Implementing the goal of sustainable development has long been heralded as the means by which the needs of both present and future generations can be met. However, finding a long-term balance between economic, social and environmental interests, the basic tenet of sustainable development, has proved largely illusive in practice. This thesis shows that, while a number of “legal frameworks for sustainable development” have been proposed at the international level, they fail to fully capture the essence of sustainable development and international law’s capacity to support its implementation. Through a study of the law of international watercourses the thesis shows that a sophisticated legal mechanism, comprised of key substantive and procedural rights and obligations between States, exists to reconcile competing economic, social and environmental interests. Moreover, the thesis illustrates how the basic approach taken by the law of international watercourses can be used as a model for further developing international law in the field of sustainable development. The thesis is divided into four sections. The first section includes an overview of the topic area and an understanding of international law. In section two the thesis explores the meaning of sustainable development and considers the term’s relationship with international law. A detailed analysis of how the law of international watercourses seeks to reconcile competing economic, social and environmental interests is carried out in section three. The thesis concludes with a fourth section advocating the need for a fresh approach to international law and sustainable development and offering the foundations for this fresh approach based on lessons learnt from the law of international watercourses.
|Date of Award||2004|
|Supervisor||Patricia Wouters (Supervisor)|