The Ecosystem Approach in the Environmental Protection of the Danube River Basin Wetlands

Vučić, Mihajlo (2012) The Ecosystem Approach in the Environmental Protection of the Danube River Basin Wetlands. In: Danube strategy: strategic significance for Serbia. Institute for International Politics and Economics, Belgrade, pp. 197-212. ISBN 978-86-7067-167-6

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The Ecosystem approach is the most cost-efficient and environmentally sound approach to the protection and preservation of shared natural resources. Although lacking legal standing to be proclaimed a principle of law in the environmental legal branch, it has gained considerable recognition in various texts that regulate the trans-boundary share and protection of natural resources, especially those concerning international watercourses and their adjoining natural habitats. It has also been positioned in the legal doctrine as the leading principle of environmental protection, however it is not sufficiently clear what would exactly be the scope of this principle in concrete situations. The utility of the ecosystem approach is especially visible in connection with wetlands, habitats of utmost interdependence and largely threatened by the anthropocentric philosophy of sovereign territorial interests pursuit. Elements of this approach are visibly scattered through various international legal instruments that regulate the environment of the Danube River Basin. However, it is doubtful that they create a firm legal obligation on the part of riparian states to protect their wetlands, irrelevant of the occurrence of environmental harm that affects other sovereign state interests. More likely, they institute a constant process of cooperation, share of information and monitoring, which serves as a framework in which future actions of stakeholders should develop, and very important is that they introduce to this process institutions of civil society, which are the ultimate beneficiaries of wetland protection and preservation. This process might eventually lead to the formulation of hard and fast legal rules that create enforceable obligations, but it is not yet possible to foresee whether this will ever happen. This is a clear reflection of the current state of general international environmental law, and although not the optimal, it is the only currently possible international legal regime in this field.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: ecosystem, environment, Danube, wetlands
Depositing User: Ana Vukićević
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2020 11:20
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2020 11:20

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