Managing Abidance by Standards for the Protection of the Environment

Jorge E. Viñuales

in Realizing Utopia

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691661
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738593 | DOI:
Managing Abidance by Standards for the Protection of the Environment

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There are two core ideas underpinning international environmental law, namely ‘prevention’ and ‘balance’. The idea of prevention is enshrined in an array of principles such as those of no-harm, prevention, precaution, cooperation, prior informed consent, and environmental impact assessment which, in turn, can be found at the basis of many multilateral environmental agreements. The basic message carried by these principles is that environmental damage may be irreversible. Therefore, it is of vital importance to foster compliance with environmental standards, through monitoring and other means, rather than to determine responsibility through an adjudication mechanism once damage has occurred. The main focus of a judicious reformer should be on strengthening the means to monitor, facilitate, and manage compliance, as well as to carve out sufficient space for environmental considerations to be taken into account in specialized adjudication mechanisms. Four principal avenues are suggested for action to enhance compliance with environmental standards.

Keywords: international environmental law; compliance; environmental standards; environmental damage; compliance

Chapter.  7419 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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