- Human Rights to a healthy environment
- Right to development (sustainable development)
- Combating poverty and hunger
- Climate change – forward from Kyoto
- Preserving biodiversity
REPORT ON COMMISSION 5
DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS
Richard J. Harvey, IADL Bureau Member, Haldane Society, U.K.
Phan Trung Lý, PhD, Associate Professor, Vice chairman, National Assembly’s Law Commission, Member of VLA’s executive committee
Marlene A. Archer, National Conference of Black Lawyers, USA,
Haldane Society, U.K.
THE HUMAN RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT
Richard J. Harvey
ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION: A GLOBAL PROBLEM FOR HUMANITY
Dr. Gavril Iosip Chiuzbaian, President, Romanian Lawyers’ Union, Former Minister of Justice
A CALL FOR WORLD ACTION IN SOLIDARITY BY CITIZENS, WORKERS, AND LAWYERS TO PROTECT THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
Michinobu Bando, Manager of workers’ group of electric power industry (the Denryoku Roudou Undou Kinki Center)
ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Yu Kyong Il, DPRK
THE RULE OF LAW OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM ON THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN ENVIRONMENT RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENT
Dr. Phan Trung Lý
VIETNAM WITH THE PROTECTION OF ECOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Dr. Hoang Van Tu, Director Center for Scientific Research, Institute of Law Research
HUMAN RIGHTS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Chu Hong Thanh, PhD, Associate Professor
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION AND THE LAW FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Nishimura Tomoaki, Ritsumeikan University
POVERTY REDUCTION AND HUNGER ALLEVIATION-EFFECTIVE MEASURE TOWARD HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION
Luong Phan Cu, Vice Chairman, National Assembly’s Sociates Commission
All humans have a right to a healthy environment. This is supported by various binding and non binding resolutions passed by the UN.
Articulating environmental rights as human rights has the advantage of empowering individuals and NGOs to take action against states, rather than limiting urgent environmental law enforcement to sometimes protracted and dilatory negotiations between states.
The worst impacts of climate change are hitting the poor in the developing world: droughts in sub-Saharan Africa; floods in China, Bangladesh and India; acidification and pollution of the oceans; the threat of rising sea levels. The most vulnerable are forced to pay, with their livelihoods and their very lives, for the spiraling global costs of climate change.
Methods to combat climate change:
- In the court room, Test cases
- Multi-party mediation
- Arbitration (fast-track alternatives to the expensive and lengthy two-party proceedings).
Lawyers need to be more creative in developing litigation strategies in response to the challenges of climate change. There is no single clear model for climate change litigation, and litigation itself will not always be the best approach. Different circumstances dictate tactics and strategies.
The basic elements of the environment (water, air, wildlife, soil, etc.) cannot be bounded by political frontiers, nor can pollution be walled in. Environmental issues have acquired a global nature due to the frequent cases of transborder pollution; pollution in various areas of the marine environment, including areas outside national jurisdictions, in regions deemed to be common heritage of mankind.
There is a significant gap in development. Some poor countries are selling precious national resources although awareness is increasing and this practice is lessening. In rich countries words do not match deeds. There is a need for international cooperation. Warfare is also causing massive pollution with long-term effects, e.g. Agent Orange and depleted uranium.
This disparity between the needs of the rich and poor nations past practices and future needs require, at national and international levels, a speedy reconciliation between economic development and environmental protection to give substance to the concept of sustainable development.
In globalizing environmental protection concerns, the economic sector is called to play an important part through environmental protection measures which, although reflected in the production costs, will have a long-term return on investment. Also important in this interplay will be commercial, technological, scientific, political and social factors. Interstate and international cooperation is needed, as well as cooperation of international organizations, both for the purpose of adopting universally accepted regulations and implementing them.
With intense effort, the conscience of the world brought the Kyoto Protocol into force. Substantial reductions in the greenhouse gases, especially CO2, that arise from energy production and use must occur. Unless this is done, irreversible change may occur in the climate system to an even greater extent than what has been experienced in the extreme weather events of the past few years. Continued dependence on fossil fuel will cause an increase in global temperature estimated at 4 degrees. To limit this to 2 degrees, gas emissions must be peaked out by 2015. By 2050 there needs to be a decrease of 50-80% compared to 2000 and 25-40% compared to 1990. The future of the environment will affect all nations.
If emerging nations, e.g., India and China are allowed world rates of auto emissions CO2 will increase. Therefore, there must be a gathering of wisdom on a global scale so that a fine balance can be struck. Fossil fuels must be cut back. Renewable energy needs to be developed. Work is needed on environmental friendly technologies. Thinking has to be for the entire planet, not individual countries. A plan must be developed to protect, MOTHERSHIP EARTH.
Efforts are being made by the international community to implement the various international conventions, UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) UNCED (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Kyoto Protocol and the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations (MDG). It is important to keep the Rio Principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” in dealing with the challenges and threats from climate change.
Developed countries have the main responsibility for global warming and should implement their commitments and duties in accordance with the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol and demonstrate their intention to reduce CO2 emissions. They should encourage the transfer of preferential and environmentally clean technology and investment and financial assistance for the development and utilization of the new and renewable energy resources such as hydropower, wind power and solar energy to developing countries. Priority should be given to capacity building in these countries.
Early warning systems for disaster prevention at the international level need further development and international cooperation must be promoted. There needs to be support for the priorities established by the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 which were discussed and agreed at several international conferences including World Conference on Disaster Reduction.
Developed countries should encourage initiatives and measurements to seek every available financial source internationally and regionally while the international monetary system should contribute to the efforts of developing countries to achieve sustainable development by providing funds without additional burdensome conditions.
Before new development projects are implemented, environmental impact assessments should be conducted and taken into consideration. In drafting new legislation, lawyers need to take account of any potential impact on the environment.
Viet Nam is an example of ecological diversity and has been designated a place of biodiversity. Some rare species are on the decline and on the verge of extinction. The policies of Viet Nam concerning the environment are encouraging. The government came up with environmental proposals as early as 1949. In the 1990’s a conservation decree was issued. The Convention on Biodiversity was ratified and, to implement this, decrees were passed in 2005. Laws on biodiversity were passed in Nov. 2008 and they will come into effect in July, 2009. The government has developed an action plan with aims to 2020 and a legal framework for conservation of biodiversity.
COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS: The General Assembly of the IADL should resolve as follows:
- We declare that the right to a clean and healthy environment is a universal and fundamental human right.
- To work closely to build more effective national and international ties regarding climate change.
- To strive for provisions in constitutions to protect the environment and to elevate individual environmental human rights.
- To work locally and internationally to support Tokyo 2.
- To help victims and support efforts for reparations for damage caused by State or individual actors.
- To support the launch of a world-wide comprehensive and effective standard setting process.
- To support the 15thConference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP15) in Denmark in December.
Download papers presented to Commission 5 (Hanoi 2009):
- Report Commission 5 Development and Environmental Law.doc (38.5 KB)
- Richard Harvey CLIMATE CHANGE AND INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE 1.doc (181 KB)
- Richard Harvey THE HUMAN RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT II.doc (103.5 KB)
- Chu Hong Thanh Human rights and sustainable development.doc (42.5 KB)
- Hoang Van Tu Vietnam with the protection of ecological diversity.doc (44 KB)
- Luong Van Cu Poverty reduction and hunger alleviation – effective measure toward human rights protection.doc (40.5 KB)
- Michinobu BANDOA Call for World Action in Solidarity by Citizens, Workers, and Lawyers to Protect the Global Environment.doc (41 KB)
- Nishimura Tomoaki Global Environmental Conservation and the Law for Sustainable Development.doc (36 KB)
- Phan Trung Ly The rule of law of the Socialist republic of Vietnam on the protection of human environment rights and environment.doc (34 KB)
- Gavril Iosif Chiuzbaian Environment protection a global problem for humanity.pdf (179.41 KB)
- Gavril Iosif Chiuzbaian la protection de l’environnement problème global de l’humanité.pdf (173.01 KB)
- Richard Harvey the human right to a healthy environment slides.pdf (363.25 KB)
- Yu Kyong Il On climate change.pdf (108.72 KB)