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Edited by Susan C. Breau and Katja L.H. Samuel

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Mary Crock

Disasters are not equal in their impact. The very old, the very young, the sick, the wounded, person with disabilities and, in some circumstances, women and minority groups, can face particular and acute challenges. This chapter explores how international law has responded to vulnerability in emergency situations. The genesis and evolution of legal norms governing the protection of various groups of vulnerable people in disaster situations are explored. The chapter is organized around two main arguments. First, relevant international legal norms are very much work in progress, having developed first in response to human conflict and epidemics. Legal norms and practices to govern responses to natural disasters are recent and ill-defined. Secondly, international human rights law has moved away from charity, paternalist and medical models of protection towards a rights-based framework for all vulnerable groups – from women and children through persons with disabilities to minority groups.

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Edited by Susan C. Breau and Katja L.H. Samuel

International law’s role in governing disasters is undergoing a formative period in its development and reach, in parallel with concerted efforts by the international community to respond more effectively to the increasing number and intensity of disasters across the world. This Research Handbook examines a broad range of legal regimes directly and indirectly relevant to disaster prevention, mitigation and reconstruction across a spectrum of natural and manmade disasters, including armed conflict.
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Stefano Silingardi

If the shift in perception of companies as major stakeholders and strategic partners in multiple aspects of disaster relief and response activities is now reasonably well advanced, the normative and functional frameworks surrounding the private sector engagement are less so. This chapter aims to analyse, first, the many gaps, weaknesses and loopholes that still exist, both in international law, regional law and domestic law frameworks concerning the legal treatment of businesses as assisting actors. Additionally, the necessity to set up an international coordination mechanism will be taken into account in order for companies to be fully integrated into the humanitarian system; as well as the requirement that the voluntary approach so far followed by private actors through codes of conduct, best practices and standards be replaced by the establishment of corporate guidelines and/or that a set of binding principles on business engagement in disaster response be adopted.

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Susan C. Breau

This chapter considers the responsibility of states for preventing, responding to and rebuilding after natural or man-made disasters. An equal focus is the international law obligations that bind states in these circumstances. It argues that the three phases of the responsibility to protect can lend detail to state obligations in the event of disasters both domestically and with respect to the international community. It considers the responsibility to protect as a complement to the International Law Commission’s ‘Articles for the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters’ and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ International Disaster Response Law, Rules and Principles. Finally, the chapter examines the applicability of the emerging doctrine of ‘aggravated state responsibility’ when a state is unwilling or unable to provide disaster relief to its own citizens.

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Tade Oyewunmi

The role of energy as well as the reliability and security of energy networks is increasingly becoming more critical to modern economic and social developments. The global reliance on energy and the interdependence of related infrastructure nationally, regionally and internationally, underscores the implications of conflict, crisis or disaster situations for reliable energy supplies. Generally, energy security comprises the economic and commercial guaranty of demand and supply of energy resources. Equally and increasingly essential is the safeguarding of infrastructure and facilities used for the production and supply of such resources from risks linked to unresolved conflicts, unmitigated crisis or disaster events. The aim of this chapter is to identify and discuss the relationship between conflicts, crises and disasters on the one hand and security of energy supplies globally on the other hand. It focuses on issues relating to the policy and regulatory aspects of safeguarding critical energy (especially oil and gas) infrastructure and supplies by identifying relevant developments in key regions and countries.

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Tahmina Karimova

It has long been established that sustainable development and disasters are closely interlinked at the policy and institutional levels. The focus of this article is to identify the legal issues raised by interoperability between disasters and sustainable development. In particular, the chapter charts the parameters of sustainable development law that are relevant to the context of disasters. In doing so, it identifies that international and regional documents had already prefigured the framework of action to the development and disasters intersection through the lens of prevention. Therefore, legal principles and rules of prevention and cooperation to that effect, as developed in sustainable development law, and more concretely in environmental law, have played an important role in the systematization of rules relevant to the disaster context, and ultimately to the formation of the disaster law.

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Edited by Susan C. Breau and Katja L.H. Samuel

This content is available to you

Edited by Susan C. Breau and Katja L.H. Samuel

You do not have access to this content

Marie Aronsson-Storrier and Haythem Salama

Contaminated water poses significant challenges to human life and development, and water crises are now being considered as one of the main global risks for the coming decade. In light of recent initiatives such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, the Sustainable Development Goals 2015–2030, and the acknowledgment by the UN General Assembly of the rights to water and sanitation, this chapter examines some of the principal global challenges posed by water contamination through the lens of disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and international human rights law. It finds that water contamination functions as a powerful illustration of how these three areas of international law complement and reinforce each other, and that the links between them should be further explored and developed by actors seeking to address the significant problems caused by the pollution of water.