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Depositphotos | yulan

© Depositphotos | yulan

Biodiversity and Human Rights: A Binding Legal Obligation to Stop Biodiversity Loss

Beyond climate change, the planet faces several other environmental challenges that are at least as threatening, such as the loss of biodiversity.

In each case, the problems are driven by similar factors, such as fossil fuels and intensive livestock farming. A paper presents a legal analysis concerning the binding nature of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) overarching objective to halt biodiversity loss, within the framework of international environmental and human rights law. Using the established legal techniques encompassing grammatical, systematic, teleological, and historical interpretations, the article demonstrates that the CBD’s objective to halt biodiversity loss is indeed legally binding and justiciable. This conclusion is directly drawn from interpreting Article 1 CBD. Furthermore, a comparable obligation emerges indirectly from international climate law.

The imperative to curtail biodiversity loss also finds grounding in human rights law, albeit necessitating a re-evaluation of certain aspects of freedom, similar to what has been explored in the context of climate protection. Moreover, the article underscores that various other biodiversity-related regulations within international law, including those laid out in the CBD, the Aichi Targets, and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, also carry partial legal significance. Nonetheless, it is crucial to note that these regulations, including the Kunming-Montreal Framework, do not modify the obligation mandate to halt biodiversity loss, which was established at the latest when the CBD entered into force in 1993. Because this obligation has been violated since then, states could potentially be subject to legal action before international or domestic courts for their actions or inactions contributing to global biodiversity loss.



Prof. Dr. Dr. Felix Ekardt, LL.M., M.A. | Forschungsstelle Nachhaltigkeit und Klimapolitik (Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy) 2023

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