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By Lal Kurukulasuriya & Nicholas A. Robinson

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Principle 21 also appears in article 3 of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, to which virtually all the states of the world are parties, and, as restated in the 1992 Rio Declaration, in the preamble of the 1992 UNFCCC, the 1999 Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, and the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (“POPs”). ” (See Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion, ICJ Reports, pp.

THE ROLE OF NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW I. Introduction 1. Environmental law is a broad category of laws that include laws that specifically address environmental issues and more general laws that have a direct impact on environmental issues. The definition of what constitutes an environmental law is as wide as the definition of environment itself. “Environment” in the modern context of sustainable development encompasses the physical and social factors of the surroundings of human beings and includes land, water, atmosphere, climate, sound, odour, taste, energy, waste management, coastal and marine pollution, the biological factors of animals and plants, as well as cultural values, historical sites, and monuments and aesthetics.

It is also a condition for the active engagement of equally responsive, transparent and accountable Civil Society organizations, including industrial concerns, trade unions, and Non Governmental Organizations (“NGOs”). Public participation in the context of sustainable development requires effective protection of the human right to hold and express opinions and to seek, receive and impart ideas. It also requires a right of access to appropriate, comprehensible and timely information held by governments and industrial concerns on economic and social policies regarding the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment, without imposing undue financial burdens upon the applicants and with adequate protection of privacy and business confidentiality.

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