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In: Transboundary Governance of Biodiversity

This paper argues that international environmental law (iel) is not sufficiently ambitious to confront the Anthropocene’s socio-ecological crisis. The critique specifically focuses on iel’s lack of ambitious and “unmentionable” ecological norms such as rights of nature, Earth system integrity, and ecological sustainability that are not yet considered to be part of the corpus of iel, but that arguably should be in light of the prevailing and ever-deepening socio-ecological crisis. Assuming that the recent Global Pact for the Environment initiative and its accompanying United Nations-mandated report that assesses possible gaps in iel are indicative of the type of reforms we might expect of iel now and in future, the paper determines if and the extent to which the Global Pact initiative embraces ambitious norms and addresses iel’s “unmentionable” normative gaps. A secondary, but related, objective of the paper is to briefly respond to the recent view that any radical critique of the Global Pact initiative is either unfounded, unwarranted or undesirable.

In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law
Transboundary Governance of Biodiversity compiles critical analysis of the regulatory frameworks applicable to the transboundary governance of biodiversity by specialists from Europe and Africa. Drawing on their vast experience as lawyers, political scientists and natural resource management experts, they provide a critique and contemporary perspectives on what has become one of the most challenging aspects of global environmental governance in the Anthropocene: effective biodiversity conservation in times of unprecedented environmetal crises.

With a unique North-South focus and a legal focus infused by multi-disciplinary regulatory dimensions, this peer-reviewed publication offers a comprehensive analysis of international and regional environmental law frameworks applicable to the transboundary governance of biodiversity.
In: Transboundary Governance of Biodiversity
In: Transboundary Governance of Biodiversity
In: Transboundary Governance of Biodiversity

In this article we argue that the Anthropocene’s deepening socio-ecological crisis amplifies demands on, and exposes the deficiencies of, our ailing regulatory institutions, including that of international environmental law (iel). Many of the perceived failures of iel have been attributed to the anthropocentric, as opposed to the ecocentric, ontology of this body of law. As a result of its anthropocentric orientation and the resultant deficiencies, iel is unable to halt the type of human behaviour that is causing the Anthropocene, while it exacerbates environmental destruction, gender and class inequalities, growing inter- and intra-species hierarchies, human rights abuses, and socio-economic and ecological injustices. These are the same types of concerns that the recently proclaimed Sustainable Development Goals (sdgs) set out to address. The sdgs are, however, themselves anthropocentric; an unfortunate situation which reinforces the anthropocentrism of iel and vice versa. Considering the anthropocentric genesis of iel and the broader sdgs framework, this article sets out to argue that the anthropocentrism inherent in the ontological orientation of iel and the sdgs risks exacerbating Anthropocene-like events, and a more ecocentric orientation for both is urgently required to enable a more ecocentric rule of law to better mediate the human-environment interface in the Anthropocene. Our point of departure is that respect for ecological limits is the only way in which humankind, acting as principal global agents of care, will be able to ensure a sustainable future for human and non-human constituents of the Earth community. Correspondingly, the rule of law must also come to reflect such imperatives.

In: Global Journal of Comparative Law