International Environmental Law: subject, sources
1. International Environmental Law: subject, sources
generally regarded and accepted as binding
in relations between states and between
nations. It serves as a framework for the
practice of stable and organized
international relations. International law
differs from state-based legal systems in that
it is primarily applicable to countries rather
than to private citizens.
- Public international law, which governs the relationship
between states and international entities. It includes these
legal fields: treaty law, law of sea, international criminal law,
the laws of war or international humanitarian
law and international human rights law.
- Private international law, or conflict of laws, which
addresses the questions of (1) which jurisdiction may hear
a case, and (2) the law concerning which jurisdiction
applies to the issues in the case.
- Supranational law or the law
of supranational organizations, which concerns regional
agreements where the laws of nation states may be held
inapplicable when conflicting with a supranational legal
system when that nation has a treaty obligation to a
branches of the field
•jus gentium – law of
•jus inter gentes –
and conduct of sovereign states; analogous
entities, such as the Holy See;
and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser
degree, international law also may
affect multinational corporations and individuals,
an impact increasingly evolving beyond domestic
legal interpretation and enforcement. Public
international law has increased in use and
importance vastly over the twentieth century, due
to the increase in global trade, environmental
deterioration on a worldwide scale, awareness
of human rights violations, rapid and vast
increases in international transportation and a
boom in global communications.
the Statute of the
International Court of
Justice, public international
law has three principal
treaties, custom, and
general principles of law. In
addition, judicial decisions
and teachings may be
applied as "subsidiary
means for the
determination of rules of
1. General part
2. Special part
- International law of human rights
- International sea law
- International space law
- International security law
- International environmental law etc.
not respect political boundaries, making treaties an
important aspect of environmental law. Numerous legally
binding international agreements now encompass a wide
variety of issue-areas, from terrestrial, marine and
atmospheric pollution through to wildlife and biodiversity
While the bodies that proposed, argued, agreed upon and
ultimately adopted existing international agreements vary
according to each agreement, certain conferences,
including 1972's United Nations Conference on the
Human Environment, 1983's World Commission on
Environment and Development, 1992's United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development and
2002's World Summit on Sustainable Development have
been particularly important.
included the statement and adoption of a number
of important guiding principles. As with all
international law, international environmental law
brings up questions of sovereignty, legal
reciprocity ("comity") and even perhaps the Golden
Rule. Other guiding principles include the polluter
pays principle, the precautionary principle, the
principle of sustainable development,
environmental procedural rights, common but
differentiated responsibilities, intragenerational and
intergenerational equity, "common concern of
humankind", and common heritage.
10. Colden ruleThe Golden Rule or ethic of
reciprocity is a maxim, ethical
code or morality that
essentially states either of the
One should treat others as one
would like others to treat
oneself. (Directive form.)
One should not treat others in
ways that one would not like to
be treated (Cautionary form,
also known as the Silver Rule).
11. SovereigntyAccording to Stephen D. Krasner, the term could also be
understood in four different ways:
•domestic sovereignty – actual control over a state
exercised by an authority organized within this state,
•interdependence sovereignty – actual control of
movement across state's borders, assuming the borders
•international legal sovereignty – formal recognition by
other sovereign states,
•Westphalian sovereignty – lack of other authority over
state than the domestic authority (examples of such
other authorities could be a non-domestic church, a nondomestic political organization, or any other external
12. ComityIn law, comity is legal reciprocity—the principle
that one jurisdiction will extend certain courtesies
to other nations (or other jurisdictions within the
same nation), particularly by recognizing the
validity and effect of their executive, legislative,
and judicial acts. The term refers to the idea that
courts should not act in a way that demeans the
jurisdiction, laws, or judicial decisions of another
jurisdiction. Part of the presumption of comity is
that other jurisdictions will reciprocate the courtesy
shown to them.
13. Polluter PaysIn environmental law, the polluter pays
principle is enacted to make the party responsible
for producing pollution responsible for paying for
the damage done to the natural environment. It is
regarded as a regional custom because of the
strong support it has received in most Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) and European Union (EU)
In international environmental law it is mentioned
in Principle 16 of the Rio Declaration on
Environment and Development.
