The Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change responds to the profound crisis of human hierarchies now characterizing the climate crisis. The Declaration, initiated prior to the 2015 COP 21 meeting by scholars from the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE), is one of a convergence of initiatives reflecting the need to understand human rights as intrinsically threatened by climate change. This article introduces the Declaration, the necessity for it, its philosophical and legal background and its support by contemporary cases providing evidence of the escalating legal need for such a tool. A key aim of the Declaration is to trace out a potential normative approach for establishing responsibility towards the planet and redressing unevenly distributed vulnerabilities and climate injustices while recognizing that it is vital that respect for human rights should be understood as an indispensable element of any adequate approach to climate change. The Declaration strives to offer a compelling level of ethical appeal, as well as to be legally literate and philosophically rigorous. The drafting process engaged scholars and communities from across the world, prioritized indigenous involvement, and drew on indigenous ontologies and epistemologies. Newer philosophical approaches such as new materialist understandings of lively materiality also informed the drafting process. Accordingly, the language of the Declaration creates space for non-Western ways of seeing and being as well as responding to insights emerging from new scientific understandings of the world.
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Kirsten Davies, Sam Adelman, Anna Grear, Catherine Iorns Magallanes, Tom Kerns and S Ravi Rajan
Edited by Anna Grear
Kerryn Anne Brent
The customary law duty to prevent significant transboundary harm and harm to the global commons (‘no-harm’ rule) has developed considerably since it was first enunciated in the 1938/1941 Trail Smelter arbitration. This article reflects on this development and analyses what implications the 2015 Certain Activities case has for existing understandings of the no-harm rule. The International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s judgment provides greater clarity concerning procedural obligations flowing from the no-harm rule by establishing a positive obligation to ascertain risk and a sequence in which procedural obligations arise. However, it raises questions concerning the nature of the substantive obligation under the no-harm rule. Specifically, whether breach of the substantive obligation is subject to establishing that an activity has resulted in significant transboundary harm. The ambiguity in the Certain Activities case highlights the need to further clarify and develop the content of the no-harm rule to better enable it to contribute to the governance of contemporary transboundary and global environmental problems.
Edited by Ed Couzens and Tim Stephens
Peter H Sand
This article begins with an assessment of an elderly wildlife-related treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 1973 (CITES), and explains both how the convention was originally designed and how its Parties managed to develop it in innovative ways not envisaged by the original drafters. The article then turns to an assessment of the effectiveness of the convention in the modern world, and how an enforcement regime based on trade embargoes has been developed. This success, at least measured by indicators such as length of time it takes for states subject to sanctions to fall back into compliance, aside, the article then proceeds to question effectiveness as measured by indicators with less ‘high face validity’. Through close analysis of the history of trade embargoes, it is demonstrated that by and large it is developing countries that have been the subjects of sanctions under CITES. In view of recent enforcement issues (illustrated by current whaling in the North Pacific), the article concludes by highlighting the quality of trust which, it is argued, is a critical requirement that must underpin the international regime if there is to be true legitimacy and, ultimately, credibility.
The Political Economy of Conflict and Cooperation
Jeffrey D. Wilson
What explains the emergence of international resource conflicts in the Asia-Pacific during the last decade? This chapter first introduces the empirical scope of this book – providing a broad overview of the global resource boom of the 2000s, the resource security challenges it has posed, and emerging patterns of inter-governmental conflict these have engendered. It then reviews existing theoretical approaches to international resource politics, outlining how these fail to move beyond the systemic level to probe the wider range of factors at both the international and domestic levels driving government’s policy behaviour. It argues that to adequately explain these dynamics, it is necessary to examine why resource interdependence has become a securitised policy domain, and the political-economic factors driving this shift.
Climate, justice and displacement: reflections on law, policy and the future of human rights in the climate crisis
Edited by Jeanette Schade and Dimitra Manou
Elizabeth Ferris and Jonas Bergmann
This article explores alternative ways that legal and normative frameworks can be used to uphold the rights of those who are displaced internally or across borders in the context of anthropogenic climate change. In particular, we argue that more efforts should be focused on developing soft law rather than trying to fit those displaced because of the effects of climate change into existing legal frameworks. The present hard law system governing the movement of people is not equipped to handle the complexities of population movements resulting from the effects of climate change, and an adequate transformation of these often static legal regimes is improbable. By contrast, soft law offers a number of advantages particularly well suited to the characteristics of those who move because of the effects of climate change and who currently fall into the gaps between protection frameworks. On the downside, soft law norms are not binding and the multiplicity of such initiatives may contribute to a fragmentation of protection systems, resources and attention. Therefore, the present article concludes by arguing for a two-track approach in which both soft and hard law contributes to the protection of those displaced in the context of climate change. On the one hand, in order to address some of the current protection gaps, existing, emergent and new soft law needs to be used and implemented more thoroughly. At the same time, ways forward also include encouraging the more effective and dynamic implementation of hard law, especially through regionalization, complementary protection and the deployment of some features of emerging climate change regimes.