Volume 11:1 (2015)


                                   Volume 11:1 (2015) 

PDF icon From Justiciability to Justice: Realizing the Human Right to Food

Nandini Ramanujam, Nicholas Caivano & Semahagn Abebe

Abstract: The international human rights regime has recognized the right to food since its inception, yet chronic hunger remains one of the most flagrant human rights violations of our time. Food security—the ability to access adequate, nutritious food—continues to elude almost 1 billion people. In 2008, the economic downturn, coupled with environmental events affecting crop yields, caused global food prices to skyrocket. The resulting food crisis created an even greater urgency to resolve the issue of global food insecurity. This article explores the state’s role in facilitating the realization of food security in two contexts: India and Ethiopia. We analyze the normative content of the right to food in international law and examine the promise and realization of food security in each country. The article sets out key principles for a justice-based framework to food security, an approach based on the state’s obligation to ensure the progressive realization of the right to food and reform corrupt or dysfunctional institutions that perpetuate systemic inequality. The approach emphasizes the primacy of four interconnected strategies: (i) strengthening institutions; (ii) improving access to justice; (iii) empowering rights holders; and (iv) supporting food sovereignty.

PDF icon Zimbabwe’s Odious Inheritance: Debt and Unequal Land Distribution

Karen S Openshaw & Patrick CR Terry

Abstract: The Zimbabwean government is currently engaging with the country’s creditors in order to reduce Zimbabwe’s high external debt burden. While recent debate has focused on the debts accumulated under Robert Mugabe’s rule, this article seeks to re-examine the obligations that Zimbabwe inherited on achieving independence in 1980. It argues that the country would have been justified in repudiating the monetary debt it inherited from the colonial era, since there is no positive rule of customary international law that obliged Zimbabwe to assume responsibility for the colonial era debt and, moreover, the first democratically elected government would have had good reason to invoke the (controversial) odious debt doctrine. The article also highlights what can be characterised as an even more odious obligation that the newly independent state inherited: a situation where most of the country’s prime farmland had been alienated from the indigenous population, coupled with a lack of meaningful compensation from its former colonial ruler, the UK, to help rectify this injustice. The current negotiations may therefore provide an opportune moment for Zimbabwe to remind the international community of its odious inheritance as it seeks to negotiate down its current debt load.

PDF icon The Role of Strategic Environmental Assessments in Improving the Governance of Emerging New Industries: A Case Study of Wind Developments in Nova Scotia

Meinhard Doelle & Rebecca Critchley

Abstract: This article explores the potential for strategic environmental assessments to enhance project decisions in the wind energy sector in Nova Scotia. It does so by taking a retrospective look at wind energy project decisions in Nova Scotia in the past 15 years, decisions that have been made in the absence of a strategic environmental assessment. The study considers both individual project approvals and two contrasting municipal responses to the emergence of the industry. The aim of the retrospective is to identify the key challenges this new industry has faced in establishing itself in Nova Scotia. The article then considers, based on SEA literature and experience elsewhere, to what extent the challenges identified could have been avoided or reduced through the implementation of a strategic environmental assessment in the early stages of the emergence of this industry in Nova Scotia. The article concludes with some lessons for the design and implementation of strategic environmental assessments in light of the findings from the Nova Scotia case studies.

PDF icon Evaluating the Effectiveness of the European Union Emissions Trading System to Reduce Emissions from International Civil Aviation

Md. Tanveer Ahmad

Abstract: The European Union (EU) launched its emissions trading system (ETS) in 2005 pursuant to Directive 2003/87, and extended the system to include international civil aviation from 2012 pursuant to Directive 2008/101. Such extension was made to reduce the growing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation that contribute to climate change. This unilateral initiative provoked opposition and protest from many governments, airlines, and trade associations. Due to such political pressure from non-EU States, the application of the EU ETS to aircraft of non-EU States was suspended in 2013 and the geographic scope curtailed in 2014 to cover only emissions from flights within the European Economic Area for the 2013–2016 period. This article assesses the effectiveness of the EU ETS to reduce emissions from international civil aviation, and argues that the EU ETS will have limited success in this respect. Political pressure is one of the main factors that will limit, and has already limited, its effectiveness. This will also negatively affect the value of the EU ETS applying to foreign airlines, the existing friendly relationships among States, the EU’s prospective role as a norm entrepreneur, and its ability to influence negotiations. However, in at least one respect, this unilateral move is successful; the initiative of the EU enhanced continuing international efforts to reduce emissions from aviation. This led to an agreement to develop a global market- based measure for international civil aviation, reached at the 38th session of the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization in October 2013. Nevertheless, these developments have not established any multilateral market- based measure required to attain aviation’s goal of achieving carbon neutral growth starting from 2020. To effectively tackle climate change and global warming from the aviation sector, we need either a well-designed, multilateral market-based measure or unilateral market- based measures of the same model adopted by economically powerful States, which have better prospects than the EU ETS for curbing emissions from international civil aviation.

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