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 16: International energy policy for development: human rights and sustainable development law imperatives

Thoko Kaime


Energy is critical to all aspects of human development. This chapter argues that energy is related to sustainable development in three ways: (a) energy as a necessity for meeting basic human needs; (b) energy as a source of environmental stress; and (c) energy as a key driver of macroeconomic growth. These three dimensions correspond to the sustainable development tripod: environmental, economic, and social. The chapter discusses how international law deals with the challenges of energy access in sustainable development and how it ultimately guides decision-making in energy investments. The basic goals of international energy policy are well suited to delivering sustainable energy outcomes but this requires articulating and deploying a legal framework that can guide disparate energy investments and innovations along a sustainable pathway. An overarching theme that emerges is that a robust framework on energy for development must have, at its centre, a human rights and sustainable development focus.

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