Sustainable Development in International Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, ‘Sustainable Development’, in L. Rajamani, J. Peel (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (Oxford University Press, 2nd edn. 2019)

23 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2019

Date Written: December 29, 2018

Abstract

Sustainable development is the main concept underpinning our policy response to the environmental crisis the world faces. As such, it is pervasive in all sorts of documents, writings and discourse, including legal ones and, within the latter, international legal instruments. Its ubiquitous character is only matched by its vagueness; and its vagueness is a deliberate choice driven by its function, which is to rally rather than to divide. This paper examines the concept of sustainable development specifically from the perspective of international law. It investigates three main aspects:

(1) the conceptual history of sustainable development;

(2) the legal meaning attached to this concept; and, on the basis of these two aspects, also

(3) the nature, functions and practical operation of sustainable development in international legal practice.

Keywords: sustainable development, principles of international environmental law, SDGs, international court of justice, 2030 agenda for sustainable development

Suggested Citation

Vinuales, Jorge E., Sustainable Development in International Law (December 29, 2018). Jorge E. Viñuales, ‘Sustainable Development’, in L. Rajamani, J. Peel (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (Oxford University Press, 2nd edn. 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3307841

Jorge E. Vinuales (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

19 Silver Street
Cambridge
United Kingdom

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