An enduring challenge to international environmental law is to facilitate the resolution of environmental problems faster than they are being caused. Prominent among potential foundations for substantive international environmental law to this end are (a) neoclassical economic theory (NET) and (b) distributive justice and deliberative democratic theories. Building upon existing critique, this paper makes two broad arguments. The first is that despite the influence of NET's market-based prescriptions, solutions lie not in introducing and extending the privatization and pricing of nature, but instead in subsuming markets within an expanded and enriched public sphere that is characterized inter alia by decentralized, deliberative democratic decision-making. This contention suggests a need to reform substantive environmental law that is informed by NET. The second argument made is that limitations, in particular, of the deliberative democratic approach to environmental problems (e.g., prospects of achieving consensus on natural resource use and the efficacy of any consensus that might be reached) may be overcome by combining it with common key resource control – to put it crudely, by combining meaningful political with economic democracy. This revised foundation would offer a potentially viable foundation for IEL. It also offers guidance for incipient efforts to democratize environmental regulation.
Soeren Keil and Paul Anderson
This chapter examines the increasing use of decentralization as a tool of conflict resolution. Starting from the point that there has been an increase of intrastate conflicts in the post-Cold War era, it highlights how different forms of decentralization have been used in order to bring warring parties together, provide autonomy for certain groups and ensure a fair distribution of resources. While the logic behind using decentralization as a conflict resolution tool might seem obvious, it is not without its challenges. In particular, evidence from numerous case studies suggests that decentralization mainly works if connected to other forms of power sharing such as grand coalitions and minority veto rights. In addition, decentralization might lay the foundation for further calls for autonomy and ultimately might lead some groups to declare independence and secede. Yet, as the chapter points out, often there are no viable alternatives to decentralization in violent intrastate conflict.