Environmental Principles and Change in International Law and Politics
Chapter 1: Introduction
INTRODUCTION Environmental principles are commonly used in international politics amongst a variety of actors including states, non-governmental organisations and multi-national corporations.1 In an empirically based study of global business regulation, which extended to environmental issues, Braithwaite and Drahos suggested that a significant volume of negotiations internationally is carried out using principles.2 Others like Kiss and Shelton write that ‘[p]rinciples are widely used in international environmental law, perhaps more than in any other field of international law’.3 Sands has also suggested that the environmental principles in his list have received broad, ‘if not necessarily universal, support and are frequently endorsed in practice’.4 Interestingly, and despite the obvious importance of environmental principles at the international level, there is as yet no instrument binding under international law which sets out the general principles of international environmental law and politics.5 Historically, the Declaration that was 1 See for instance Nicolas de Sadeleer, Environmental Principles: From Political Slogans to Legal Rules (2005), who at 258 comments that environmental law is strongly ‘marked by the presence of principles compared with other legal disciplines’. 2 John Braithwaite and Peter Drahos, Global Business Regulation (2000) 29. 3 Alexandre Kiss and Dinah Shelton, International Environmental Law (3rd ed, 2004) 203. Nagendra Singh, a former President of the International Court of Justice, went as far as to suggest that sustainable development as an environmental principle was a peremptory norm in international law which no treaty or customary practice could breach: see Nagendra Singh, ‘Sustainable development as a principle of...