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THE IMPACT OF THE BASIC FUNCTIONS AND PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW IN THE CONTEXT OF MANAGING WATER RESOURCES

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Tags: International environmental law Principles of international environmental law Managing water resources Evaluation of water resources Assessment of water resources

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CHAPTER ONE                        

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background of the study

We live in a world where we are subject to environmental and economic effects that transcend national boundaries. Increasing globalization has led to a greater recognition of the need to address many of these issues through a global or a regional approach. In some respects, international law relating to the utilization of shared freshwater resources has become much clearer in recent years. It is now beyond debate that the principle of ‘equitable utilization’ is the pre-eminent rule relating to the utilization of international watercourses. According to this rule, the determination of a reasonable and equitable regime for the utilization of an international watercourse is usually understood in terms of consideration of a number of familiar relevant factors or criteria. However, among the various factors impacting upon the application of this principle, it is possible to argue that considerations relating to the environmental protection of international watercourses are steadily increasing in terms of their significance and complexity. This is largely due to the emergence in general and customary international law of a comprehensive suite of rules, principles and legal concepts requiring enhanced protection of various aspects of the natural environment of international watercourses and riparian States. The normative content of such rules and principles is becoming increasingly clearly defined, both through their ongoing elaboration into a sophisticated corpus of legal requirements and through growing understanding of their mutual relevance. Indeed, it can be argued that it is the normative sophistication and comprehensive coverage of general environmental rules that give added ‘voice’ to environmental concerns within the determination of a reasonable and equitable regime for the utilization of an international watercourse. In addition, these rules and principles are increasingly supported by sophisticated rules of procedure, adding further to their normative clarity and justiciability. This paper is based on a detailed survey and analysis conducted of declaratory and conventional instruments, of judicial and arbitrary practice, of recorded State practice, of codifications by intergovernmental agencies and learned associations, and of academic commentary, in relation to a number of established and emerging rules and principles of substantive and procedural international environmental law. These include, under substantive rules: the duty to prevent transboundary pollution; the duty to co-operate; the duty to conduct transboundary EIA; the doctrine of sustainable development; the principle of intergenerational equity; the principle of common but differentiated responsibility; the precautionary principle; the polluter pays principle, and the ecosystems approach. Under procedural rules, these include: the duty to notify; duties in relation to the ongoing exchange of information; the duties to consult and to negotiate in good faith; the duty to warn; and duties relating to the settlement of disputes. Environmental protection and conservation is the need of the hour. Better utilization of human and natural resources would make the country strong and powerful. Every problem has an answer. Today, most discussions on environmentalism in our country begin with the Stockholm Conference (1972). But, some ancient studies tell us that our society paid more attention to protecting our environment than we can imagine. These study tell us that it was the dharma of each individual in society is to protect Nature, so much so that people worshipped the objects of nature. Manusmriti prescribed different punishments for causing injury to plants. Kautilya’s went step further and determined punishments on the basis of the importance of a particular part of a tree. Inferentially, we can state that environmental management and control of pollution was not limited to an individual or a group, but society as a whole accepted its duty to protect the environment. When attempting to determine the boundaries of international environmental law, no clear definition can be applied. Like many other branches of international law, international environmental law is interdisciplinary, intersecting and overlapping with numerous other areas of research, including economics, political science, ecology, human rights and navigation/admiralty. The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Bonn, Germany, 19–30 May 2008, adopted decision IX/19 which strongly supported the need for strengthened international cooperation regarding the allocation and management of water, including urging Parties to ratify and implement international watercourse agreements, as a means to implement the provisions of the CBD in this area. This recent decision adds considerable legal and political weight to ongoing efforts to improve regulatory frameworks for international cooperation regarding water. It also broadens the arguments for such cooperation by highlighting linkages between transboundary watercourse management, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use and human well-being. This volume of the CBD Technical Series has been prepared to provide expanded background information on this topic. It assesses the role and relevance of the UN Watercourses Convention and the UNECE Water Convention for supplementing and strengthening the regulatory framework under the CBD governing water allocation and management, as well as transboundary water issues. The UN Watercourses Convention codifies minimum substantive and procedural standards of transboundary water cooperation and clarifies the fundamental principles and rules governing the rights and duties of watercourse States. The UNECE Water Convention is a pioneering regional instrument that, in the future, could benefit the entire world with a well-developed and appropriate set of rules governing transboundary water systems, if the 2003 amendments opening the convention for accession by non-UNECE Member States become effective. In that context, section II explains the importance of, and need for, improved water allocation and management. It highlights the need and opportunity for better understanding the links between water allocation and management, the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and human development. This section also explains existing guidance on this subject, particularly that of the Ramsar Convention. Section III places discussions within the broader context of United Nations priorities in the fields of water allocation and transboundary waters. Section IV explores how the CBD has addressed the problems of water allocation and management, as well as transboundary water issues.

1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Bonn, Germany, 19–30 May 2008, adopted decision IX/19 which strongly supported the need for strengthened international cooperation regarding the allocation and management of water, including urging Parties to ratify and implement international watercourse agreements, as a means to implement the provisions of the CBD in this area. This recent decision adds considerable legal and political weight to ongoing efforts to improve regulatory frameworks for international cooperation regarding water. It also broadens the arguments for such cooperation by highlighting linkages between trans boundary watercourse management, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use and human well-being, it is in view of this that the researcher intend to investigate the impact of basic functions and principles of international environmental law in the context of managing water resources.

1.3      OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to ascertain the impact of the basic functions and principles of international environmental laws in the context of managing water resources. But for the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objective;

i)             To ascertain the impact international laws in managing water resources

ii)           To ascertain the role of international law in environmental protection

iii)          To examine the possible ways of ensuring peaceful coexistence along transnational boundaries in international waters

iv)         To proffer possible solutions to the identified problem

1.4      RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

To aid the completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher

H0:  international laws has no significant impact on the management of water resources

H1: international laws has a significant impact on the management of water resources

H02: international laws does not play any significant role in the protection allocation and management of water resources

H2:  international laws do play a significant role in the protection, allocation and management of water resources.

1.5      SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of important to the national environmental agency and the Nigerian maritime and safety agency who are saddle with the responsibility of environmental management, protection and formulation of policy to guide marine transport and protection of terrestrial boundaries and water ways respectively, as the study seek to enumerate the functions of international laws. The study will also be of great importance to student who intend to embark on a study in similar topic as the findings of the study will serve as a pathfinder to them. Finally the study will be of great importance to students, teachers and the general public as the finding will add to the pool of existing literature.

1.6      SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the impact of the basic functions and principle of international environmental laws in the context of managing water resources. But in the cause of the studiers, the researcher encounters some constraint which limited the scope of the study;

(a) Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.      

(b) Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

(c) Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Environmental laws  

Environmental law, also known as environmental and natural resources law, is a collective term describing the network of treaties, statutes, regulations, common and customary laws addressing the effects of human activity on the natural environment.

International environment

Managing a business in a foreign country requires managers to deal with a large variety of cultural and environmental differences. As a result, international managers must continually monitor the political, legal, sociocultural, economic, and technological environments.

Water resources

Water resources are sources of water that are potentially useful. Uses of water include agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities. The majority of needs of human beings and other living beings requires water to fulfill them.

1.8      Organization of the study

This research work is organized in five chapters for easy understanding as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study it’s based thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and recommendations made of the study.

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