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International Law

International Law (1st edn)

Gleider Hernández
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date: 25 September 2022

p. 49419. The protection of the environmentlocked

p. 49419. The protection of the environmentlocked

  • Gleider HernándezGleider HernándezProfessor of Public International Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Open Universiteit Nederland


This chapter studies the development of international environmental law. A significant proportion of international environmental law obligations is contained in treaties, which often provide for institutional mechanisms or procedural obligations for their implementation. There exists a dense network of treaty obligations relating to environmental protection, and to specific sectors such as climate change, the conservation of endangered species, or the handling of toxic materials. Indeed, though customary international law knows of no general legal obligation to protect and preserve the environment, certain customary rules nevertheless have been found in specific treaties, case law, and occasionally even soft law instruments. The most significant such rule is the principles of prevention, often taking the form of the ‘good neighbour’ principle. States are required to exercise due diligence in preventing their territory from being used in such a way so as to cause significant damage to the environment of another state.

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