Sustainable Development in International Law Making and Trade

Sustainable Development in International Law Making and Trade

International Food Governance and Trade in Agriculture

Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi

This timely book provides an accessible insight into how the concept of sustainable development can be made operational through its translation into legal terms. Understood as a multidimensional legal principle, sustainable development facilitates coherent international law making. Using this notion as an analytical lens on the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, the book considers the unresolved question of what a sustainable and coherent agricultural trade agreement could look like.

Introduction and overview

Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi

Subjects: development studies, law and development, environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, international economic law, trade law, law and development

Extract

For more than two decades, the concept of sustainable development has surrounded international decision and law making. Since the initial appearance of the concept in the late 1980s – claiming the integration of the social, economic, environmental and future dimension of development – international public law has been recognized as fragmented. As a result, the discourse of multilateral treaties has gradually evolved to include the following imperatives: the treaties should, henceforth, be legally coherent, mutually supportive and provide for an enabling environment. Two decades later, these imperatives have yet to be put into action. The outcome document of the Rio+20 conferences, The Future We Want, rightly reiterates the still prevalent ‘need for an enabling environment at the national and international level’. While this document indeedincludes a list of necessary measures for each dimension of development and even contains innovative proposals for the alternative measuring of progress, it does not provide guidance on how to interrelate the various dimensions systematically and on how to approach ‘legal coherence’ in a structured way.