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Research Handbook on International Environmental Law

Research Handbook on International Environmental Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Malgosia Fitzmaurice, David M. Ong and Panos Merkouris

This wide-ranging and comprehensive Handbook examines recent developments in international environmental law (IEL) and the crossover effects of this expansion on other areas of international law, such as trade law and the law of the sea.

Chapter 4: Environment and Development: Friends or Foes in the 21st Century?

Paolo Galizzi and Alena Herklotz

Subjects: environment, environmental law, environmental sociology, law - academic, environmental law, public international law


Paolo Galizzi and Alena Herklotz Introduction Indira Gandhi’s address at the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, remains as valid today, if not more so: We do not wish to impoverish the environment any further and yet we cannot forget the grim poverty of large numbers of people. Are not poverty and need the greatest polluters? How can we speak to those who live in villages and in slums about keeping the oceans, the rivers, and the air clean when their own lives are contaminated at the source? The environment cannot be improved in conditions of poverty. Nor can poverty be eradicated without the use of science and technology. (Ntambirweki, 1990–1: 905–6)1 This chapter will explore the complex and dynamic evolution of the relationship between the environment and development in international law and policy. In the past 30 years, environmental protection has received increasing attention in the international community, while efforts to aid and facilitate the development of the poorer nations of the world have been ongoing since the latter half of the twentieth century. The global nature of many environmental problems sparked ever growing demands for international cooperation; however, concerns are consistently voiced, particularly in the developing world, that interest in and commitment to environmental issues detracts international focus and resources from the, arguably more immediate, economic and social needs of the less developed countries. Some have gone so far as to characterize conservation efforts as hostile to development, accusing their proponents...

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