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Significant developments in sustainable development law and governance: A proposal

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This article develops a practical proposal for progress on sustainable development law. It examines the prospects for an international sustainable development law to provide a framework for more effective, coherent governance. Sustainable development law is briefly defined and an analytical framework is provided. Different degrees of integration between economic, social and environmental law are described. Certain principles of international law related to sustainable development are also highlighted. It is argued that these principles may serve to guide law-makers and jurists where social, economic and environmental law and policy conflict or overlap. Continuing, underlying questions of sustainable development governance are addressed and its global frameworks analysed. The article also focuses on the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in August-September 2002, and its specific mandate for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) to take related legal developments into account. The article advances a proposal: that governments, economic, social and environmental intergovernmental organizations and other actors establish a ‘network of inquiry’ with members from relevant groups, including legal and academic organizations, and other expert groups, in order to follow, research, analyse and debate legal developments in a balanced way.
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Keywords: Economic; social and environmental law; Inter-governmental organizations; International sustainable development governance; Johannesburg Plan of Implementation; Legal instruments; Network of inquiry; Sustainable development law; United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development; World Summit for Sustainable Development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), McGill University Faculty of Law, Montreal, Canada

Publication date: 2004-02-01

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