Environmental changes caused by the increasing scale of human life have led
many observers to conclude that the planet has entered the Anthropocene
geologic era signified by human impact on the biosphere.
- International environmental law is the set of agreements and principles
that reflects the world's collective effort to manage our transition to the Anthropocene by resolving our most serious environmental problems, including
climate change, ozone depletion, and mass extinction of wildlife.
- Generally, international environment law aims to achieve sustainable
development i.e. development that allows people to have a high quality of
life today without sacrificing the quality of life of future generations.
The initial stages of the conference
saw the emergence of two conflicting approaches. The first approach insisted
that the primary concern of the conference should be regarding the human impact
on the environment with emphasis on control of pollution and conservation of
natural resources, whereas the second approach emphasized social and economic
development as the real issue. The two seemingly opposite approaches were
bridged by the evolution of the concept that environment protection was an
essential element of social and economic development.
- Principle 1 of the declaration provides that man has the fundamental
right to freedom, equality, and adequate conditions of life, in an
environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well being, and
he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for
present and future generations.
- According to principle 2, the natural resources of the earth must be
safeguarded for the benefit of present and future generations
- Principle 3 provides that the capacity of the earth to produce vital
renewable resources must be maintained.
- Principle 4 further provides that man has a special responsibility to
safeguard and wisely manage the wildlife and its habitat.
- Principle 5 says the non-renewable resources of the earth must be
employed in such a way as to guard against the danger of their future
exhaustion and to ensure that all mankind shares benefits from such
- Principle 6 provides that the discharge of toxic substances or the other
substances and the release of heat, in such quantities or concentrations as
to exceed the capacity of the environment to render them harmless, must be
halted to ensure that serious or irreversible damage is not inflicted upon
- According to principle 11, the environmental policies of all States
should enhance and not adversely affect the present or future development
potential of developing countries, nor should they hamper the attainment of
better living conditions for all.
- Principle 13 further provides that to achieve more rational management
of resources and thus to improve the environment, states should adopt an
integrated and coordinated approach to their development planning to ensure
that development is compatible with the need to protect and improve the
human environment for the benefit of their population.
- Principle 14 underlines the concept that rational planning constitutes
an essential tool for reconciling any conflict between the needs of
development and the need to protect and improve the environment.