Thesis elaborated under the advice of Professor Nicholas Robinson as one of the requirements for receiving the Masters of Laws degree in Environmental Law.

Document Type



This article departs from the observation of accentuated degradation of ecosystems worldwide to stress the urgency in changing the patterns of occupation of the land, production, consumption and the ecological and ethical goals of environmental conservation. Aiming to achieve these ends, this article proposes the acknowledgement of the principle of resilience in international environmental law. The principle of resilience is articulated herein based on the concept of ecological resilience; the values of land ethic; and the existing principles of international environmental law. Later, the article explains how the principle can be applied to adaptive governance; adaptive management; environmental impact assessment; land use legislation; and market incentives for conservation. The article concludes that the principle of resilience is aimed at providing moral and ecological foundation for sustainable development and a green economy; to require judges, administrators and operators of law to consider the long-term consequences of their actions on nature and on future generations, thereby achieving better conservation patterns on a case by case basis; to enlighten legislators on how domestic environmental legislation can be improved; to impose an individual and societal moral obligation to respect and improve nature, and to live in harmony with it. Finally, the article proposes a legal framework for implementation of the principle in domestic and international environmental law.