The International Law of Environmental Impact Assessment: Process, Substance and Integration

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The central idea animating environmental impact assessment (EIA) is that decisions affecting the environment should be made through a comprehensive evaluation of predicted impacts. Notwithstanding their evaluative mandate, EIA processes do not impose specific environmental standards, but rely on the creation of open, participatory and information-rich decision-making settings to bring about environmentally benign outcomes. In light of this tension between process and substance, Neil Craik assesses whether EIA, as a method of implementing international environmental law, is a sound policy strategy, and how international EIA commitments structure transnational interactions in order to influence decisions affecting the international environment. Through a comprehensive description of international EIA commitments and their implementation within domestic and transnational governance structures, and drawing on specific examples of transnational EIA processes, the author examines how international EIA commitments can facilitate interest coordination, and provide opportunities for persuasion and for the internalization of international environmental norms.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Whether interested in theory or practice, the contribution of international EIA norms to process, substance and integration is admirably documented and analysed in this book, which is a significant addition to the literature on EIA and the law at all levels.' Simon Marsden, Journal of Environmental Conservation
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Neil Craik is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Table of cases     xiii
Table of international instruments     xvi
Introduction and overview     3
EIAs and the process and substance of international law     3
Proceduralism, transnationalism and integration     6
EIAs and compliance     11
Overview     14
Method     16
Background norms
Domestic origins of international EIA commitments     23
Introduction     23
Elements of domestic EIA processes     25
Domestic EIA structure: process and substance     34
The roles of domestic EIA processes     37
EIA in developing countries     42
Application of domestic EIA beyond the state     45
Conclusion     51
EIAs and general principles of international environmental law     54
Introduction     54
Nondiscrimination     55
The harm principle     59
The duty to cooperate     68
The proceduralization of the harm principle     72
Sustainable development     77
Conclusion     82
EIA commitments in international law
Sources of international EIA commitments     87
Introduction     87
Explicit EIA commitments     90
Formally non-binding instruments     90
MEAs as a source of international EIA     96
EIA guideline documents     105
International organizations     108
EIA and interstate disputes     111
Customary obligations to perform EIAs     120
Elaboration of existing EIA commitments     126
Conclusion     129
The structure of international EIA commitments     132
Introduction     132
Screening     133
Scoping and the contents of EIA reports     139
Notification and consultation     141
Public participation     146
Final decisions     150
Post-project monitoring     153
Strategic environmental assessment     155
Implementation     159
Conclusion     161
Determinants of international EIA commitments     161
Structure of EIA commitments     167
The role of EIA commitments in international law
EIAs and compliance     175
Introduction     175
Implementation, compliance and effectiveness     178
Process-oriented compliance models     182
The managerial model     182
Transnational legal process     187
Legitimacy and compliance     189
Process values: transparency, participation and discursiveness     194
Transparency     194
Participation     196
Discursiveness     198
EIAs as transnational legal processes     200
Substantive values: normativity and context     208
Standards and norms in EIA processes     209
Context and EIAs     212
Science as a normative influence     216
Conclusion     225
EIAs, interests and legitimacy     228
Introduction     228
EIAs and interest-coordination     229
EIAs and interest-transformation     235
EIAs and legitimacy     244
Conclusion     251
EIAs and the process and substance of international environmental law     257
Introduction     257
Proceduralism, transnationalism and integration in international environmental governance     258
Process-oriented approaches and EIAs     267
Proceduralization as a form of governance     271
The effectiveness of international EIA commitments     274
Conclusion: an action-forcing mechanism for international environmental law     279
List of international instruments containing EIA commitments     283
Espoo Convention     294
Antarctic Protocol, Annex I     309
Bibliography     313
Index     327

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