Challenges, Key Issues and Perspectives
INTRODUCTION In natural resource and environmental matters sustainable use and conservation of natural resources require regimes and systems which focus on the prevention and control of environmental harm rather than on providing reparation for damage already suffered. The unsustainable use of natural resources has consequences which are difficult to quantify in economic terms and which are unsuitable for resolution by resorting to the channels of state responsibility or the imposition of fines or other sanctions. It is much more important that all parties involved agree to a regime which allows the sustainable use of resources without depleting them. Sustainable use, in turn, needs to be based on fair and equitable access to resources, and economic measures and incentives should be implemented together with the necessary safeguards in respect of the poor and vulnerable.1 Environmental damage is often subtle, cumulative and long term2 and therefore requires ‘equitable and preventative measures’.3 In order to have an effective system of compliance it is necessary to have an agreed system of rules and standards. The two are mutually and intrinsically connected. The more successful the agreement on standard setting, the more likely it is that parties will comply with the rules and the less the need for enforcement mechanisms. Strong governance institutions and forums for fostering agreement are the first step towards effective compliance mechanisms. Effective compliance mechanisms must also include provisions which enable enforcement of the regulatory regime, if necessary, by all interested affected parties.4 Natural resources regulation takes See chapter 2, ‘Sustainability’,...
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