'Securing Environmental, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (EESCRS) in Southern Africa: Challenges and Opportunities
29 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2010
Date Written: September 21, 2009
In this paper I discuss broadly the context of environmental, economic, social and cultural rights, analysing particularly the connections and synergies between these rights, and their potential to promote sustainable use of natural resources, and therefore development in Southern Africa. In the next section I trace the conceptual history, content and scope of economic, social, and cultural rights (“ESCRs”) and then in the third part I show how these got intertwined with environmental rights in a complimentary role. Part four discusses the challenges being faced in promoting, protecting and fulfilling EESCRs in Southern Africa, and Africa broadly; and then in the fifth part I offer possible solutions that can see an improvement in the protection of EESCRs. I conclude the paper by highlighting issues that need further study and that can be pursued by public interest environmental organisations. So what exactly do we mean by social, economic, and cultural rights? Is there a shared understanding of the scope and legal content of these rights? Should these rights be the subject of legal protection or rather should we leave them to policy makers and politicians who are mandated with the task of governing and distributing resources as they deem fit? What is it that law and the courts can do to ensure effective fulfilment of these rights?
Keywords: Environmental rights, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, social and economoc rights, justiciability, natural resources governance
JEL Classification: 131, K32, N57, 013, Q20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation