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Realizing UtopiaThe Future of International Law$
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The Late Antonio Cassese

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691661.001.0001

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Managing Abidance by Standards for the Protection of the Environment

Managing Abidance by Standards for the Protection of the Environment

(p.326) 27 Managing Abidance by Standards for the Protection of the Environment
Realizing Utopia

Jorge E. Viñuales

Oxford University Press

There are two core ideas underpinning international environmental law, namely ‘prevention’ and ‘balance’. The idea of prevention is enshrined in an array of principles such as those of no-harm, prevention, precaution, cooperation, prior informed consent, and environmental impact assessment which, in turn, can be found at the basis of many multilateral environmental agreements. The basic message carried by these principles is that environmental damage may be irreversible. Therefore, it is of vital importance to foster compliance with environmental standards, through monitoring and other means, rather than to determine responsibility through an adjudication mechanism once damage has occurred. The main focus of a judicious reformer should be on strengthening the means to monitor, facilitate, and manage compliance, as well as to carve out sufficient space for environmental considerations to be taken into account in specialized adjudication mechanisms. Four principal avenues are suggested for action to enhance compliance with environmental standards.

Keywords:   international environmental law, compliance, environmental standards, environmental damage, compliance

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