The Paris Agreement is the first climate treaty to include a reference to traditional knowledge, opening up a new legal frontier to address this complex subject in international law. Traditional knowledge has already been the subject of considerable regulatory developments in international environmental and human rights instruments. This article reflects on how these bodies of law treat traditional knowledge, with the objective of understanding what are the gaps that could and should be addressed in the context of the climate regime. The article is divided into four parts. The introduction outlines the article's structure and methodology. provides a definition of traditional knowledge and identifies the international law questions it raises. analyses existing international obligations on traditional knowledge in environmental and human rights law. considers the interplay between the climate regime and the bodies of international law analysed in . The conclusion offers some recommendations on the treatment of traditional knowledge in the climate regime.
Alan Boyle, Jacques Hartmann and Annalisa Savaresi
Since the adoption of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), international climate change law-making has chiefly been the prerogative of the treaty bodies established under the Convention and its Protocol. The adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 is an important step forward, but it is still too early to tell whether it will deliver an effective and successful intergovernmental process for tackling climate change. Given the urgency of climate change and the glacial pace of multilateral climate law-making, the idea of exploiting the United Nations Security Council’s legislative and enforcement powers to lead global efforts on climate change maintains a significant appeal. This chapter focuses on the use of the Council’s legislative and enforcement powers to help states get out of the climate change law-making quagmire. First, the chapter analyses the powers and practice of the Council both as a global legislator, and in enforcing states’ obligations. Second, the chapter considers how existing Council law-making and enforcement powers can be applied to climate change. The chapter concludes by reflecting on advantages and disadvantages of Council’s legislative and enforcement action in relation to climate change.