The concept of Global Pact for the Environment is an international treaty aimed at giving legal meaning to fundamental principles of environmental law in a form that enshrines environmental rights and obligations worldwide.
Furthermore, a Global Pact would allow civilizations to address issues like plastic waste. An ambitious Global Environment Pact might transform the fight against environmental degradation. The purpose of this article is to give an outline of the Global Pact effort and to discuss its revolutionary potential.
Why We Need Global Pact
The State of the Global Environment
Humankind has failed to address the century’s worldwide environmental concerns since the Earth Summit in 1992, with the significant exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer. The Anthropocene is a “major extinction event, the sixth in around 540 million years, in which many present living forms might be exterminated or at the very least committed to extinction by the end of this century,” according to scientists.
Global Environmental Constitutionalism
A Global Pact aims to raise environmental law concepts to the status of universal and inalienable fundamental rights. As a result, it would “constitutionalize” these essential concepts by incorporating them into the top layer of domestic law’s pyramid of norms. International environmental law presently lacks the instruments necessary to guarantee that core environmental values are established and invokable in the constitution. On a global scale, a Global Pact can offer the overall language required to incorporate environmental protection into the upper levels of state legislation.
Filling the Gaps in International Environmental Law
Because there isn’t a larger set of legally enforceable standards, there are huge regulatory gaps and crucial concerns remain unanswered. Most observers agree that plastic pollution, like air pollution, is now a problem that has gone largely neglected. These difficulties may now be properly handled with a well-organized, legally binding solution. Meanwhile, their wide regulation may be based on a general declaration of enforceable principles capable of not only imposing responsibilities but also stimulating substantial regional and national action.
Addressing Fragmentation in International Environmental Law
Importantly, a Global Pact would serve as a broad, synthesizing framework that would clearly define the principles of international environmental law to which governments are obliged. As a result, a Global Pact would ensure that the underlying principles of environmental law are interpreted and applied consistently, eliminating the law’s fragmentation.
50 Years In The Making
What is the history of the Global Pact effort, and where is it headed? The Stockholm Conference in 1972 sparked a drive to establish a global legislative framework for environmental protection. This historic event paved the way for domestic environmental legislation all across the world, as well as the establishment of many national environmental ministries. Despite this, the conference’s proclamation was only a soft-law document with no legal standing.
The 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development was the movement’s next big step forward. The Rio Declaration, which established constitutional principles for global environmental governance, sparked the development of customary rules, many of which have now been codified in international treaties. The Declaration’s soft-law concepts provided the basis for the Global Pact, sparking a global discussion about the need for an all-encompassing legal framework.
In 2015, the Club de Juristes, a legal think tank, published a paper urging the development of a Universal Pact to unify environmental legislation into a single, all-encompassing instrument. The study benefited from the recent Paris Agreement’s success, and international support grew even further in 2017, when over 100 environmental law experts from over 40 nations met to complete a draft text. Toward a Global Pact for the Environment was issued later that year by a panel of experts led by COP 21 president Laurent Fabius.
At this time, international support was growing, with over 40 heads of state declaring their support at the Summit on a Global Pact for the Environment. With the passage of the resolution “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment” in May 2018, action on behalf of the UN General Assembly was completed. Only five states voted against the resolution, with the United States being one of those five.
One of the resolution’s conditions was that the UN Secretary General create a report, which was released in November 2018, and said that a comprehensive and unifying legal instrument may actually enhance international environmental law. A working group was formed to offer recommendations to the UN General Assembly on the subject, and it convened in Nairobi for three substantive meetings in 2019.
Benefits of Global Pact
Global Pact would establish a global environmental constitution enshrining core environmental rights. As a result, it would give both state and non-state actors the legal instruments they need to spur continued legal progress. Specific sectoral restrictions abound in environmental law. It encompasses around 500 international agreements focusing on certain industries and aimed at nation-state-level interactions. There are numerous environmental laws, regulations, and a developing corpus of case law at the regional and national levels. However, present environmental governance, whether considered independently or in combination, still lacks clear direction and requirements for other players in society, such as individuals, companies, and municipal governments.
A Global Pact would bestow rights, obligations, and responsibilities on these vital aspects of society, spurring effective involvement and action in environmental conservation. A Global Pact might serve as a compass for all members of society, including individuals, companies, and governments. A Pact would give additional assurances to citizens and NGOs, as well as increase their ability to pursue their environmental rights in national courts. A Pact would level the playing field for businesses and give more stability and legal protection, both of which are critical when making long-term investments. A Pact might serve as a foundation for future laws for countries.
Adoption of the Global Pact might also help to strengthen global environmental constitutionalism. In practice, this implies that when its ideas are translated into legally binding environmental activities, the process of integrating environmental standards into national legal systems may be hastened. Environmental constitutionalism is gaining traction throughout the world, and the Global Pact would only speed up the trend of governments including environmental protection among their core ideals of governance.
The status of the global environment necessitates immediate and concerted action on the part of all governments. Citizen, civil society, and private sector mobilization can break the international political community’s deadlock. A Global Environment Pact provides a chance to re-energize multilateralism. It is one of the most important mechanisms for achieving meaningful action by both state and non-state actors in order to assure a long-term future. It can serve as a compass for all performers. Furthermore, it might give the world a global environmental constitution as well as the legal instruments it needs to build a sustainable global society. There is hope for the world with a Global Pact.