Transregional Comparative Lessons in Pursuit of Sustainable Development
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Werner Scholtz and Jonathan Verschuuren
Chapter 6: Introduction to environmental law in the Americas
Several international organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), have been called on to help protect the world’s natural patrimony by serving as forums for the development of environmental law and policies. In order to achieve this goal these organizations have been providing information, strengthening countries’ management capabilities, facilitating policy development and contributing to the promotion and enforcement of international environmental legislation. This chapter reviews the development of environmental law in the Americas within the framework of the OAS, and assesses the region’s environmental challenges as well as the normative instruments and initiatives that it has implemented to address these challenges. Further, this chapter presents the existing mechanisms available to guarantee environmental rights within the Inter-American System. Finally, the chapter reviews several cases of environment-related controversies in the Americas.2. The OAS was established as an international organization to, among other things, promote peace and justice, strengthen collaboration and to defend the territorial integrity of its Member States. The essential purposes of the Organization rely on the principles of social justice, respect for cultural values and economic cooperation as the basis for lasting peace, security and welfare for the peoples of the Americas. Sound environmental governance is at the center of these ambitious goals and principles. Moreover, the full democratic development of the peoples of the Americas depends in great measure on their ability to protect the environment and ensure the sound use of its natural endowment.
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