Evolving Issues of International Law and Policy
NUS Centre for International Law series
Edited by S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh, Robert Beckman and Hao Duy Phan
Chapter 5: Environmental impact assessment in preventing transboundary river pollution under international law: an analysis
Fresh water is an important resource for riparian countries, not only for the daily life of the public, but also for agricultural irrigation and hydroelectric power production. Clean, fresh water is also essential to the protection of the ecosystem and conservation of the river basins. With economic development, rivers have been increasingly utilised and exploited, creating crises and debate among the riparian countries regarding issues of pollution risk and environmental protection. Effective pollution prevention and control requires political willingness and cooperation and good faith implementation of specific legal frameworks at the domestic level. Among the legal frameworks established by States’ practice, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) mechanism is increasingly important and necessary in regulating the use of transboundary rivers. This chapter examines the legal roles and application of the EIA principle from the perspective of international law by analysing the practice of international dispute settlement relating to transboundary rivers, with the objective of developing suggestions for pollution control measures along the Lancang–Mekong River by the riparian countries in the context of the rapid development of the hydropower industry.
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