Research Handbook on Law, Environment and the Global South
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Research Handbook on Law, Environment and the Global South

Edited by Philippe Cullet and Sujith Koonan

This comprehensive Research Handbook offers an innovative analysis of environmental law in the global South and contributes to an important reassessment of some of its major underlying concepts. The Research Handbook discusses areas rarely prioritized in environmental law, such as land rights, and underlines how these intersect with issues including poverty, livelihoods and the use of natural resources, challenging familiar narratives around development and sustainability in this context and providing new insights into environmental justice.
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Chapter 5: Environmental rights in the Global South

Louis J. Kotzé and Evadne Grant


In this chapter we reflect on the role of human rights as part of the juridical toolbox to mediate the human-environment interface. Our point of departure is that adverse socio-ecological impacts disproportionally affect the lives and livelihoods of those least able to withstand or adapt to these impacts, including, in particular, communities and individuals living in the Global South. It is within this context of deepening global injustice that human rights emerge, as they have in the past, as a central, but imperfect, component of the juridical framework necessary to address the myriad socio-economic and ecological injustices that arise in the Anthropocene. Our central thesis is that human rights will continue to play an important role as part of the constitutional and broader legal interventions that are needed to determine and ultimately ensure socio-ecological security and justice in the Anthropocene, especially for those living in the Global South. What would be crucial in applying, improving on and further extending the environmental human rights paradigm in this endeavor, is to identify their shortcomings, to address these and, ultimately, to use the broad range of environmental human rights to their fullest effect.

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