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 13: Contribution of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights to sustainable development in Europe

Jonathan Verschuuren

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


The European Convention on Human Rights (hereafter: ECHR) can be seen as an instrument that promotes regional integration in two ways. First of all, the Convention is the basic legal instrument within the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe is an international organization that pre-dates, and should not be confused with, the European Union. It is aimed at promoting co-operation between all countries of (the wider) Europe in the areas of human rights, democratic development, protection of biodiversity and landscapes, and cultural co-operation. The Council of Europe (hereafter: CoE) has 47 member states, including such states as Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia, and six observer states, such as Japan and the United States. Besides the ECHR, most CoE member states are also bound by such environmental treaties as the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats and the European Landscape Convention. This chapter, however, will focus on the ECHR and especially on the case law by the European Court of Human Rights (hereafter: ECtHR). This Court is an institution of the CoE and is located in Strasbourg, France. Again, it should not be confused with the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which is an institution of the European Union. Second, the European Union, that other important international organization in Europe (see on the EU extensively, Chapter 11, this volume), recognizes the human rights laid down in the ECHR and currently is in the process of accession to the ECHR.

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