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Part 3 The United Nations: What it Does, 24 Protecting the Environment

Dame Rosalyn Higgins DBE QC, Philippa Webb, Dapo Akande, Sandesh Sivakumaran, James Sloan

From: Oppenheim's International Law: United Nations

Rosalyn Higgins, Philippa Webb, Dapo Akande, Sandesh Sivakumaran, James Sloan

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 30 May 2023

Sustainable development — Environmental disputes — Pollution — Precautionary principle

The United Nations (UN) has taken action to protect the environment despite the absence of any explicit mention of the environment or its protection in the UN Charter. The UN has ‘played a pivotal role as a framework for developing environmental decision-making’. It has also ‘contributed to many of the principles of environmental law’, including the polluter-pays principle, the notion of common differentiated responsibilities, and the precautionary principle. This chapter discusses the work of the principal organs, including the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and International Court of Justice; the work of the specialized agencies; institutional arrangements of multilateral environmental agreements; and the United Nations Environment Programme.

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