The Role of the Principle of Integration in International Environmental Law
Friday 22nd March 16:00 - 18:00. LH228, Lord Hope Building, University of Strathclyde
The “principle” of integration, as coined by the arbitral tribunal in the Iron Rhine Railway case (PCA 2005, Belgium v Netherlands), has, in the context of sustainable development, come to play a prominent role in international environmental law. Aimed at reconciling and providing mutual support between economic, social and environmental concerns, its application has implications for how a variety of institutions work. But implementation of the principle of integration also impinges on the norm creation process, and the process of normative interpretation. Whilst there is some legitimate confusion as to its precise relationship with the objective of sustainable development, it is also still rather unclear how, in practice, integration is supposed to operate. This paper explores the ways in which the principle of integration may influence the development of international environmental law. It will argue that despite accepted arguments that the integration of economic, social and environmental concerns is commonly located within the decision-making process, integration of such concerns may not be achieved by simply taking these issues into account in the course of this process. On the contrary, if the principle of integration is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, then its role should also be to influence the outcome of decisions, to ensure the mutual supportiveness of economic, social and environmental concerns rather than merely ensuring that these have been considered. This presentation also explores the expanding areas where such a conception of integration is becoming or could become relevant, such as in the context of environmental peace-building and it concludes on the promise that a substantive conception of integration carries for the mainstreaming of environmental concerns in an ever wider array of policies.
Virginie Barral is an Associate Professor in Law and Associate Dean Research at Hertfordshire Law School. Her research is mainly in the field of international environmental law, with a focus on sustainable development, equity, climate change, and natural resources law. She is interested in the relationship between systems, norms and concepts and her current research involves exploring the nexus between culture and the environment.