Volume 15:1 (2019)

PDF icon Volume 15 Introductory Material (15:1 and 15:2 combined)

Kimia Towfigh

Here, readers can find useful information concerning the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law, including its Editorial, Management, and Advisory Boards. The MJSDL is a student-run, peer-reviewed, bi-annual academic journal mandated to provide a forum for critical analysis on the intersecting themes of economics, society, human rights, and the environment, and the resulting implications for sustainable development law. The MJSDL is affiliated with the Faculty of Law at McGill University and is fully bilingual. Our 2019-2020 Editor in Chief, Kimia Towfigh, provides an editorial note introducing this year's topic, "Innovations in Governance".

PDF icon Feature—Brief on Environmental Rule of Law: In Need of Coherence in Contested Terrain

David V. Wright

This Issue Brief provides a succinct and critical analysis of “environmental rule of law” as an emerging concept. Following an outline of its origins, this article places environmental rule of law within the contested landscape of rule of law theory and practice. It concludes with several critical observations and comments, explaining that those promoting environmental rule of law as a guiding framework need to recognize broader rule of law debates and acknowledge challenges associated with relying on a rule of law paradigm for implementing the sustainable development agenda. The focus throughout this article is primarily on the development and deployment of environmental rule of law at the international level. There exists a risk that environmental rule of law, like traditional “law and development” or rule of law programming, diverts valuable time, resources and institutions from the more difficult but less glamorous political and economic choices that actually sit at the centre of development policy-making and international development initiatives.


PDF icon Feature—Brief on The World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body and the Sustainable Development Goals

Alexandra R. Harrington

The WTO DSB system is in itself novel in the international system, as it creates a stable forum in which to settle disputes using a known system with a set pattern of procedures and rights for all parties. Looking beyond the sense of uniformity, however, it is possible to view the panels charged with oversight of these cases as tools of social, environmental, and economic progress, as well as entities that apply trade law in a vacuum. With this in mind, the following article examines the ways in which the WTO’s DSB has considered and applied—typically at a tacit level—tenets of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Further, the article identifies recently filed complaints at the WTO that will allow for further application of the SDGs and, potentially, their more overt validation as interpretive tools if not full statements of law.


PDF iconBook Review—Environment in the Courtroom by Allan E Ingelson

Angela Lee

Environment in the Courtroom, edited by Allan Ingelson (Associate Professor at the University of Calgary and Executive Director of the Canadian Institute of Resources Law), is a recent addition to the literature on Canadian environmental law. The book is a collection of 54 essays that have been presented at national environmental law symposia titled “Environment in the Courtroom” that have been convened on an annual basis in various cities in Canada (specifically, Calgary, Ottawa, and Halifax) over the past seven years. Lee, a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, offers a useful book review on the work.


PDF icon NIRB’s Inchoate Incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in Recommendation-Making Under Nunavut’s Impacts Assessment Regime

Daniel Dylan & Spencer Thompson

In 1999, the comprehensive claims of the Inuit of Nunavut were settled against Canada which culminated in the ratification of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA). The NLCA was given legal effect through the federally enacted Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and Nunavut derived its existence as a territory in the federation from the federally enacted Nunavut Act. The Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act (NUPPAA), is a federally enacted statute which came into force in 2014, adds to the impact assessment regime provided for under Articles 11 and 12 of the NLCA. The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) requires project proponents to not only incorporate traditional knowledge—more specifically, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ)— into the baseline collection and methodologies of resource management in their project proposals, but to further outline where management strategies, mitigation and monitoring plans, and/or operational considerations employ IQ values and knowledge. Our analysis reveals that there is inchoate incorporation of IQ into NIRB processes by the NIRB itself and argues that the NIRB ought to better incorporate IQ into its decision and report-making processes.

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