Regional Environmental Law

Regional Environmental Law

Transregional Comparative Lessons in Pursuit of Sustainable Development

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Edited by Werner Scholtz and Jonathan Verschuuren

The core focus of this timely volume is to ascertain how regional environmental law may contribute to the pursuit of global sustainable development. Leading scholars critically analyze the ways in which states may pool sovereignty to find solutions to environmental problems, presenting a comparative legal analysis of the manner in which the AU, EU, OAS and ASEAN deal with the issues of climate change, human rights and the environment.

Chapter 7: The contribution of the Inter-American human rights system to sustainable development

Anna Meijknecht

Subjects: development studies, law and development, environment, environmental law, law - academic, comparative law, environmental law, law and development


The Inter-American system was not intended ‘to solve all the problems faced by the Americas, or to the replacement of [sic] the States’ role in the protection of human rights and the environment’. The human rights system of the Inter-American Organization of American States (hereinafter: ‘OAS’ or ‘Inter-American system’) is primarily a human rights system focused on the strict application of the provision of the American Declaration and of the American Convention. ‘Consequently’, as pointed out by Mazzuoli and Teixeira, ‘the process of greening of the Inter-American system requires the observation of an indirect reflex pathway technique, which consists in demonstrating the interconnections between an environmental issue and violations of the OAS instruments’. This chapter aims to describe and analyse such ‘interconnecting’ aspects in the main legal instruments of the OAS human rights system and in the case-law of the Inter-American human rights bodies, in order to determine how the Inter-American human rights system contributes to sustainable development in this region of the world. After a short introduction to the human rights bodies of the OAS, section 2 will consider the standards in OAS legal instruments which relate to the protection of the environment and, in particular, will assess the effect of Article 29 ACHR – the ‘dialogue’ or ‘catapult’ Article. Subsequently, section 3 will explore the scope and the ‘interconnecting’ effect of Article 44 ACHR establishing a broad ius standi before the Inter-American Commission.

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