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.
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Elizabeth Ferris and Jonas Bergmann
Edited by Jeanette Schade and Dimitra Manou
The maintenance of international peace and security is the very first purpose of the United Nations. The International Court of Justice, the single most important source of international jurisprudence in this area, has a clear understanding of this goal and of its role in achieving it. From the landmark Corfu Channel case to the seminal Nicaragua case and afterwards, the International Court of Justice has developed a sustainable case law on the use of force in international law, in which the Nicaragua case endures as the single pre-eminent judgment. This chapter considers three key aspects established by the Court’s case law — the illegality of unilateral uses of force by states, the necessary threshold for a use of force to give rise to an entitlement to self-defense, and the complementarity of action by United Nations organs in this field. KEYWORDS: peace and security judgments, International Court of Justice, Nicaragua case, use of force, aggression, self-defense
Although the no-harm principle has been identified as the cornerstone of international environmental law, it has not generally been recognized as a central feature of international climate change governance. Enduring disagreements as to the relevant normative principles to international cooperation have long plagued international climate change negotiations. This article highlights the general legal and political relevance of the no-harm principle in relation to climate change, including the responsibility of states for breaking this principle. It thus suggests that the climate regime should be framed as a regime recognizing obligations and responsibilities rather than a regime of voluntary participation and assistance. The article includes a detailed account of the reception of the no-harm principle in climate negotiations, a response to three likely objections to the relevance of the no-harm principle, and some reflections on a possible, realistic interpretation of the no-harm principle in relation to climate change.