Unilateralism and Environmental Protection: Issues of Perception and Reality of Issues
24 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2001 Last revised: 25 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 4, 2012
Unilateralism is a notion devoid of legal meaning per se, but provides a prism or conceptual tool through which international activities may be apprehended and subsequently allocated their place in the international legal order. Unilateralism is nonetheless harnessed by the law and at times its applications infringe the law. Having first questioned the novelty of the unilateralism/environment debate, this article proceeds to consider two aspects of unilateral behaviour of particular interest today: the 'policy forging' facet and the 'implementation or enforcement' facet of unilateral acts. The first deals with the manner in which unilateral acts shape legal outcomes in the environmental context, whilst consideration of the second facet concentrates on how legally required outcomes are avoided, mitigated or re-interpreted by legal arguments (such as the state of necessity), which are vehicled by, or manifest themselves in the form of, unilateral acts.
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