“Environmental law is essential for the protection of natural resources and ecosystems and reflects our best hope for the future of our planet”. This declaration, made by participants at the Rio+20 World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability, reflects the maturing of environmental law around the world. Usually implicitly, but often explicitly, the deliberations at Rio+20 in June 2012 addressed the dual needs for more effective implementation of existing environmental norms and enacting further laws to stem global degradation of the environment. Rio+20 recommended that, in the autumn of 2012, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) act to restructure international systems of governance for environmental sustainability. Rio+20 highlighted the growing vigour of national and local sustainability initiatives worldwide. This essay recounts the environmental law deliberations at Rio+20 and explores the issues that the UNGA will debate.
Nicholas A. Robinson, Reflecting on Measured Deliberations, 42 Envtl. L. & Pol’y 219 (2012)