Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse
General principles of international environmental law provide the theoretical foundation for the development of normative frameworks in international law. In the waste management context, five general principles are particularly relevant: the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources and the duty not to cause transboundary harm; the principle of preventive action; the corresponding principle of cooperation; the principle of sustainable development; and the precautionary principle. Operationalization of these principles in the waste context has led to the development of new principles, such as those of self-sufficiency, proximity, waste minimization, environmentally sound management and prior informed consent, all of which are further operationalized in the detailed rules set out in the Basel Convention and other treaties dealing with waste management. This chapter examines the interpretation and application of these general principles and the role they have played in the development of the international legal regime for the management and transboundary movement of waste.