The North-South Divide and the Ineffectiveness of International Environmental Law and Sustainable Development

Posted on Posted in Law Review

By Neshmiya Adnan Khan

The imposition of environmental conditions and standards upon development and development policies formulated during the Rio Conference in 1992 was perceived as an act to restrain the newfound capacity of the newly independent post-colonial Southern states to finally grow and develop. This article focuses on the origins of that North-South Divide; the implications this divide has had on the evolution of environmental law; and the need to re-conceptualize this archaic distinction in view of contemporary reality. Moreover, it analyzes the causes of its ineffective implementation and how a redefinition of the concept of ‘sustainable development’ could aid it in becoming a relevant part of the development discourse. It also briefly discusses how the concept of environmental justice could potentially aid in the effective reformulation of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and the concept of sustainable development, and in a way to ensure that the environment gets the proper attention and the just protection it deserves.

Download PDF