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Ms. Edith Brown Weiss

Ms. Edith Brown Weiss
University Professor
Georgetown Law
Georgetown University Law Center

BiographyBiography in PDF

International Environmental Law
International Environmental Law
Part I
International Environmental Law in Context
Video | Audio
(8/3/2022, 39 minutes)

Part II
Sources of International Environmental Law
Video | Audio
(8/3/2022, 48 minutes)

Part III
Principles of International Environmental Law (Section 1/2)
Video | Audio
(9/3/2022, 48 minutes)

Part IV
Principles of International Environmental Law (Section 2/2)
Video | Audio
(9/3/2022, 40 minutes)

Part V
Legal Approaches to Controlling Pollution and Conserving Natural Resources
and Fresh Water
Video | Audio
(11/3/2022, 36 minutes)

Part VI
Liability, Accountability and Compliance
with International Environmental Law
Video | Audio
(10/3/2022, 38 minutes)

International Environmental Law
International Environmental Law
A. Legal Instruments

Convention for the Preservation of Wild Animals, Birds and Fish in Africa, London, 19 May 1900.

Convention for the Protection of Birds Useful that are Useful to Agriculture, Paris, 19 March 1902.

Boundary Waters Treaty, Washington, 11 January 1909.

North Pacific Fur Seal Convention, Washington, 7 July 1911.

Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, Geneva, 24 September 1931, League of Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 155, p. 351.

Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere, Washington, 12 October 1940.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), Geneva, 30 October 1947, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 55, p. 187, and vols. 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64.

The Antarctic Treaty, Washington, 1 December 1959, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 402, p. 71.

Convention on third party liability in the field of nuclear energy, Paris, 29 July 1960, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 956, p. 251.

Vienna Convention on civil liability for nuclear damage, Vienna, 21 May 1963, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1063, p. 265.

Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora, Brussels, 2 June 1964.

Treaty on principles governing the activities of States in the exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies (Outer Space Treaty), New York, 19 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 610, p. 205.

African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Algiers, 15 September 1968, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1001, p. 3.

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Vienna, 23 May 1969, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1155, p. 331.

Convention on wetlands of international importance especially as waterfowl habitat, Ramsar, 02 February 1971, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 996, p. 245.

Convention on the international liability for damage caused by space objects, London, Moscow, Washington, 29 March 1972, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 961, p. 187.

Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality (with annexes), Ottawa, 15 April 1972, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 837, p. 213.

Convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals (with annex), London, 1 June 1972, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1080, p. 175.

Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 16 June 1972 (A/CONF.48/14/Rev.1).

Convention for the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage, Ottawa, 16 November 1972, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1037, p. 151.

Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, London, 29 December 1972, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1046, p. 120.

Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora, Washington, 3 March 1973, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 993, p. 243.

International Convention for the prevention of pollution from ships, London, 2 November 1973.

Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, Oslo, 15 November 1973, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2898, p. 243.

Convention for the prevention of marine pollution from land-based sources, Paris, 1974, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1546, p. 103.

Convention for the protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, Barcelona, 16 February 1976, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1102, p. 27.

Convention on the protection of the Rhine against pollution by chlorides, Bonn, 3 December 1976, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1404, p. 59.

Convention on the prohibition of military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques, New York, 10 December 1976, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1108, p. 151.

Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality, 1978 (with annexes), Ottawa, 22 November 1978, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1153, p. 187.

Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources, Canberra, 7 April 1982, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1329, p. 47.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Montego Bay, 10 December 1982, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1833, p. 3.

Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, Vienna, 22 March 1985, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1513, p. 293.

Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution on the Reduction of Sulphur Emissions or their Transboundary Fluxes by at least 30 per cent, Helsinki, 8 July 1985, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1480, p. 215.

Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, Vienna, 26 September 1986, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1439, p. 275.

Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, Vienna, 26 October 1986, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1457, p. 133.

Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Montreal, 16 September 1987, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1522, p. 3.

Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities, Wellington, 2 June 1988.

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, Basel, 22 March 1989, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1673, p. 57.

Ministerial Declaration of the Third International Conference on the Protection of the North Sea, The Hague, 8 March 1990.

Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, London, 29 June 1990, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1598, p. 469.

Declaration on the Protection of the Artic Environment, Rovaniemi, 14 June 1991.

Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, Madrid, 4 October 1991, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2941, p. 3.

Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), Helsinki, 17 March 1992, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1936, p. 269.

Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, Helsinki, 17 March 1992, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2105, p. 457.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, New York, 9 May 1992, United Nations, Treaty Seriesvol. 1771, p. 107.

Convention on Biological Diversity, Rio de Janeiro, 5 June 1992, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1760, p. 79.

Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 14 June 1992.

Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Copenhagen, 25 November 1992, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1785, p. 517.

North American Free Trade Agreement, International Legal Materials, vol. 32, 1993, p. 289.

Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization, Marrakesh, 15 April 1994, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1867, p. 3.

Amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, Geneva, 22 September 1995.

World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), Handbook of Resolutions, vol. III. Resolution WHA49.17, 25 May 1996.

The Nuuk Declaration on Environment Development in the Arctic, Nuuk, 16 September 1993.

Declaration on the establishment of the Arctic Council, Ottawa, 19 September 1996.

Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, New York, 21 May 1997, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2999, p. 77.

Alta Declaration on the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, Alta, 13 June 1997.

Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, Vienna, 12 September 1997, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2241, p. 270.

Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Montreal, 17 September 1997, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2054, p. 522.

Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto, 11 December 1997, United Nations, Treaty Seriesvol. 2303, p. 162.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, Aarhus, 25 June 1998, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2161, p. 447.

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Rome, 17 July 1998, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2187, p. 3.

Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, Rotterdam, 10 September 1998, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2244, p. 337.

Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Beijing, 3 December 1999, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2173, p. 183.

Basel Protocol on Liability and Compensation for Damage Resulting from Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, Basel, 10 December 1999.

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal, 29 January 2000, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2226, p. 208.

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, New York, 15 November 2000, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2225, p. 209.

International Treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, Rome, 11 March 2001, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2400, p. 303.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Stockholm, 22 May 2001, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2256, p. 119.

Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, Cochabamba, 22 April 2010.

Nagoya - Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, Nagoya, 15 October 2010.

Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Nagoya, 29 October 2010.

Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, Seoul, 12 November 2012.

Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic, Kiruna, 15 May 2013.

Paris Agreement, Paris, 12 December 2015, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 3156.

Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Kigali, 15 October 2016.

Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation, Fairbanks, 11 May 2017.

B. Documents

International Law Association - The Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers, ILA, Helsinki, August 1966.

Final Act of the International Conference on Human Rights, Tehran, 13 May 1968 (A/CONF.32/14).

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Sec. 2 [42 USC § 4321], United States, 1969.

Recommendation on Guiding Principles concerning International Economic Aspects of Environmental Policies, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 26 May 1972.

Recommendation on the Implementation of the Polluter-Pays Principle (OCDE/GD(92)81), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 14 November 1974.

Conference on Environment and Economics, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), June 1984.

International Law Association - Seoul Rules on International Groundwaters, ILA, Seoul, August 1986.

United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (Brundtland Report), 1987 (A/42/42).

General Assembly Resolution 44/225 of 22 December 1989 (Large-scale pelagic driftnet fishing and its impact on the living marine resources of the world’s oceans and seas).

Report of the 2nd Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, London, 27 - 29 June 1990 (UNEP/OzL.Pro.2/3).

General Assembly Resolution 45/197 of 21 December 1990 (Large-scale pelagic driftnet fishing and its impact on the living marine resources of the world’s oceans and seas).

The meeting of the Group of Legal Experts to examine the concept of the common concern of mankind in relation to global environmental issues by D. J. Attard, Nairobi, United Nations Environment Programme, 1991.

General Assembly Resolution 46/215 of 20 December 1991 (Large-scale pelagic driftnet fishing and its impact on the living marine resources of the world’s oceans and seas).

Agenda 21, Rio de Janeiro, 14 June 1992.

Non-legally binding authoritative statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, 14 June 1992 (A/CONF.151/26).

Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, 3 to 14 June 1992 (A/CONF.151/26/Rev. 1 (Vol. I), A/CONF.151/26/Rev. 1 (Vol. II), A/CONF.151/26/Rev. 1 (Vol. III)).

Draft articles on Prevention of Transboundary Harm from Hazardous Activities, with commentaries, adopted by the International Law Commission, Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-third session, 2001 (A/56/10, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 2001, vol. II, Part Two).

International Law Association - New Delhi Conference: Legal Aspects of Sustainable Development, ILA, New Delhi, April 2002.

Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, 26 August - 4 September 2002 (A/CONF.199/20).

General Assembly Resolution A/RES/58/217 of December 2003 (International Decade for Action, "Water for Life", 2005-2015).

International Law Association - Berlin Rules on Water Resources, ILA, Berlin, August 2004.

Draft principles on the allocation of loss in the case of transboundary harm arising out of hazardous activities, with commentaries, adopted by the International Law Commission, Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-eighth session, 2006 (A/61/10, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 2006, vol. II, Part Two).

Draft articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers, with commentaries, adopted by the International Law Commission on second reading, Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixtieth session, 5 May - 6 June and 7 July - 8 August 2008 (A/63/10, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 2008, vol. II, Part Two).

