Principles of International Environmental Law

By Philippe Sands | Go to book overview

3

Governance: states, international organisations and non-state actors

K. Dahlberg, A. Feraru and M. Soroos (eds.), Environment and the Global Arena: Actors, Values, Policies, Futures (1983); P. Sands, ‘The Environment, Community and International Law’, 30 Harvard International Law Journal 393 (1989); P. Sand, Lessons Learned in Global Environmental Governance (1990); J. Tuchman-Mathews (ed.), Preserving the Global Environment: The Challenge of Shared Leadership (1990); A. Hurrell and B. Kingsbury (eds.), The International Politics of the Environment: Actors, Interests and Institutions (1992); Commission on Global Governance, Our Global Neighborhood (1995); K. Ginther, E. Denters and P. De Waart (eds.), Sustainable Development and Good Governance (1995); D. Bodansky, ‘The Legitimacy of International Governance: A Coming Challenge for International Environmental Law?’, 93 AJIL596 (1999).


Introduction

A wide range of actors participate in those aspects of the international legal order which address environmental issues, including the negotiation, implementation and enforcement of international environmental agreements. Apart from state delegations, which play the central role, a visitor to ozone or climate change negotiations would find international organisations and non-state actors actively involved. International environmental law is characterised by this phenomenon which, with the possible exception of the human rights field, renders it unique. Various reasons explain this state of affairs. States are involved because they are still the pre-eminent international legal persons. International organisations participate because they have been created by states to address particular environmental issues. Of the various non-state participants, the scientific community is involved because, to a great extent, international environmental law is driven by scientific considerations; business is involved because of the significant implications which decisions taken at the global level can now have even for individual companies; and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are involved because their membership increasingly drives them into the international arena as the distinction between local, national and global issues disintegrates. The participation of non-state actors in international

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