Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law

Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Alexander Gillespie

This important and timely book provides a rigorous overview of the defining issues presently facing conservation at international level. The author provides detailed coverage of topics ranging from the classification of species right through to access and benefit sharing, drawing on his personal experience at intergovernmental level. Each question is examined through the prism of dozens of treaties and hundreds of decisions and resolutions of the key multilateral regimes, and the law in each area is supplemented by the necessary considerations of science, politics and philosophy – providing much-needed context for the reader.

Chapter 16: Management

Alexander Gillespie

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law

Extract

1. INTRODUCTION This chapter is about the management of species and protected areas, and the rules that have evolved in international conservation law to assist this goal. This is an important topic because, in a modern context, the success of conservation objectives is often directly linked to the management tools that decision makers should utilize. These tools are the ecosystem approach, the precautionary principle, and the use of environmental impact assessments. When dealing with protected areas, the management tools relate to the boundaries, size, buffer zones, networks and corridors, management and action plans. 2. THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE (A) The precautionary principle and international law Principle 15 of the 1992 Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development stated: In order to protect the environment the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. This principle, despite its relative simplicity, has been the subject of endless debate. The debates are over exactly what the principle means and how to apply it in all fields of international conservation law. Dealing with risk is already an established area of international conservation law.1 The traditional way to manage risk was based upon the assumption 1 Risk analysis is related to determining the probability of an adverse effect and the severity of that effect, and scientific uncertainty is part and parcel of these...

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