Stockholm Conference on Environmental
Law and Justice,  6-9 September 2006

Karin Mickelson (UBC, Vancouver):
Competing Narratives of Justice in North-South Environmental Relations?  

This paper will compare and contrast the narratives of justice that underlie mainstream international environmental law on the one hand, and the Southern approach to environmental law and policy on the other. The stance of the South in international environmental affairs has significant similarities to domestic environmental justice movements, which have posed a fundamental challenge to what they characterize as a narrow mainstream understanding of environmentalism. Environmental justice did not begin as an abstract set of principles, but instead grew out of grassroots responses to situations of environmental injustice, specifically the unequal and inequitable distribution of environmental risks and benefits. However, environmental justice as a movement goes beyond a demand for a fairer distributory model to call for a more equitable and sustainable social order. Similarly, the Southern approach to environmental issues cannot be understood in isolation from its broader concerns about justice in international law and the international system. From this perspective, an effective response to environmental challenges must go beyond minimizing human impacts on the biosphere. Instead, it requires international environmental law to reflect a broader and more inclusive vision of environmental protection and sustainability that encompasses concerns about social justice as well as ecological integrity.

The paper will evaluate the provisions of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal in light of these different narratives of justice, in order to explain how their provisions might be said to represent an attempt to develop consensus around what justice requires in international environmental affairs.




 Ansvarig utgivare är SMC | Copyright 2006