Environmental protection in customary international law

Author:
Jorge E. Viñuales.

Abstract:
The article focuses on the current state of customary international law as regards environmental protection. Based on an analysis of the relevant case law, the article identifies a customary core consisting of the duty of due diligence as expressed through the prevention principle, and its procedural extensions through the obligation to cooperate in good faith, particularly by means of notification and consultation, and through the requirement to conduct a prior environmental impact assessment. Despite the fact that commentators have admitted the customary character of many other principles, the only principles effectively recognized in the case law as having an undisputed customary grounding are those addressed in this article. For this reason, the article does not merely select some principles but, rather, it focuses on those customary principles that have been effectively recognized as such. Subsequently, the article analyses each norm in detail as well as the interactions among them. It concludes with a brief reference to the current frontier of customary law in this area highlighting the difficulties arising from a sequential application of these norms, the need to further spell out the requirements of due diligence, and the potential consolidation through this avenue of the precautionary and public participation principles.

Index:
1. INTRODUCCIÓN.—2. SÍNTESIS DE LA MATRIZ CONSUETUDINARIA IDENTIFICADA POR LA JURISPRUDENCIA.—3. DILIGENCIA DEBIDA EN EL MARCO DEL PRINCIPIO DE PREVENCIÓN.—4. OBLIGACIÓN DE COOPERACIÓN DE BUENA FE.— 5. EXIGENCIA DE UNA EVALUACIÓN DE IMPACTO AMBIENTAL.—6. DESAFÍOS ACTUALES.

Keywords:
customary law; due diligence; environmental impact assessment; interactions; obligation to cooperate in good faith; prevention principle;

Issue:
REDI Vol. 69 2 2017

Section:
Studies

Pages:
71-91

DOI:
http://dx.doi.org/10.17103/Vol. 69/2, julio-diciembre 2017, Madrid, pp. 71-91 http://dx.doi.org/10.17103/redi.69.2.2017.1.03

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