Contribution of the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights to Sustainable Development in Europe

W. Scholtz, J. Verschuuren (ed.), Regional Integration and Sustainable Development in a Globalised World (Edward Elgar Publishers, 2014), Forthcoming

15 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2013

See all articles by Jonathan Verschuuren

Jonathan Verschuuren

Tilburg Sustainability Center; Tilburg University - Center for Transboundary Legal Development

Date Written: September 6, 2013

Abstract

This paper addresses the question in how far the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), through its case law on the human rights laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), has contributed to regional integration and sustainable development. Even without the recognition of an explicit right to environment in the ECHR, the Court rendered an impressive range of judgments in environmental cases through which it established a continent wide safety net protecting all Europeans against severe environmental pollution and through which it forces the authorities in 47 states to offer their citizens and NGOs procedural rights whenever the environment is at stake, assess the impact on the environment of their decisions, implement and enforce existing standards, and carry out domestic court rulings. The ECtHR case law did not lead to a harmonization of environmental standards across Europe, nor to the adoption of progressive environmental policies. For Europe, therefore, it seems that the EU’s approach towards sustainable development is a more promising road to travel. The EU’s impact on the environment has been far greater. Accession of more European states to the EU can, therefore, be considered a more fruitful approach to achieve sustainable development across the continent than relying on further expansion of the work of the ECtHR, for instance through the adoption of a specific right to a healthy or safe environment within the ECHR.

Keywords: human rights, access to justice, right to life, right to family life

JEL Classification: K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Verschuuren, Jonathan, Contribution of the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights to Sustainable Development in Europe (September 6, 2013). W. Scholtz, J. Verschuuren (ed.), Regional Integration and Sustainable Development in a Globalised World (Edward Elgar Publishers, 2014), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2321663

Jonathan Verschuuren (Contact Author)

Tilburg Sustainability Center ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, North Brabant 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31134668255 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/tsc

Tilburg University - Center for Transboundary Legal Development ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, NL-5000LE
Netherlands
0031134668255 (Phone)
0031134668347 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/?uid=j.m.verschuuren

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