Volume 3: Issue 2 (2007)

Are We There Yet? The Right to Environment in International and European Law

Lynda Collins

Abstract: Recent decades have witnessed a progressive integration of international human rights law and international environmental law. Environmental human rights have been widely recognized in international environmental policy, domestic constitutions, and the decisions of international tribunals. A review of existing scholarship and jurisprudence reveals three discernible approaches to environmental human rights. The first is the recognition that environmental degradation may result in the violation or deprivation of existing human rights such as the right to life, the right to health, or the right to culture. A second approach, which has been codified internationally in at least two important treaties, recognizes procedural environmental rights, including the right to environmental information, the right to participate in environmental decision-making, and the right of access to justice in environmental matters. Finally, commentators, states, and tribunals are increasingly recognizing a free-standing “right to environment” which overlaps with, but extends beyond, other existing human rights. This Article will evaluate the content and current status of these three categories of environmental human rights in international law, and in the law of one of the most environmentally progressive regions of the world – Europe.

Des produits vraiment équitables? Réflexions sur l’opportunité d’un encadrement juridique des produits équitables au Canada

Aude Tremblay & Marie-Claude Desjardins

Abstract: The considerable expansion that fair trade has made in Canada over the course of the past years has compelled many businesses and organizations to make use of the term "fair" to promote their products. In Canada, fair trade has not received much legislative attention; there is no specific legal regime on the use of clear and verifiable labelling system. Currently, the certification of fair trade products is carried out on a strictly voluntary basis. While certain businesses choose to have their products certified by third-party organizations, many more have chosen instead a process of self-declaration. These latter organizations subscribe to "in-house" guidelines that conform to their own vision of what constitutes "fair trade". This liberal usage of the term "fair" leaves room for varying degrees of rigour in the application of the label and can debase the concept. There is an imminent danger lying in the attraction of potential profit linked to the added commercial value of products that are labelled "fair trade". Certain businesses could be tempted to use the label with the sole goal of profiting from the consumer interest in fair trade. In such a context, it is legitimate to question whether Canadian consumers are protected against the possible abuse of the label. Does the doubt and confusion generated in the mind of the consumer put the credibility of fair trade at risk? This article proposes to respond to these questions and reflect on the relevance of legislating on the practices linked to fair trade in Canada and on the essential elements of such a regime.

Case Comment: The Precarious State of Sunshine: Case Comment on Procedural Orders in the Biwater Gauff (Tanzania) Ltd. v. Tanzania Investor-State Arbitration

Fiona Marshall

Book Review

Linda C. Reif

Reviewed: Adil Najam, Mihaela Papa & Nadaa Taiyab, Global Environmental Governance: A Reform Agenda (Winnipeg, MB: International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2006)



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