New Perspectives on Connecting Human Rights and the Environment
Title: New Perspectives on Connecting Human Rights and the Environment
Author: RIDDELL, Anna
Citation: Vasilka SANCIN and Masa KOVIC DINE (eds), International Environmental Law: Contemporary Concerns and Challenges, Ljubljana, GV Založba, 2012: Papers Presented at the First Contemporary Challenges of International Environmental Law Conference, Ljubljana, June 28-29, 2012, 131-151
ISBN: 9789612472191; 961247219X
In the 20th Century it became increasingly clear that a clean and healthy environment is the resource base for all life, and that this resource is inherently fragile and in need of protection. Human rights regimes have been innovative in connecting human rights and protection for environmental concerns despite the lack of mention of an explicit right in many treaties and conventions. Redress for environmental damage has often been achieved by clever judicial construction, linking it with substantive human rights which are provided for in regional treaties such as the ECHR. In addition, procedural rights pertaining to the environment are also developing at an increasing pace, at both global and regional levels, of which the Aarhus Convention is the most notable example. Further, there has been discussion on a substantive right to the environment, and although this had died down to some extent, in 2010 there was renewed vigour in attempts to codify the right, both at the United Nations and in the Council of Europe. The time is therefore ripe for a fresh scholarly examination of this topic. This paper briefly examines these connections before turning to an examination of the policy factors at work in this field and how they help or hinder the ever-growing connection, in order to understand how we might further develop and expand it to emerging new challenges, such as climate change and the problem of disappearing island states. The relationship must be clearly understood in order to develop the necessary mechanisms, laws and protections to guarantee socially and environmentally sustainable development.
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