The rise of sustainable development as a central theme of modern international legal discourse has occurred over an extraordinarily compact period of twenty to thirty years at the end of the 20th century, and it is to this day undeniably dominating legal thinking in the fields of economic, social and environmental relations. Yet, the principle’s broad and evasive texture carries with it significant hesitation as to its meaning, contents and legal implications. Such hesitation is first manifest in the multiplicity of terms associated with the expression, sometimes as a principle, but often as a concept, an objective, a framework or even a discourse or paradigm. It is also apparent in the contrasting opinions relating to its definition and constitutive elements. Arguably however, the variability of the standards attached to sustainable development is a necessary consequence of the evolving nature of the principle and do not prohibit the identification of the inherent constitutive elements of the notion. In addition, sustainable development’s wide dissemination in international law is testimony to its legal nature. Sustainable development ultimately operates both as a principle of interpretation to assist the resolution of conflicts of norms or of interest in the judicial process, and as an objective that international subjects must strive to achieve.
|Title of host publication||Principles of Environmental Law|
|Editors||Ludwig Kramer, Emanuela Orlando|
|Publisher||Edward Elgar Publishing|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2018|
|Name||Elgar Encyclopaedia on Environmental Law series|
- principle, concept, objective of sustainable development; intra-generational equity; intergenerational equity; integration; principle of conciliation or conflict resolution; obligation of means.