Special Issue on Polar Law
The Honourable Eva Aariak, Former Premier of Nunavut
Abstract: A number of governance systems aim to promote the environmental protection and well-being of residents of the circumpolar North. The creation of these governance systems has, however, presented several challenges in international law from the viewpoint of the conceptual discourse. Although these governance systems have functioned within the international community for a considerable period of time, none of them constitutes a formal international organization. This article focuses on their legal positions, and makes suggestions for their improved efficiency and performance, possibly by enhancing cooperation between the governance systems.
Abstract: In anticipation of Canada’s submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, this article provides an overview of the international legal regime that governs the allocation of resource rights at sea beyond 200 nautical miles and the process of delineating this area from a Canadian perspective. The author concludes that, though the economic rewards from the Canadian continental shelf may ultimately be modest in the short term, the process of delineation has been orderly and has been characterized by cooperation between states and an adherence to international law.
Environmental Justice as Spatial and Scalar Justice: A Regional Waste Facility or a Local Rubbish Dump out of Place?
Abstract: This paper explains and explores how a controversial waste development in the rural town of Molong, Australia was approved under the maligned, and since repealed, Part 3A of the New South Wales (“NSW”) Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. It adopts a legal geography approach to demonstrate how the activation of the planning law both dramatically shifted political and legal power from the community to the government and proponent, and altered the scale of environmental concern from the local to the regional. The law, and in particular, the imposed geographic scale, undermined the argumentative position, place creation and imagination of the community group opposing the development. It allowed centralized decision making to disregard the environmental effects of the project that were acknowledged by the NSW Land and Environment Court in the case Hub Action Group v. Minister for Planning. It illustrates the entrenched power imbalance in state-significant development laws. The inquiry uncovers spatial and scalar injustices, which are presented as being a component of the concept of environmental justice, with that concept reinterpreted in light of recent scholarship that rethinks the meaning of space. In this respect the paper extends the boundary of, and the community for, environmental justice.
Case Comment: Reconciling Aboriginal Rights with International Trade Agreements: Hupacasath First Nation v. Canada