International Environmental Law at its Semicentennial: The Stockholm Legacy

6 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2022

Date Written: October 8, 2021


The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment produced the Stockholm Declaration, an environmental manifesto that forcefully declared a human right to environmental health and birthed the field of modern international environmental law. The historic event powerfully “dramatized . . . the unity and fragility of the biosphere,” sparking a remarkable period of international legal innovation and cooperation on environmental protection in the decades to come.

The Stockholm Declaration can be rightly celebrated for putting environmental issues on the international legal agenda and driving the development of environmental law at the domestic level around the world. At the same time, the Declaration’s distinctive framing of environmental problems and solutions deeply influenced these abundant subsequent laws, and here its legacy is mixed. This special issue, in celebration of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law’s 50th anniversary volume, evaluates the legacy of the Stockholm Declaration and the legal movement it launched.

Keywords: International Environmental Law, Stockholm Declaration, Human Rights

JEL Classification: K33, K32

Suggested Citation

Durkee, Melissa (MJ), International Environmental Law at its Semicentennial: The Stockholm Legacy (October 8, 2021). Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 50, No. 3, 2022, University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN:

Melissa (MJ) Durkee (Contact Author)

Washington University School of Law ( email )

One Brookings Drive
MSC 1120-250-258
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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