January 17, 2019

10 Key Principles in International Environmental Law

  1. State Sovereignty:

  2. Countries have the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental and developmental policies.

  3. Common Concern: 

    The global environment is a common concern of humanity.

  4. Duty Not to Cause Environmental Harm. 

  5. Countries have the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other countries or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

  6. Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. 

  7. In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, countries have common but differentiated responsibilities.

  8. The “Polluter Pays” Principle. 

    National authorities should promote the internalization of environmental costs, reflecting the approach that the polluter should bear the cost of pollution.

  9. Environmental Impact Assessment. 

  10. Environmental impact assessment shall be undertaken for proposed activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment.

  11. The Precautionary Principle. 

  12. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

  13. Public Participation. 

  14. Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens.

  15. Notification and Consultation. 

  16. Countries shall provide prior and timely notification to, and consult with, potentially affected countries on activities that may have a significant adverse transboundary environmental effect.

  17. Peaceful Resolution of Disputes. 

    Countries shall resolve all of their environmental disputes peacefully.