The current state of development of the no significant harm principle: How far have we come?

Show simple item record McIntyre, Owen 2020-09-24T08:57:21Z 2020-09-24T08:57:21Z 2020-09-09
dc.identifier.citation McIntyre, O. (2020) 'The current state of development of the no significant harm principle: How far have we come?', International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics. doi: 10.1007/s10784-020-09501-8 en
dc.identifier.issn 1567-9764
dc.identifier.doi 10.1007/s10784-020-09501-8 en
dc.description.abstract The duty to prevent significant transboundary harm remains a cornerstone principle of international law, and especially of international environmental and water resources law. However, this rule focuses on the conduct of a State where harm originates, rather than on the fact that harm has resulted from such conduct, and thus requires that States exercise due diligence in anticipating and in preventing or mitigating such harm. At a practical level, the due diligence standard of conduct expected of States can be uncertain and difficult to determine, as it must be deduced from the applicable primary rules of international environmental or water resources law, which have traditionally been elaborated in rather vague terms. In addition, the standard of due diligence required under the no-harm rule may be influenced by a range of variable and context-specific factors which might prove relevant in the particular circumstances of any dispute. Such uncertainty is further compounded in the field of international water law by the complex interrelationship between the no-harm rule and the other key norms of international water law, particularly the cardinal principle of equitable and reasonable utilization, which embodies a high degree of flexibility and adaptability and suffers from a corresponding degree of normative indeterminacy. Thankfully, recent developments in international water law and related practice regarding the requirement to protect riverine ecosystems and maintain related ecosystem services lend a welcome measure of clarity as regards the preventive measures expected of watercourse States under international law. Judicial recognition of obligations to maintain minimum environmental flows and to preserve or restore riverine ecosystem services, based on the proliferation of such values in treaty and declarative practice, along with the continuing development of sophisticated technical methodologies for ecosystems assessment and evaluation, do much to inform the due diligence conduct required of States. Such advances can only enhance the practical utility of the no-harm rule, and thus of the entire corpus of international water law, in addressing the challenges emerging globally for water resources management in the twenty-first century. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Springer Nature Switzerland AG en
dc.rights © 2020, Springer Nature B.V. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics. The final authenticated version is available online at: en
dc.subject No signifcant harm en
dc.subject Due diligence en
dc.subject Ecosystem services en
dc.title The current state of development of the no significant harm principle: How far have we come? en
dc.type Article (peer-reviewed) en
dc.internal.authorcontactother Owen Mcintyre, Law, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. +353-21-490-3000 Email: en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en Access to this article is restricted until 12 months after publication by request of the publisher. en 2021-09-09 2020-09-23T12:23:10Z
dc.description.version Accepted Version en
dc.internal.rssid 504359983
dc.description.status Peer reviewed en
dc.identifier.journaltitle International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics en
dc.internal.copyrightchecked Yes
dc.internal.licenseacceptance Yes en
dc.internal.IRISemailaddress en
dc.internal.bibliocheck In press. Check vol / issue / page range. Amend citation as necessary. en
dc.identifier.eissn 1573-1553

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