Special Issue "Environmental Law and Sustainability"

A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Kamrul Hossain

Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, P.O. Box 122, Rovaniemi FIN-96101, Finland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Environmental Law; Human Rights; Climate Change; Arctic Policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

While the exact meaning of sustainability is yet to be explicitly streamlined, environmental law has its flexibility to address sustainability within a broader framework. The traditional understanding of the concept—meeting the needs of present generation without compromising the needs of the future generation—has been found to be concentrated to resource usage and allocation. However, the concept has gone far beyond this ordinary understanding. Today, “sustainability” does not only touch upon material aspects, but it also addresses other aspects that generally promote non-material issues, such as promotion of culture, cultural heritage, spiritual wellbeing etc. Traditional aspects of resource management nevertheless lies at the core of any sustainability discussions. While resource management goes hand in hand with environmental sustenance, today, consequence of globalization presents other forms of sustainability—economic sustainability—the meaning of which is about ensuring economic sustenance in response to global challenges to resources scarcity. As environmental sustainability undermines economic sustainability integrating new economic opportunities with new environmental risks would arguably lead to novel challenges. Development of new technologies, adoption of new strategies, strengthening regulations and promotion of best practices are the factors, argued to be, contributory to this integration. However, it is important to see how these developments should be captured in the development of environmental regulations, and at the same time how sustainability can be defined in response to new global challenges. Against this background the purpose of this special issue is to address diverse range of disciplines from both domestic and international law dimensions, including marine environment, cultural heritage protection, living and non-living natural resources including on-shore and off-shore mining and mineral developments, human dimensions connected to environment and environmental sustainability, etc.

Dr. Kamrul Hossain
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • sustainability
  • environmental law
  • marine environment
  • human rights
  • resource scarcity
  • culture and cultural heritage
  • wellbeing and security

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Indigenous Reindeer Herding as a Human Right
Received: 8 December 2015 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 May 2016 / Published: 25 May 2016
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Abstract
The specifically changing climate conditions in the arctic and subarctic tremendously affect the vegetation and the conditions of the snow. This, therefore, influences the possibilities for rangifer tarandus to feed. For many indigenous peoples across the global North, the herding of reindeer, however,
[...] Read more.
The specifically changing climate conditions in the arctic and subarctic tremendously affect the vegetation and the conditions of the snow. This, therefore, influences the possibilities for rangifer tarandus to feed. For many indigenous peoples across the global North, the herding of reindeer, however, is an extremely important source of income. When the increasing temperatures lead to snow melting a bit and then freezing over again, the reindeer loose access to their feed. This has led to the starvation of thousands of reindeer in Russia in 2013/2014. This paper will try to shed light on the background of the historic as well as the legal aspects of indigenous Sámi reindeer herders in the multi-state Sápmi area. While reindeer herding represents a significant livelihood for the indigenous population, the change in climate increasingly threatens the sustainability of this cornerstone of Sámi identity. This text aims to highlight existing rules of international human rights introduced to protect indigenous reindeer herders and the state’s duty to refrain from actions endangering indigenous livelihoods and to take positive action aimed at their protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Legal Instruments for Marine Sanctuary in the High Arctic
Received: 14 December 2015 / Revised: 6 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 5 May 2016
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Abstract
In response to heightened threat to Arctic marine biodiversity due to polar ice melt, the following paper seeks to use qualitative secondary research to analyze existing anthropogenic threat to Arctic marine life and to evaluate current efforts on the part of the Arctic
[...] Read more.
In response to heightened threat to Arctic marine biodiversity due to polar ice melt, the following paper seeks to use qualitative secondary research to analyze existing anthropogenic threat to Arctic marine life and to evaluate current efforts on the part of the Arctic Council to protect biodiversity through a network of state-created marine protected areas (MPAs). We conclude that the current method for MPA creation fails to offer adequate pathways for creation of MPAs in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), the high seas which fall beyond individual countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Thus, our central research question is to determine what legal basis and mechanisms exist for the creation of MPAs in ABNJs, with particular focus on the Arctic marine environment. In keeping with The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity’s (UNCBD) precautionary approach, along with specific rules embodied within The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), we find a basis for creation of MPAs in the ABNJ. The text evaluates findings from the Boulogne-sur-Mer international conference of 2011 to suggest that such MPA creation in ABNJ could be approached via four pathways: regional agreement, UNCLOS implementing agreement, UNCBD additional protocol, or an Arctic Sanctuary modeled on the Antarctic Treaty. While we explore all four options, we argue that, due to geopolitical constraints, a comprehensive regional agreement offers the best path to High Arctic MPA creation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Marine World Heritage and the Quest for Sustainability
Received: 4 December 2015 / Revised: 13 February 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 23 February 2016
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Abstract
This paper discusses the contribution of marine sites of outstanding universal value, enlisted as natural and mixed sites in the World Heritage List, to the sustainability of marine resources and protection schemes. Departing from the strict application of the Convention’s criteria, the management
[...] Read more.
This paper discusses the contribution of marine sites of outstanding universal value, enlisted as natural and mixed sites in the World Heritage List, to the sustainability of marine resources and protection schemes. Departing from the strict application of the Convention’s criteria, the management requirements and good practices will be discussed, with emphasis on the dissemination of the latter in other (non)protected areas as well as its contribution, in terms of the integrity principle to be met, to the expansion of this approach in areas beyond national jurisdiction through the development of synergies with existing and emerging marine environment protection regimes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law and Sustainability)

Review

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Open AccessReview The Structure of Local Groundwater Law for Sustainable Groundwater Policy in Japan
Received: 2 December 2015 / Revised: 10 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 27 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2260 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Groundwater is extremely important to all societies. It provides in many places a reliable and ample supply of water for home use, irrigation, and industry. Japanese groundwater policy consists of complex laws and rules. The law governing groundwater nationally is inadequate. The main
[...] Read more.
Groundwater is extremely important to all societies. It provides in many places a reliable and ample supply of water for home use, irrigation, and industry. Japanese groundwater policy consists of complex laws and rules. The law governing groundwater nationally is inadequate. The main controversy has been that a river law exists only at a national level, whereas groundwater law does not exist in the national law of Japan. When local government faces problems with groundwater, the policy makers have to solve the problem following their local rules. Each local government solves problems case by case. Local government is used to obeying local rules and old traditions. Local common law becomes the local groundwater rule. Groundwater policy has recently been progressively promoted to an evolution of the local groundwater ordinances for sustainable groundwater conservation. This paper describes the complex legal framework of the related local groundwater policy and regulations under Japanese law. This is a bibliographic survey of Japanese groundwater laws and local groundwater ordinances. It is used to analyze the functions of local autonomy and the role of ordinances and to explain its changing functionalities of groundwater ordinances. Local ordinances are known as the strongest conservation legal network for sustainable groundwater policy in Japan. This is the first paper to try to explain the basic principles of the Japanese groundwater law for an international journal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law and Sustainability)
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