Principle of Sustainable Development in International Environmental Law
15 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 22, 2012
Recently there has been a growing concern for the environment. A number of International Conventions and bodies like the International Organizations, the Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) have emphasized significantly that environment needs to be protected. Similarly the States have reflected this in the domestic legislations. This concern over the environment can also be seen in case of Gabcíkovo-Nagymaros Projects (Hungary v Slovakia), which was the international dispute brought before the International Court of Justice (the court). The case involved the issues surrounding the international environmental law and international watercourse law were considered. The court was presented with the opportunity to consider the legal status of principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principles and the environmental impact assessment. Unfortunately, the majority of the court declined to do so. However, there was a separate opinion of Judge Weeramantry, who gave a considerable weight to these issues.
There will be three parts for discussion; the sustainable development, the precautionary principle and the environmental impact assessment. This is because the sustainable development is considered as a major principle in the international environmental law. Other two principles, which are the precautionary principle and the environmental impact assessment, are considered as the means of contribution on the sustainable development. In each of these, the legal status of each principle under the international law will be examined. The analysis will also be made from the opinion of the court and the separate opinion of Judge Weeramantry about the impacts on the development of each principle, which these opinions may have on.
Keywords: sustainable development, international law, environmental impact assessment
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