The Interplay between International Environmental Law and Rights of Nature: Somewhere between Obstacle and Facilitator for an Ecocentric Paradigm Shift?

01 January 2019 → 31 December 2021
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Environmental law
    • Other law and legal studies not elsewhere classified
International Environmental Law and Rights Nature
Project description

Instead of treating nature as an object, Rights of Nature presupposes the express bestowal of rights upon nature. On the surface, this novel legal approach stands at odds with the anthropocentric foundations of the international legal system. Even more recently emerged sustainability principles and environmental treaties reflect a predominantly instrumentalist approach towards nature. This research aims to delve deeper into the ambivalent relationship between Rights of Nature and the existing principles and rules of international environmental law. First, the research will lay bare the main characteristics of Rights of Nature, amongst others through an analysis of its recent manifestations in several jurisdictions, including Ecuador and New-Zealand. Second, the research puts forward a conceptual analysis of the precise articulation between Rights of Nature and the fundamental principles underpinning international environmental law. Third, an in-depth review of the convergences and divergences between Rights of Nature and three specific types of multilateral environmental agreements, focusing on procedural environmental rights, environmental assessment duties and substantive protection duties, is carried out. The research intends to formulate recommendations as to the operationalization of Rights of Nature at the international level. The methodology used is a study of primary sources and literature. The findings are checked by means of qualitative questing of key experts.