Guidelines on Compliance with and Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, 13 June 2007.

Report of the Conference of the Parties on its fifteenth session, 7 to 19 December 2009 (FCCC/CP/2009/11/Add.1 30 March 2010).

General Assembly Resolution 64/292 of 3 August 2010 (The human right to water and sanitation).

Report of the Conference of the Parties on its sixteenth session, 29 November - 10 December 2010 (FCCC/CP/2010/7/Add.1).

General Assembly Resolution 66/288 of 27 July 2012 (The future we want).

Report of the Secretary General, “Intergenerational solidarity and the needs of future generations”, (UN Doc No. A/68/322, 15 August 2013).

Report of the Conference of the Parties on its nineteenth session (Warsaw International Mechanism for Damage and Loss), 11 to 23 November 2013 (FCCC/CP/2013/10/Add.1).

General Assembly Resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015 (Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development).

General Assembly Resolution S-30/1 of 19 April 2016 (Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem).

White Paper - The United Nations Global Compact Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals: Connecting, Crucially, United Nations Global Compact, June 2016.

American Law Institute, Restatement of the Law, 4th, Foreign Relations Law of the United States, 2018-2022.

General Assembly Resolution 72/277 of 10 May 2018 (Towards a Global Pact for the Environment).

Human Rights Council Resolution 48/13 of 28 July 2021 (The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment).

General Assembly Resolution 75/326 of 10 September 2021 (Modalities for the international meeting entitled “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”).

C. Jurisprudence

International

Permanent Court of International Justice, Legal Status of Eastern Greenland, Judgment of April 5, 1933 P.C.I.J. (ser. A/B) No. 53.

Trail Smelter Arbitral Tribunal, Trail smelter case (United States of America, Canada), Awards of 16 April 1938 and 11 March 1941, Reports of International Arbitral Awards, vol. III, p. 1905.

International Court of Justice, Corfu Channel case, Judgment of April 9th, 1949: I.C.J. Reports 1949, p. 4.

Arbitral Tribunal, Lac Lanoux Arbitration (France v. Spain) (1957) 12 R.I.A.A. 281; 24 I.L.R. 101.

International Court of Justice, Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996, I.C.J. Reports 1996, p. 226.

International Court of Justice, Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996Dissenting Opinion Judge Weeramantry, I.C.J. Reports 1996, p. 429.

International Court of Justice, Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary v. Slovakia), Judgment of 25 September 1997, I.C.J. Reports 1997, p. 7.

World Trade Organization, European Communities — Measures Concerning Meat and Meat Products (Hormones), Appellate Body Report of 16 January 1998, WT/DS48/AB/R.

World Trade Organization, United States — Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products, Appellate Body Report of 10 December 1998, WT/DS58/AB/R.

International Court of Justice, Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay), Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 2010, p. 14.

International Court of Justice, Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay)Separate Opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade, I.C.J. Reports 2010, p. 135.

International Court of Justice, Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening), Judgement, I.C.J. Reports 2014, p. 226.

International Court of Justice, Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening), Separate Opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade, I.C.J. Reports 2014, p. 348.

International Court of Justice, Certain Activities Carried Out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua), I.C.J. Reports 2015, p.665.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights, The Environment and Human Rights, Advisory Opinion Oc-23/17 of November 15, 2017, Series A No. 23.

National

Constitutional Court of Colombia, Judgment T-622 of 2016 (Atrato River Case), Expediente T-5.016.242, 10 November 2016.

New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel, Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement), NZL-2017-L-108218, 20 March 2017.

Supreme Court of Colombia, Demanda Generaciones Futuras v. Minambiente (Future Generations v. Ministry of the Environment and Others), STC4360-2018 11001-22-03-000-2018-00319-01, 5 April 2018.

Supreme Court of India, State of Gujarat and Others etc. v. Jayeshbhai Kanjibhai Kalathiya etc., Appeal (Civil), 10373 – 10374 of 2010, 1 March 2019.

Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (BVerfG), Order of the First Senate of 24 March 2021 - 1 BvR 2656/18 -, paras. 1-270, 24 March 2021.

D. Doctrine

R. A. Falk, “Environmental Warfare and Ecocide – Facts, Appraisal, and Proposals”, Bulletin of Peace Proposals, Vol. 4, 1973, No. 1, pp. 80-96.

P. Higgins, Eradicating Ecocide: laws and governance to prevent the destruction of our planet, Shepheard-Walwyn, 2016, pp. 61- 92.

A. A. C. Trindade, International Law for Humankind: Towards a New Jus Gentium, Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2010.

R. Wolfrum, “Sources of International Law”, Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, 2011.