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Title: О роли и месте ООН в системе международного природоохранного сотрудничества
Other Titles: On the Role and Position of the United Nations in the System of International Environmental Cooperation (Yury Marchenko)
Authors: Марченко, Юрий Викторович
Keywords: ЭБ БГУ::ОБЩЕСТВЕННЫЕ НАУКИ::Комплексные проблемы общественных наук
ЭБ БГУ::МЕЖОТРАСЛЕВЫЕ ПРОБЛЕМЫ::Охрана окружающей среды. Экология человека
Issue Date: 1999
Citation: Белорусский журнал международного права и международных отношений. — 1999. — № 2
Abstract: The article "On the Role and Position of the United Nations in the System of International Environmental Cooperation" discusses the environmental activities of the United Nations and its role in the emerging global environmental governance. The primary focus is on the furtherance of international environmental law. As early as in the 1960s several United Nations specialised agencies were forced to address various environmental issues, such as oil pollution from ships, conservation of fisheries, and the impact of pollutants on human health. However, it was the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 that developed a comprehensive and systematic approach to dealing with environmental problems in the framework of the UN system. The conference resulted, inter alia, in the adoption of the Declaration on the Human Environment. In the article the text of the Declaration is discussed briefly. It is emphasised that the Stockholm declaration provided the impetus for the rapid development of international environmental law. The most remarkable outcome of the Stockholm Conference was the establishment of the United Nations Environmental Programme. Formally, UNEP is a subsidiary organ rather than a specialised agency. UNEP's role is to catalyse and co-ordinate the actions of other institutions while the implementation of environmental programmes is undertaked by the UN as a whole. Notwithstanding the limited scope of powers and modest budget, UNEP has achieved impressive results, especially in the sphere of collection and dissemination of environmental information. This kind of activities is carried out by UNEP in the framework of the Earthwatch Programme. The principal element of Earthwatch is the Global Environmental Monitoring System, which covers various monitoring networks sponsored by UNEP and other institutions. Also, UNEP became the forum for development of international environmental law. UNEP has contributed towards initiation, negotiation and implementation of the most important environmental treaties. Amongst the most significant accomplishments is the conclusion of the 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Initially, UNEP prompted intensive scientific discussion on the problem of ozone depletion. Then, it managed to channel political will towards the adoption of a binding instrument. As a result, the Vienna convention was signed with surprising speed. Moreover, only two years later the convention was supplemented with the detailed Montreal Protocol. Besides UNEP, other UN organs and agencies have also impinged the development of international environmental law. For instance, UNESCO has elaborated the 1971 Ramsar Convention on the Wetlands of International Importance and the 1972 Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The International Maritime Organisation has drafted the bulk of treaties concerning protection of maritime environment. Not only do the organs and organisations of the UN system participate in the creation of international treaties, they also adopt their own decisions that form so-called 'soft-law'. In comparison with traditional treaty making process, nonbinding resolutions and declarations allow the states to reach a consensus on standards and objectives more speedily. The final chapter of the article concentrates on the results of the Conference on the Environment and Development, held in Rio in 1992. In particular, the non-binding Rio declaration is analysed. This remarkable instrument is centred on the concept of sustainable development, which was initially developed by the Brundtland commission in its celebrated report Our common future. The outcome of the Rio conference brought a mixed reaction from the commentators. On the one hand, dealing with environmental deterioration as the matter of 'high politics' this forum was a remarkable historical landmark in the furtherance of global environmental ernance. On the other, the conference in Rio exposed tensions between the states in the critical fields: global warming and destruction of tropical forests. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change provides a striking illustration. Due to the opposition of the United States, the convention in question lacks any thresholds and deadlines. In the aftermath of the Earth Summit, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development was established. The creation of the commission is usually considered to be the most important achievement of the Rio conference. However, this event appears to be overestimated. Without power to legislate and implement, CSD appears to be just another inefficient yet ambitious bureaucratic body.In conclusion, possible trends in the development of UN's action in the environmental realm are discussed. At the present time, the United Nations system experiences the period of reforming and renewing. In line with the overall renovation of the United Nations, UNEP should be also reformed and refocused on new challenges. In the author's view, it is necessary to transform UNEP into a global organisation with the status of a specialised agency. Moreover, the author supposes that the competence of the United Nations needs be strengthened with the power to issue binding regulations which have direct effect in the member states. As has been shown, there is some progress in the process of treaty making. Nevertheless, traditional diplomacy is, by definition, not able to address the whole range of environmental problems adequately. Should the jurisdictional competence of the UN be broadened, at least two conditions are to be fulfilled. First, the scope of issues, on which the UN would be empowered to legislate, has to be strictly limited. The UN organs should deal only with the problems that cannot be solved properly at the national or regional levels. Secondly, decision-making within the UN system needs to be considerably democratised.
Description: Раздел - "Международное право", рубрика - "Международное экологическое право"
URI: http://elib.bsu.by/handle/123456789/30261
Appears in Collections:Белорусский журнал международного права и международных отношений. — 1999. — № 2

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