Governing the global commons: an ethical-legal framework
Keywords:global ecological commons, The Earth Charter, Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, fiduciary obligations, United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ethics and international environmental law, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, emergent communitarian values
Governance of the Earth’s global ecological commons creates unprecedented challenges for humanity. Our traditional Westphalian state system was not designed to respond to these global challenges and thus far it has failed to transform. Climate change is the current headline issue; 30 years on and we still swing between hope and despair about our collective ability to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Related issues are beginning to vie for our response: ocean acidification, mass species extinction, land use change and freshwater scarcity.
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