The Historical Development of International Environmental Law: A Legal Appraisal


International environmental law, which developed as a subset of international law in the mid-twentieth century is a body of international law concerned with protecting the environment, principally through multilateral and bilateral international treaties. International environmental law evolved as a result of widespread global concern about the ever increasing environmental challenges and the need for international action for the protection of the natural environment. While environmental protection activities started in several nations in the nineteenth century, these activities in general only dealt with environmental challenges within a particular nation. Likewise, there were conventions which tackled only a particular environmental problem and therefore, had inadequate global effects. An increasing body of reports shows the general scientific consensus of the reality of environmental degradation caused primarily by human activity and the need for an international solution to environmental problems. Scientific reports from around the world have established that environmental problems such as air and water pollution, natural resource depletion, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, climate change, etc, often have impacts that goes far beyond the boundaries of any specific nation. This paper assesses the historical development of international environmental law, particularly, as it relates to the early and modern development of international environmental law through treaties (conventions), international environmental conferences and non-binding soft law instruments. The paper further discusses the sources of international environmental law.

Citation: Okogbule I C.S., Agwor D.O.N., and Nyekwere E.H. (2022) The Historical Development of International Environmental Law: A Legal Appraisal, Global Journal of Politics and Law Research, Vol.10, No.8, pp.33-54

Keywords: International environmental law, development of international environmental law, sources of international environmental law


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 33-54 (Download PDF)

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