14. Polluter paysPolluter pays is also known as extended producer
responsibility (EPR). This is a concept that was
probably first described by Thomas Lindhqvist for
the Swedish government in 1990. EPR seeks to shift
the responsibility dealing with waste
from governments(and thus, taxpayers and society
at large) to the entities producing it. In effect, it
internalised the cost of waste disposal into the cost
of the product, theoretically meaning that the
producers will improve the waste profile of their
products, thus decreasing waste and increasing
possibilities for reuse and recycling.
15. Polluter paysOECD defines EPR as:
a concept where manufacturers and importers of products
should bear a significant degree of responsibility for the
environmental impacts of their products throughout the
product life-cycle, including upstream impacts inherent in
the selection of materials for the products, impacts from
manufacturers’ production process itself, and
downstream impacts from the use and disposal of the
products. Producers accept their responsibility when
designing their products to minimise life-cycle
environmental impacts, and when accepting legal,
physical or socio-economic responsibility for
environmental impacts that cannot be eliminated by
16. Sustainable developmentSustainable development is a road-map, the action
plan, for achieving sustainability in any activity that
uses resources and where immediate and
intergenerational replication is demanded. As such,
sustainable development is the organizing principle for
sustaining finite resources necessary to provide for the
needs of future generations of life on the planet. It is a
process that envisions a desirable future state for
human societies in which living conditions and
resource-use continue to meet human needs without
undermining the "integrity, stability and beauty" of
natural biotic systems.
17. Sustainable developmentAs a working definition, sustainability can be
defined as the practice of maintaining processes of
productivity indefinitely—natural or human made—
by replacing resources used with resources of
equal or greater value without degrading or
endangering natural biotic systems. According to
M. Hasna, sustainability is a function of social,
economic, technological and ecological
themes. Sustainable development ties together
concern for the carrying capacity of natural
systems with the social, political, and economic
challenges faced by humanity.
18. Sustainable developmentThe term sustainable development rose to significance
after it was used by the Brundtland Commission in its
1987 report Our Common Future. In the report, the
commission coined what has become the most oftenquoted definition of sustainable development:
"development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs." The United Nations
Millennium Declaration identified principles and
treaties on sustainable development,
including economic development, social
development and environmental protection.
19. Sustainable developmentThe United Nations World Commission on Environment
and Development (WCED) in its 1987 report Our Common
Future defines sustainable development: "Development
that meets the needs of the present without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet their own
needs." Under the principles of the United Nations
Charter the Millennium Declaration identified principles and
treaties on sustainable development, including economic
development, social development and environmental
protection. Broadly defined, sustainable development is a
systems approach to growth and development and to
manage natural, produced, and social capital for the
welfare of their own and future generations.
20. Precautionary principleThe precautionary principle or
precautionary approach states that if an
action or policy has a suspected risk of
causing harm to the public or to
the environment, in the absence of scientific
consensus that the action or policy is not
harmful, the burden of proof that it
is not harmful falls on those taking an action.
21. Precautionary principleFields typically concerned by the precautionary principle are
the possibility of:
•Global warming or abrupt climate change in general
•Extinction of species
•Introduction of new and potentially harmful products into the
environment, threatening biodiversity (e.g., genetically
•Threats to public health, due to new diseases and techniques
(e.g., AIDS transmitted through blood transfusion)
•Long term effects of new technologies (e.g. health concerns
regarding radiation from cell phones and other electronics
communications devices Mobile phone radiation and health)
•Persistent or acute pollution
•Other new biosafety issues (e.g., artificial life,
22. Precautionary principleThe precautionary principle is often applied
to biological fields because changes cannot be
easily contained and have the potential of being global. The
principle has less relevance to contained fields such
as aeronautics, where the few people undergoing risk have
given informed consent (e.g., a test pilot). In the case of
technological innovation, containment of impact tends to be
more difficult if that technology can self-replicate. Bill
Joy emphasized the dangers of replicating genetic
technology, nanotechnology, and robotic technology in his
article in Wired Magazine, "Why the future doesn't need
us", though he does not specifically cite the precautionary
principle. The application of the principle can be seen in the
public policy of requiring pharmaceutical companies to
carry out clinical trials to show that new medications are
23. Intergenerational equityIntergenerational equity in economic,
psychological, and sociological contexts, is
the concept or idea of fairness or justice in
between children, youth, adults and seniors,
particularly in terms of treatment and
interactions. It has been studied in
environmental and sociological settings.
