Transboundary Environmental Harm & the Interplay Between State Responsibility and State Sovereignty

Authors: Raashika Kapoor, Amity Law School, Delhi and Shikhar Venkatesh, National Law University, Jodhpur, Students, India



Environmental pollution is a growing and grave issue in the world today. When this pollution originates in one country but transcends national borders it takes the form of transboundary environmental harm and is no longer protected by the municipal law or jurisdiction of the state of its origin. This paper traces the path between Transboundary Environmental Harm and State Responsibility. Environmental harm that crosses national borders attaches limitations to degree of sovereignty that states can exercise. Such harm brings into light the concept of State Responsibility which requires such harm causing states to own responsibility for the failure of their obligations towards other states and the global environment at large. This paper deals with the principles applied in global environmental governance which aim at regulating the conduct of states in relation to other countries in the international arena as well as judicial pronouncements that have stressed and emphasized on various aspects of transboundary environmental harm, state sovereignty and state responsibility. This paper attempts to shed light on the accord between the sovereignty of the State and the responsibility on the State, and how the sovereignty finds its limitation in the responsibility.

Keywords: Environment Protection, State Responsibility, State Sovereignty, No Harm Rule.


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