Volume 6: Issue 1 (2010)

Remembering the Honourable Mr. Justice Charles D. Gonthier

Martin J. Valasek

Le droit international de l’environnement à la rescousse des cultures menacées : quel horizon pour l’approche inter-systémique de la pétition des Inuits déposée à la Commission interaméricaine des droits de l’homme ?

Véronique Guèvremont et Géraud de Lassus Saint-Geniès

Abstract: In 2005, an Inuit group submitted a petition to the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights alleging that the United States were breaching its right to the benefits of culture, guaranteed at Article XIII of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The petition argued that the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions caused degradations of the Arctic environment preventing the Inuit from enjoying their cultural rights, which are directly dependent on the environmental integrity of the region. As the international cultural law, the international environmental law, and the international human rights systems each suffer from gaps–none of them is currently able to protect a culture menaced by transformations of the environment resulting from climate change–the legal reasoning of the petition was based on the interaction of all three systems. Although novel, this inter-systemic approach nonetheless elicits certain doubts as to its compatibility with the rules of the inter- national legal order. It underlines, however, that these systems must be developed if we are to meet the challenges that the links between nature and culture present to international law.

La protection du bien-être de l’enfant et la protection de l’enfant au travail dans les États fragiles d’Afrique subsaharienne

Aristide Nononsi

Abstract: Child labour in Sub-Saharan Africa is a complex, multidimensional problem amplified by chronic poverty, the crisis of the educational system, the AIDS pandemic, political conflicts, and other transformations of the State. The main obstacles facing the policies and programs against child labour are traceable to the breakdown of the State as well as, increasingly, to the assertions of young labourers’ organizations requesting a right to “dignified” work. Efforts to end child labour should thus not merely address poverty, the root of the problem, but also the issue of the break- down of the State, the genuine actor of the right to development.

Social Safeguards in REDD: A Review of Possible Mechanisms to Protect the Rights and Interests of Indigenous and Forest-Dependent Communities in a Future System for REDD

Christoph Schwarte

Abstract: Social Safeguards in REDD: A Review of Possible Mechanisms to Protect the Rights and Interests of Indigenous and Forest-Dependent Communities in a Future System for REDDThe core idea of the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiative consists in the remittance of payments to developing countries and landholders for their successful maintenance of forest cover. While REDD activities may support livelihoods and contribute to sustainable development, the program also risks neglecting the rights and interests of forest dwellers, as well as diverting potential benefits away from these stakeholders. Any future REDD regime thus needs to feature social safeguards. This article outlines possible policy options for rendering such safeguards operational. They essentially consist of a variety of control mechanisms to ensure that governments, in meeting their eventual international REDD commitments, also comply with accepted principles and criteria protecting the rights and interests of indigenous peoples and local communities. In demonstrating the different operational models, the article distinguishes between reporting and compliance procedures, the creation and expansion of new institutions, the establishment of complaint and redress mechanisms, certification schemes, and the incorporation of performance criteria in financing arrangements. It illustrates and reviews their operation in practice via short cases studies, then offers some conclusions on their potential capacity to shape effective procedural social safeguards in REDD. While an accumulation of elements of different approaches is more likely to result in a robust mechanism, on the ground, the participation of affected rights-holders at different stages remains crucial to develop locally and culturally adequate models.

Book Review

Elaine L. Hughes

Reviewed: Making the List: A Note on Environmental Law Educational Materials and a Review of Doelle & Tollefson’s Environmental Law: Cases and Materials

Book Review

Frederico Caprotti

Reviewed: Legal Aspects of Carbon Trading: Kyoto, Copenhagen and Beyond, edited by David Freestone & Charlotte Streck


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