodiversity – the rich variety of species – is in every way essential, indeed indispensable, to the maintenance of human health and well-being. Thus, the fulfilment of human rights is dependent on biodiversity, while the loss of biodiversity will undermine the ability to fulfil human rights. This chapter addresses the intersections between biodiversity and human rights from the legal perspective. Relevant cases and points of view are presented particularly from Indonesia and other states in the Southeast Asia region. The author concludes that environmental rights-based conservation is essential for the fulfilment of human rights. Likewise, respecting local values in fulfiling the rights of local community will significantly sustain the biodiversity preservation within.
Stephen J Turner
Abstract Many of the unwanted outcomes for the environment and human rights are linked to or directly attributable to business practices. Because international law concerning human rights and environmental issues does not directly apply to non-state actors such as companies, it is important to analyse those legal and non-legal frameworks that determine how companies operate and the extent to which they influence the impact that businesses have on human rights and the environment. Therefore this chapter considers the tension between competing sets of legal and regulatory frameworks that relate to the promotion of commercial success on the one hand and the sound management of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues on the other. It surveys the ways that these drivers affect the operations and strategies of businesses in practice and comments on what this may mean for the international community as it goes forward.
Michael Burger and Jessica Wentz
Abstract There is now broad consensus that the effect of climate change is undermining and will continue to undermine the full enjoyment of human rights. Mitigation and adaptation measures will be needed to respond to these adverse effects but can also result in human rights violations if not implemented with proper safeguards. This chapter reviews the ways in which climate change and responses to climate change affect human rights and the corresponding obligations on governments and private actors to respect, protect, and fulfill rights in this context. It also discusses the extent to which these obligations are being fulfilled through participation in international climate agreements.
Christel Cournil and Emnet Gebre
Abstract The issue of climate displaced persons has become one of the icons of the human consequences of climate change. These displacements oblige us to question the law at many levels (international, regional, national) and call for a multidisciplinary legal approach within human rights law, international migration law, refugee law, environmental law, etc. It is inappropriate to categorize persons who are displaced due to climate change as ‘climate refugees’ in view of the legal definition of a refugee provided by the Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees. We trace the limits of the conventional approach, illustrating that it is now outdated. The need for the protection of climate displaced persons has been identified and the issue is becoming increasingly prominent in international negotiations, in expert and academic studies as well as in the advocacy work of NGOs. This chapter will also examine existing and future alternative proposals for the protection of environmentally displaced persons.
Abstract The relationship between environmental law and human rights law has generally been defined as amicable, in sharp contrast to the antagonistic interconnections between environmental law and trade or investment law. Environmental and human rights protection are commonly perceived as sharing the same ratio legis of ensuring human well-being. This strictly anthropocentric frame has proved useful to advance the environmental cause. Looking at this relationship from a synergistic prism, however, has overshadowed the conflicts that exist between environmental laws and human rights. While much ink has been spilled on the negative impact that environmental pollution has on human rights, this chapter assesses the neglected question of the negative impact that environmental protection laws can have on human rights.