24. Intergenerational equityConversations about intergenerational
equity occur across several fields. They
include transition economics, social policy,
andgovernment budgetmaking. Intergenerational equity is also
in environmental concerns, including
sustainable development, global
warming and climate change.
25. Common concern of humankihdThe Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known
informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral
treaty. The Convention has three main goals:
•conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity);
•sustainable use of its components; and
•fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic
•In other words, its objective is to develop national
strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of
biological diversity. It is often seen as the key document
regarding sustainable development.
26. Common heritageCommon heritage of mankind (also termed
the common heritage of humanity, common
heritage of humankind or common heritage
principle) is a principle of international law which
holds that defined territorial areas and elements
of humanity's common heritage (cultural and
natural) should be held in trust for future
generations and be protected from exploitation
by individual nation states or corporations.
27. SourcesInternational environmental agreements are
generally multilateral (or
sometimes bilateral) treaties (a.k.a. convention,
agreement, protocol, etc.). The majority of such
conventions deal directly with specific
environmental issues. There are also some
general treaties with one or two clauses referring
to environmental issues but these are rarer. There
are about 1000 environmental law treaties in
existence today; no other area of law has
generated such a large body of conventions on a
28. SourcesProtocols are subsidiary agreements built from a
primary treaty. They exist in many areas of
international law but are especially useful in the
environmental field, where they may be used to
regularly incorporate recent scientific knowledge.
They also permit countries to reach agreement on
a framework that would be contentious if every
detail were to be agreed upon in advance. The
most widely known protocol in international
environmental law is the Kyoto Protocol, which
followed from the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change.
• Aarhus Convention Convention on Access
to Information, Public Participation in
Decision-making and Access to Justice in
Environmental Matters, Aarhus, 1998
• Espoo Convention Convention on
Environmental Impact Assessment in a
Transboundary Context, Espoo, 1991
Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air
Pollution (LRTAP), Geneva, 1979.
Environmental Protection: Aircraft Engine
Emissions Annex 16, vol. 2 to the 1944 Chicago
Convention on Civil Aviation, Montreal, 1981.
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
New York, 1992, including theKyoto Protocol, 1997.
Georgia Basin-Puget Sound International Airshed
Strategy, Vancouver, Statement of Intent, 2002.
Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone
Layer, Vienna, 1985, including the Montreal Protocol on
Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Montreal
Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary
Watercourses and International Lakes (ECE Water
Convention), Helsinki, 1992.
Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements
of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, Basel, 1989.
Convention on Civil Liability for Damage Caused during
Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road, Rail, and Inland
Navigation Vessels (CRTD), Geneva, 1989.
Convention on the ban of the Import into Africa and the
Control of Transboundary Movements and Management
of Hazardous Wastes within Africa, Bamako, 1991.
32. Agreements• Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents,
• Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain
Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade,
• European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of
Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (AND), Geneva, 2000.
• European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of
Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR), Geneva, 1957.
• FAO International Code of Conduct on the distribution and use of
Pesticides, Rome, 1985.
• Stockholm Convention Stockholm Convention on Persistent
Organic PollutantsStockholm, 2001.
• Waigani Convention Convention to Ban the Importation into
Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes
and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management
of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region, Waigani,
• Minamata Convention on Mercury, Minamata 2013.
Marine environment – global conventions
Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by
Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London
Convention), London, 1972.
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution
from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978
relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78), London 1973 and
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution
of the Sea by Oil, London 1954, 1962 and 1969.
International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution
Damage (CLC), Brussels, 1969, 1976,1984 and 1992.
