Update on Negotiation of a New International Environmental Agreement

October 2020
ELR 10818
Maria Antonia Tigre and Victoria Lichet

International environmental law (IEL) has developed widely since the first global meeting in Stockholm in 1972. Accounts estimate that there are more than 500 multilateral environmental treaties (MEAs). However, the predicted future shows that current global environmental policy efforts are undeniably insufficient. IEL’s prevailing anthropocentric ethic has directly contributed to the crisis, suppressing the symptoms rather than treating them. International cooperation and the revival of multilateralism are pivotal to long-term environmental protection, and ever more critical given the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this context, the United Nations (U.N.) is debating a new political declaration in the context of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the U.N. Environment Programme to strengthen environmental governance and implement IEL. The resolution kicks off a new phase in the development of IEL. This Comment follows recent developments related to this process, through an analysis of the negotiation process developed from August 2019 to August 2020.

Maria Antonia Tigre is the Director for Latin America at the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE) and the Ecological Rights Coordinator at the Global Pandemic Network (GPN). Victoria Lichet is the coordinator of the U.S. team of the Global Pact Coalition, and also researches issues related to human rights and environmental law for the GNHRE and for the Ecological Rights Subgroup of the GPN.

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