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The Nature of Law Newsletter, September 2010

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PROVIDING NEWS & PERSPECTIVES ON ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL & INTERNATIONAL LAW PRACTICE

September 2010
Message from the Chief Counsel


This edition of our newsletter allows us to hear on important topics from two honored alumni of the Environment and International Law Unit of the World Bank’s Legal Vice Presidency. David Freestone, our former Chief Counsel who is now teaching at George Washington University Law School, entertains us with the subtleties of interpreting the Copenhagen Accord, and former Lead Counsel Salman Salman delves into important Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling on territorial claims in Sudan. The PCA effort at dispute resolution underscores the critical aspect of various legal dispute resolution mechanisms in resolving environment-related disputes. As well, the International Court of Justice once more wrestles with environmental issues while addressing Argentina's claim against Uruguay for pulp mill operations on the La Plata River that were financed in part by the International Finance Corporation. Maurizio Ragazzi informs us that this important ICJ decision highlights once again the critical role of environmental impact assessment as part of international law. Alberto Ninio continues on this theme by noting the great challenges posed for environmental litigation to resolve the damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon spill and its ramifications for developing countries. Finally, the newsletter notes a challenge in a different setting by including a statement presented to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues concerning the Bank's policy on Indigenous Peoples, forests and climate change. Special thanks are due to Lead Counsel Alberto Ninio for his inspiration in pulling together this edition despite his heavy workload, and to Victor Mosoti, our newest LEGEN attorney who helped as well. We hope you enjoy this latest edition and, as always, welcome your comments and suggestions.

Charles E. Di Leva
Chief Counsel, Environment and International Law Unit
Legal Vice Presidency - The World Bank

By Invitation


The Copenhagen Accord: Train Wreck or Paradigm Shift ?
David Freestone

It might be useful to reflect a little on the significance of the Copenhagen Accord – the sole outcome of the Meeting that was designed to be the culmination of a four year intensive process to negotiate a legal regime to take over once the Kyoto commitment period ends in 2012. It is interesting that whereas in Europe the Copenhagen meeting was generally regarded as a disaster, US commentators have been more positive – seeing it as a new model for a climate agreement. It is worth reflecting on what the Accord says and putting forward a few thoughts about its significance for international action to counter climate change. More   

Features


The Abyei Territorial Dispute between Northern and Southern Sudan and the Decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration
Salman M. A. Salman

On January 9, 2005, the Government of the Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) concluded the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), ending a long, bitter and destructive civil war between the Northern and the Southern parts of the Sudan. The CPA consisted of a number of separate agreements and protocols that were painstakingly and incrementally negotiated between 2001 and 2005. More 

World Bank Statement on UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Application of World Bank Safeguard Policies to Forest and Climate Change Operations
Charles Di Leva

The World Bank was requested to make a statement to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at its Ninth Session to explain how the Bank approaches the issue of Free Prior and Informed Consent and other issues concerning Indigenous Peoples.  The statement was delivered on April 26 and dealt with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and application of the Bank's safeguard policies to Forest and Climate Change operations.  The statement follows in verbatim form immediately below. 

"This is the ninth year that the World Bank has participated in the sessions of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. We wish to thank once again the Permanent Forum for drawing the World Bank’s attention to various critical issues affecting Indigenous Peoples". More 

River Uruguay Dispute before the International Court of Justice - Judgment
Maurizio Ragazzi

In May 2006, Argentina had brought a case against Uruguay before the International Court of Justice (the ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The dispute was about the planned construction, authorized by Uruguay, of two pulp mills on the River Uruguay, a natural boundary between the two countries. In May 2006, Argentina had brought a case against Uruguay before the International Court of Justice (the ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The dispute was about the planned construction, authorized by Uruguay, of two pulp mills on the River Uruguay, a natural boundary between the two countries. More 

Burkina Faso and Niger Refer Border Dispute to International Court of Justice
Julius Martin Thaler

On July 20, 2010 Burkina Faso and Niger referred a long lasting dispute over their common border to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  The submission of the dispute to the Court is part of a wider agreement between the two states to resolve the dispute over their 650 km long common border between two identified endpoints, the survey pillar at Tong Tong (14 deg 25’ 04”N, 00 deg 12’ 47”E) in the north to the Boutou curve in the south (12 deg 36’ 18”N, 01 deg 52’ 07”E). More

Publications


Mainstreaming Wildlife Conservation into Development

Alberto Ninio and Yuan Tao jointly published an article entitled “Mainstreaming Wildlife Conservation into Development” in the Journal of the WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society (Winter 2009, Vol. II). Wildlife is a renewable resource. If properly managed, it can generate sustained streams of benefits that serve development needs. Worldwide, there is a high demand for wildlife resources and products made from them. The World Bank experience in natural resource management shows that wildlife management must include the correct understanding of issues such as the quantity, distribution and density of wildlife populations. More 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  


The Environment and International Law Unit of the World Bank’s Legal Vice Presidency (LEGEN) provides advice to the Bank on all environmental and international legal and policy issues related to Bank-financed, implemented and/or supported projects.

For futher information, please email us: legalhelpdesk@worldbank.org

 

 


Last updated: 2010-09-01




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