International Convention on the Establishment of an
International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution
Damage(FUND)1971 and 1992, Brussels, 1971/1992.
34. Agreements• International Convention on Liability and
Compensation for Damage in Connection with the
Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by
Sea (HNS), London, 1996.
• International Convention on Oil Pollution
Preparedness, Response and Co-operation(OPRC),
• International Convention Relating to Intervention on
the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution
Casualties Intervention Convention, Brussels, 1969.
• Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Cooperation to Pollution Incidents by Hazardous and
Noxious Substances OPRC-HNS Protocol, London,
• United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea LOS
Convention, Montego Bay, 1982.
Marine environment – regional conventions[
Convention for the Protection of the Marine
Environment of the North-east AtlanticOSPAR
Convention, Paris, 1992.
Convention on the Protection of the Marine
Environment of the Baltic Sea Area 1992
Helsinki Convention, Helsinki, 1992.
Conventions within the UNEP Regional Seas
Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea
against Pollution, Bucharest, 1992.
36. Agreements• Convention for the Protection and Development of the
Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region,
Cartagena de Indias, 1983.
• Convention for the Protection, Management and
Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of
the Eastern African Region (Nairobi Convention),
• Convention for the Protection and Development of the
Marine Environment and Coastal Region of the
Mediterranean Sea Barcelona Convention, Barcelona,
• Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources
and Environment of the South Pacific Region, Nouméa,
37. Agreements• Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment
and Coastal Area of the South-east Pacific, Lima, 1981.
• Convention for Co-operation in the Protection and
Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of
the West and Central African Region, Abidjan, 1981.
• Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine
Environment of the Caspian Sea
• Kuwait Regional Convention for Co-operation on the
Protection of the Marine Environment from Pollution,
• Regional Convention for the Conservation of the Red
Sea and the Gulf of Aden Environment, Jeddah, 1982.
38. AgreementsMarine living resources
• Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine
Living Resources (CCAMLR), Canberra, 1980.
– Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and
– Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals
– Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living
– Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty
• International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic
Tunas (ICCAT), Rio de Janeiro, 1966.
• International Convention for the Regulation of
Whaling (ICRW), Washington, 1946.
Nature conservation and terrestrial living
Antarctic Treaty, Washington DC, 1959.
World Heritage Convention Convention
Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural
and Natural Heritage, Paris, 1972.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory
Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Bonn, 1979.
40. Agreements• Convention on the International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, (CITES), Washington
• Ramsar Convention Convention on Wetlands of
International Importance, especially as Waterfowl
Habitat, Ramsar, 1971.
• Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), Paris,
• FAO International Undertaking on Plant Genetic
Resources, Rome, 1983.
• International Tropical Timber Agreement, (ITTA),
• Working Environment (Air Pollution, Noise and Vibration)
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty 1996
Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear
Accident or Radiological Emergency (Assistance
Convention), Vienna, 1986.
Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear
Accident (Notification Convention), Vienna, 1986.
Convention on Nuclear Safety, Vienna, 1994.
Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the
Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water
Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage,
42. SourcesCustomary international law is an important source of
international environmental law. These are the norms and
rules that countries follow as a matter of custom and they
are so prevalent that they bind all states in the world. When
a principle becomes customary law is not clear cut and
many arguments are put forward by states not wishing to
be bound. Examples of customary international law
relevant to the environment include the duty to warn other
states promptly about icons of an environmental nature and
environmental damages to which another state or states
may be exposed, and Principle 21 of the Stockholm
Declaration ('good neighbourliness' or sic utere).
43. SourcesInternational judicial decisions
International environmental law also includes the
opinions of international courts and tribunals.
While there are few and they have limited
authority, the decisions carry much weight with
legal commentators and are quite influential on the
development of international environmental law.
One of the biggest challenges in international
decisions is to determine an adequate
compensation for environmental damages.
44. SourcesThe courts include: the International Court of Justice (ICJ);
the international Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS);
the European Court of Justice; European Court of Human
Rights and other regional treaty tribunals. Arguably
the World Trade Organisation's Dispute Settlement Board
(DSB) is getting a say on environmental law also.
