Environmental Rights in Marine Spaces

Barnes, Richard (2018) Environmental Rights in Marine Spaces. In: Environmental Rights in Europe and Beyond. Hart, pp. 49-85. ISBN 9781509911097

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Environmental rights are typically regarded as an extension of human rights into environmental matters. They encompass both substantive rights, such as the right to a healthy environment, and procedural rights, which include access to environmental information, participation in decision-making and access to justice. Environmental rights discourse has been used to deepen our understanding of how and why we protect the natural world. This discourse is mainly focused on rights arising from terrestrial activities. Similarly, leading international environmental rights jurisprudence is dominated by matters related to land use. Arguably this focus is the by-product of a nexus between people and lived space – a nexus that facilitates an awareness, realisation and protection of individual rights arising in terrestrial spaces. However, such a nexus appears to be either absent or under-developed in marine contexts. At best, generally fashioned environmental rights spill over into marine environments. Significantly, no human rights instrument explicitly refers to the oceans, but the inherent and universal nature of human rights implies they extent to ocean spaces. This is reflected in legal texts particular to marine spaces which have little if anything to say about human rights.

This chapter explores this phenomenon from an international law perspective, and explains why the marine environment seems to resist or at least exist at the margins of environmental rights discourse: why there is a ‘dissonance’ between environmental rights and human activities at sea. By understanding why environmental rights are marginalised we can begin to take steps to bring this discourse to the fore in developing the regulation of marine spaces. Arguably, this is best done by creating space for greater local engagement in marine regulation (participatory rights), and by recognising the different connections that people have with both ocean spaces and things (substantive rights).

Keywords:environmental law, international law, human rights, materiality, environmental rights
Subjects:M Law > M130 Public International Law
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
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ID Code:42116
Deposited On:22 Oct 2020 08:44

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