Edited by Jordi Jaria-Manzano and Susana Borrás
Chapter 10: Climate change as a common concern of humankind: some reflections on the international law-making process
Climate change has emerged as one of the pre-eminent environmental challenges at a global level. Its characterization as a ‘common concern’ of humankind by the United Nations General Assembly (Res A/RES/43/53 of 1988) has brought it to special attention in the international law-making process. Endeavours over the past three decades provide us with some lessons in normative process at work to address this crucial issue. The incorporation of criteria of ‘differentiation’ in the regulatory technique enshrined in the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is significant in the climate context. But has the 2015 Paris Agreement diluted this key characteristic of the climate change regime? The uniqueness of the climate change challenge raises questions as regards the largely ‘transboundary’ context in which inter-governmental negotiations on environmental issues take place. The processes at work, as well as the tools, techniques and terminology used and the institutional framework within which these processes take place, provide lessons for the development of a larger corpus of multilateral environmental agreements designed in the ‘framework convention’ mode, and for their utility and effectiveness in achieving their objectives. Can any specific pattern in the international law-making process be discerned? It is in this context that the chapter seeks to examine some legal issues.
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