Contemporary Issues in International Environmental Law
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Contemporary Issues in International Environmental Law

Malgosia Fitzmaurice

The central aim of this insightful book is to illuminate how many concepts in international environmental law such as the precautionary principle and sustainable development are taken for granted. These problematic issues are very much still evolving and subject to heated debate between scholars as well as between states.
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Chapter 5: Conclusions

Malgosia Fitzmaurice


It is not easy to draw general conclusions on a book which consists of essays on various subjects. However, the main idea of the book was to show how many concepts are taken for granted, such as the precautionary principle or the concept of sustainable development, which are in fact still evolving and cause controversy and very heated discussions between scholars and between States. Therefore, many views which purport to be definitive answers to contemporary issues express only one view on the problem. However, these controversies have to be viewed as a positive development of international environmental law, which is not static but in a constant state of flux. It is not just State practice which is constantly evolving, but the jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals which clarifies and crystallizes the concepts of international environmental law, at the general background of international law, such as the Biotech products case before the WTO, which made certain statements on the precautionary principle and the 2006 Order of the ICJ in the Pulp Mills case (Argentina v. Uruguay), which made pronouncements on the concept of sustainable development. Mention must also be made of human rights courts, such as the ECtHR, the case law of which made a very important contribution to the understanding of the connection between human rights and the environment and the concept of the so-called right to a clean (decent) environment. International environmental law also influenced the development of general international law. Several topics undertaken by the International Law...

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