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Naysa Ahuja, Carl Bruch, Arnold Kreilhuber, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema and John Pendergrass

Abstract Human rights can be achieved only through a rule of law that advances environmental protection. Environmental rule of law is a set of environmental governance mechanisms, principles, and practices that hold all entities equally accountable to publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated laws that are consistent with international norms and standards for sustaining the planet. Environmental rule of law enhances environmental governance by linking environmental sustainability with fundamental rights and obligations. This entry frames environmental rule of law concepts and principles, and explores its linkages with both substantive and procedural rights. It discusses how these linkages make environmental rule of law a touchstone for advancing and operationalizing a broad range of human rights related to the environment. Referring to global trends and specific illustrations, the chapter examines three key ways that environmental rule of law can advance the human rights and environment discourse. First, it focuses governmental, civil society, private sector, and international attention on implementation and enforcement of existing environmental protections and requirements essential to realizing a number of human rights. Second, it seeks to improve the institutional practice of respecting and enforcing environmental rights by strengthening capacity, accountability, and policies. Third, it fosters the political will to implement and enforce existing rights and legal requirements. As a way forward, the chapter explores mechanisms for strengthening the environmental rule of law, including through its contribution to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.