Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Adelle Blackett and Anne Trebilcock
Chapter 4: A ‘dialogic’ approach in perspective
A ‘dialogic’ approach, characterized by the involvement of various non-State actors in decision-making processes, is becoming increasingly prevalent in different areas of international law. Important parallels exist between transnational labour law, emphasizing social dialogue, with the dialogic approaches that have emerged in other fields of international law. The tripartism of the International Labour Organization (ILO), for example, is an important feature. But the dialogic approach is also evident in the public participation guarantees in international environmental law, which are also continually developed through the ILO’s Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 1989 (No 169), the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development of 1992, the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (‘Aarhus Convention’), and the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources adopted under the aegis of the African Union. International human rights law has similarly begun to require that indigenous populations be consulted when they are affected by works related to natural resources such as, for example, in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Belo Monte Dam case, the Endorois Welfare Council v Kenya case, through impact assessment procedures, and in Tătar v Romania. Social responsibility mechanisms, although they should not be perceived as convenient means of averting traditional obligations, have also promoted the approach, especially the Global Compact. The predominant challenge for dialogic approaches is in their legitimacy, which can be bolstered through attentiveness to the principles of inclusiveness, transparency, public participation and access to information.
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