2018 ICC Primer on the Global Pact for the Environment

The Pact is a preliminary draft of an international treaty which was initially developed by a group of international environmental lawyers seeking to address the fragmented nature and inconsistent implementation of international environmental law by bringing together its fundamental principles under one legally binding framework instrument.

The Pact aims to become the cornerstone of international environmental law and strengthen the coherence of global environmental governance. If adopted, the Pact could therefore have an impact on the duties and responsibilities of business.

In particular, having regard to the draft text developed by a group of international environmental lawyers, the Pact would:

  1. Create a legal framework, which would aim to address the challenges posed by environmental degradation in the context of sustainable development and induce some greater degree of uniformity of environmental laws in all countries.
  2. Codify and give legal force to certain current environmental principles considered in international law to be “soft law”.
  3. Create a “third generation” of human rights related to the environment (building on the UN’s two existing international human rights covenants on civil and political rights and on economic, social, and cultural rights).
  4. Call on governments to take the necessary measures to encourage its implementation by non-State actors and subnational entities, including civil society, economic actors, cities and regions taking into account their vital role in the protection of the environment (Art. 14) and to “adopt effective environmental laws, and to ensure their effective and fair implementation and enforcement” (Art. 15).

It is important to note that the preliminary document will not be the basis of the negotiated treaty document, however, it may be used as a reference.

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