ERIC Number: ED205454
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar-18
An Approach to the Development of International Jurisdiction to Deal with Environmental Problems.
Howell, John M.
The purposes of the report are to assess international rules currently available for compulsory settlement of environmental disputes and to describe a basis for jurisdiction by United Nations agencies over disputes not covered by existing rules. A history of international concern with the environment since the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 traces development of standards to deal with environmental problems and analyzes problems encountered in providing compulsory international machinery to settle disputes. Objectives of relevant provisions emanating from the Stockholm Conference are described as promoting cooperation among nations in environmental matters, encouraging states to accept responsibility for environmental damage in areas beyond their jurisdiction or control, and suggesting development of tests to evaluate environmental impact of potential or specific contaminants. The ineffectiveness of international environmental law in solving disputes is discussed. Major reasons identified as causes of this ineffectiveness include lack of compulsory procedures for third party setlement, unwillingness of states to submit to compulsory jurisdiction of international agencies, ambiguity of environmental laws, and the tradition of leaving enforcement of environmental laws to states. Suggestions for developing international jurisdiction by agencies of the United Nations include increasing the use of United Nations-approved technical expertise to solve environmental disputes, developing a United Nations system of classification of various threats to the environment on the basis of scientific evidence, ranking various pollutants according to seriousness, and undertaking a United Nations-sponsored critical inquiry into the relationship between science and international policy formation. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association (Philadelphia, PA, March 18, 1981).