Role of general principle and success of international environment law

First legislative phase

The first ten years of environment policy from 1970 to 1980 were firstly marked by the risks to deal with individual situations, followed by centre stage being given to preventing damage to the environment happening in the first place. The first two objectives of the threefold goals of environment policy within the framework of the Federal Government's 1971 environment programme, which were in future to be achieved by effective administrative law in international environmental law. The main aim was to safeguard the environment man needs to remain healthy and to live a life in human self-worth and to protect the soil, water and air, and flora and fauna, from pollution . The third objective - the removal of damage and detriment caused to the environment by human intervention - came more forcefully to the fore only in the 1980s as a result of specific cases of damage, and became known as the clean-up problem, gaining particular importance in the wake of the reestablishment of German Unity.2

Aim of international environmental law

the main aim of international environmental law is to stop the pollution. Pollution does not respect political boundaries, making international law an important aspect of environmental law. International environment law was considered a narrow specialty within the general field of international law. Now it has become a field in its own right, with sub-specialties on wildlife law, marine pollution, freshwater resources, climate change, sustainable development, and chemicals, with others. International environmental law is developed, applied, and enforced on the substance of international environmental law itself. Process issues have established, increased attention in recent years . the main aim is to fill that hole, making recent research on the international environmental discussions, treaty design, social norms, policy implementation, and usefulness.1

there are lots of Treaties, protocols, conventions, in the international environmental law .these treats, protocols conventions are made by the international law. There is around 1000 environmental law treaties in existence today, no other area of law has generated such a large body of conventions on a specific topic.

During my research I found the international environment law is vast and big and it’s very difficult for me to describe the whole international environmental law .therefore .i want to concentrate specifically on general principal and rules of international environmental law .i have chosen this topic general principle and rules are playing an important role in the development of international environmental law

General principle and rules

the general principal and rules of internationl environmental law as reflected in the treaties, the binding acts of international organizations, state practice, and soft law commitments are main source of international environmental law. These principles are applicable to all members of the international community across the range of activities which they carry out or authorize and in respect of protection of all aspects of the environment. Principles general or specific application have been incorporated into the operative part of some treaties. Article 3 of the 1992 climate change convention lists `principles intended to guide the parties’. The EC treaty, as amended in 1986, 1992 and 1997, sets forth principle and rules of general application in article 174(2) (formerly article 130r).3

From the large body of international agreements and other acts it is possible to separate general rules and principle which have wide, if not necessarily universal, support and are often endorsed in practice .these are following:

1.the obligation reflected in principle 21 of the Stockholm declaration and principle 2 of the Rio declaration .

Principle21/principle2are sufficiently well established to provide the basis for an international cause of action; means , to reflect an international customary legal obligation the violation of which would give rise to free –standing legal remedy .under this principle states have sovereignty over there natural resources and the responsibility not to cause trans boundary environmental damages. A landmark resolution was adopted by the un general assembly in 1962, when it is resolved that the ‘right of the peoples and nations to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources must be exercised in the interest of their national development of the well-being of the people of the state government’.4

In1972,before the Stockholm conference, the un general assembly declared that `each country has the right to formulate ,in accordance with its own particular situation and in full enjoyment of its national sovereignty ,its own national policies on the human environment’5 in law right to exploit natural resources includes the right to be free from external interference over their exploitation .but this aspect of principle21/principle2 is came into the question in dispute over extra-territorial application of environment laws of one state to activities taking place in areas beyond its national jurisdiction , either within the jurisdiction of another state or in activities beyond national jurisdiction.6

The next element of principle21/principle2 shows the view to the states that they are subject to environment limits in the exercise of there right under the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources. In the form prescribed by principle21/principle2 ,the responsibility not to do any damage to the environment of other state or of areas of other national jurisdiction has been accepted as an obligation by all states;7 shortly principle21, with principle 22,was expressly said by un general assembly resolution 2996 to lay down the basic rules to govern the international responsibility of states in favour to the environment.it was also the source of article 30 of the charter of economic rights and duties of state which provide that:

`All States shall endeavour to establish their own environment and development policies in conformity with such responsibility. The environmental policies of all States should enhance and not adversely affect the present and future development potential of developing countries. All States have the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. All States should co-operate in evolving international norms and regulations in the field of the environment.’8

2. Principle of preventive action

The main aim of this principle is requiring the prevention of damage to the environment ,and to reduce, limit or control the activities which might cause or risk such damage. This aim sometimes called as ‘principle of preventive action’ or ‘preventive principle.in the preventive principle a state may be under an obligation to prevent damage to the environment within its jurisdiction. The preventive principle requires action to be taken at an early stage and ,if it is possible then before damage has actually occurred . the preventive principle is supported by an extensive body of domestic environmental protection legislation which establishes authorisation procedures ,as well as adoption of international and national commitments on environmental standards, access to environmental information ,and need to carry out environmental impact assessments in relation to conduct of certain proposed activities.9

this principle has been confirmed by the case Hungary v Slovakia.10 the famous gabcikovo – nagymaros case under this both hungry and Slovakia were in breach of their obligation under treaty signed on September 16,1977 between the Hungarian people republic concerning the construction and operation of the gabikovo – nagymaros system of locks on the river Danube. Hungary suspend subsequently abandoned completion of project alleging that it entailed grave risk to the Hungarian environment and the water supply of budapest. The court noted that it was ‘mindful that , in the field of the environment protection ,vigilance and prevention are required on the account of the often irreversible character of damage to the environment and of the limitation inherent in the very mechanism of reparation of this type of damage. That there was no difficulty in acknowledging that the concerns expressed by Hungary for its natural environment in the region affected by the project related to an essential interest of the state .the court gave an advice to both the parties that the parties together should look afresh at the effects on the environment of the operation of the Gabcikovo power plant. In particular both the parties had to find a satisfactory solution for the volume of water to be released into the old bed of the Danube and into the side arms on both sides of the river. This case is good example of preventive principle. State is under an obligation to prevent damages to the environment with in jurisdiction.

3. The principle of co-operation

The principle of co-operation can be describe as principle of ‘good-neighbourliness’ enunciated in article 74 of the un charter in relation to social, economic and commercial matters has been translated into the development and application of rules promoting international environmental co-operation. The principle of co-operation is reflected in many treaties and other international acts, and is supported also by state practice , particularly in relation to hazardous activities and emergencies. The famous principle 24of the Stockholm declaration reflects a general political commitment to international co-operation in matters concerning the protection of the environment and the principle 27 of Rio- declaration state clearly that ‘state and people shall co-operate in good faith and in a spirit of partnership in the fulfilment of the principle embodied in this declaration and in the further development of international law in the field of sustainable development. the main obligation to co-operate has also been translated into more specific commitments through technics designed to ensure information sharing and participation in decision making. those commitments are interrelated with each other we can see that in principle 7 of the 1978 UNEP draft principles, which states that;

‘ Exchange of information , notification , consultation and other forms of co-operation regarding shared natural resources are carried out on the basis of the principle of good faith and in the spirit of good neighbourliness.’11 the main reason to make this principle to make a peace full environment by co-operation. every state have an obligation to co-operate with other state on the environment issue by exchanging information with each other or doing a work or project by mutual consent .one of the famous case of Hungary v Slovakia in the gabcikovo-nagymaros project case where court gave a decision that both state have to solve the dispute by mutual consent and by making treaties.