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Part III Conceptual Pillars, Ch.19 Differentiation

Philippe Cullet

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (2nd Edition)

Edited By: Lavanya Rajamani, Jacqueline Peel

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 25 March 2023

International environmental law

This chapter explores differential treatment, which is one of the main instruments that exist in international environmental law to foster equity. It builds on ideas of global distributive justice and helps to rebalance some of the most visible inequalities arising between formally equal states of very different size, power, and natural resource endowments. The principle that reflects differential treatment in international environmental law is that of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). The chapter discusses the conceptual bases for and development of differential treatment. This confirms the significance of the break proposed to the traditional international legal framework and explains the continuing opposition to differential treatment by some countries. The chapter then highlights the different manifestations of differential treatment in international environmental law and shows that differential treatment pervades the whole field. It also looks at some of the critiques of differentiation and the forms of differential treatment that have evolved over the past couple of decades.

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