Constitutional Protection for Environmental Rights: The Benefits of Environmental Process
International Journal of Peace Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2012
10 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2014
Date Written: 2012
More and more constitutions around the world -- from Bangladesh to Bolivia, and from the Philippines to the countries of the EU -- are explicitly protecting environmental rights and the values of a clean and healthy environment. In many instances, environmental rights are recognized not as substantive entitlements (which would allow litigants to sue if the government polluted their rivers or clearcut their forests), but as procedural rights. Examples of procedural rights include imposing on governments the obligation to consult with communities before they take actions that will affect their environment or giving individuals the right to participate in governmental processes that will affect their environment. While procedural rights do not guarantee a particular outcome, they may be more effective in preventing environmental degradation. This paper assesses the efficacy of these procedural constitutional environmental protections and seeks to determine whether procedural rights can be more efficacious than substantive environmental rights.
Keywords: environmental law, environmental rights, human rights, constitutional law, constitutions
JEL Classification: K10, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation