Legal Pluralism, Customary Law and Environmental Management: The Role of International Law for the South Pacific
Macquarie University Law School Legal Studies Working Paper No. 2010-01
23 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2010
Date Written: January 31, 2010
The recognition of customary law is supported by international law, the idea of legal pluralism and concepts of sustainable development and environmental justice. It has been acknowledged that customary laws and traditional practices relating to environmental management have much to offer in terms of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of natural resources and establishment of sustainable livelihoods. Many community-based environmental management initiatives in the South Pacific region involve customary laws and traditional practices. But the majority of these initiatives are localised and there remains a disconnect between legal instruments and action at the international level and the community-based environmental management projects operating on the ground. Greater interconnectedness is needed in order to scale up these local initiatives and ensure good environmental governance. This paper considers the international law and international environmental law instruments that address Indigenous customary law and Indigenous involvement in conservation and sustainable use of resources. The way forward is explored and suggestions made as to how international law could better address the needs of the South Pacific island nations through engagement with the issue of legal pluralism and establishment of a global and/or regional institution.
Keywords: Customary Law, International Law, Environmental Law, Legal Pluralism, South Pacific, Indigenous Peoples
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