Important cases have included:
•Trail smelter arbitration, 33 AJIL (1939)
•Nuclear weapons testing cases, such as between New
Zealand and France before the International Court of
•Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Dam Case, ICJ Rep (1997)
45. BodiesMultilateral environmental agreements are
sometimes creating an International
Organization, Institution or Body that
implements the agreement. Major
examples are the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and
the International Union for Conservation of
46. BodiesCITES (the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also
known as the Washington Convention) is a multilateral
treaty to protect endangered plants and animals. It was
drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a
meeting of members of the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The convention was
opened for signature in 1973, and CITES entered into
force on 1 July 1975. Its aim is to ensure that
international trade in specimens of wild animals and
plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the
wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to
more than 35,000 species of animals and plants. In order
to ensure that the General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade (GATT) was not violated, the Secretariat of GATT
was consulted during the drafting process.
47. BodiesThe International Union
for Conservation of
Nature is an international
organization dedicated to
solutions to our most
pressing environment and
the IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species, which
assesses the conservation
status of species.
48. BodiesIUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects
globally and brings governments, non-government
organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and
local communities together to develop and implement
policy. IUCN is the world's oldest and largest global
environmental network—a democratic membership union
with more than 1,000 government and NGO member
organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in
more than 160 countries. IUCN's work is supported by
more than 1,000 professional staff in more than 40 offices
and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private
sectors around the world. The Union's headquarters are
located in Gland, Switzerland, near Geneva.
Extinct (исчезнувшие) (EX)
Extinct in the Wild (исчезнувшие в дикой природе) (EW)
Critically Endangered (в критической опасности) (CR)
Endangered (в опасности) (EN)
Vulnerable (в уязвимом положении) (VU)
Near Threatened (близки к уязвимому положению) (NT)
Least Concern (находятся под наименьшей угрозой)
• Data Deficient (данных недостаточно) (DD)
• Not Evaluated (угроза не оценивается) (NE)
of disciplines. They 'assess the state of the world’s natural resources and
provide the Union with sound know-how and policy advice on conservation
• Commission on Education and Communication (CEC): communication,
learning and knowledge management in IUCN and the wider conservation
community. Members: 1,200
• Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy (CEESP):
economic and social factors for the conservation and sustainable use of
biological diversity. Members: 1465.
• World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL): developing new legal
concepts and instruments, and building the capacity of societies to employ
environmental law for conservation and sustainable development. Members:
• Commission on Ecosystem Management(CEM): integrated ecosystem
approaches to the management of natural and modified ecosystems. Members:
• Species Survival Commission (SSC): technical aspects of species
conservation and action for species that are threatened with extinction.
• World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA): establishment and
effective management of a network of terrestrial and marine protected areas.
51. BodiesThe United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) is an agency of the United
Nations that coordinates its environmental
activities, assisting developing countries in
implementing environmentally sound policies and
practices. It was founded by Maurice Strong, its
first director, as a result of the United Nations
Conference on the Human Environment in June
1972 and has itsheadquarters in the Gigiri
neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. UNEP also has
six regional offices and various country offices.
52. BodiesIts activities cover a wide range of issues regarding
the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems,
environmental governance and green economy. It
has played a significant role in developing
international environmental conventions,
promoting environmental science and information
and illustrating the way those can be implemented in
conjunction with policy, working on the development
and implementation of policy with national
governments, regional institutions in conjunction with
environmental non-governmental organizations
(NGOs). UNEP has also been active in funding and
implementing environment related development
53. BodiesUNEP has aided in the
guidelines and treaties
on issues such as the
international trade in
•Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA)
•Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI)
•Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE)
•Regional Cooperation (DRC)
•Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC)
•Communications and Public Information (DCPI)
•Global Environment Facility Coordination (DGEF)
55. BodiesThe World Meteorological Organization and UNEP
established the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. UNEP is also one
of several Implementing Agencies for the Global
Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral
Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal
Protocol, and it is also a member of the United
Nations Development Group. The International
Cyanide Management Code, a program of best
practice for the chemical’s use at gold mining
operations, was developed under UNEP’s aegis.