Desarrollo sostenible, preocupación común de la humanidad y bienes públicos globales. Reflexiones en torno a su incidencia en el Derecho internacional del medio ambiente

Translated title of the contribution: Sustainable development, common concern of humankind and global public goods. Reflections on their impact on international environmental law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


This communication analyzes the incidence of the concept of 'sustainable development' in the legal articulation of international cooperation to address global environmental problems. More specifically, the normative developments of international environmental law that led to the emergence of the notion of 'interest' or 'common concern of humanity' in the MEAs celebrated on the occasion of UNCED in 1992 are studied. It is based on the premise that the qualification of the global climate and the conservation of biodiversity as 'interest' or 'common concern of humanity' implies its formal recognition as global public goods. Thus conceived, the common concern of humanity would be equivalent in the international order to the internal notion of general interest, offering a legal basis for the joint action of the international community. Thus, although the principle of the sovereignty of States over natural resources remains the cornerstone of international environmental law, it is argued that their legal virtuality would be conditioned by that common interest. This would have potential limiting effects on the sovereign rights of States that would surpass those of the principle sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas. The 'common concern of humanity' is also projected on the legal nature of the conventional obligations of States. It is argued that the duty of cooperation in the spirit of global solidarity that emanates from that common interest erodes the reciprocity of conventional obligations, through the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Thus, the notion of 'common concern of humanity' could contribute to considerably broadening the scope of international obligations due erga omnes (parties). It is concluded, in short, that the protection of global (environmental) public interests may require launching a new look on international public law in the key of international public law.
Translated title of the contributionSustainable development, common concern of humankind and global public goods. Reflections on their impact on international environmental law
Original languageSpanish
Title of host publicationLa gobernanza del interés público global. XXV Jornadas de la Asociación Española de Profesores de Derecho internacional y relaciones internacionales
EditorsNuria Bouza i Vidal, Caterina Garcia i Segura, Angel Jose Rodrigo Hernandez, Pablo Pareja Alcaraz
Place of PublicationMadrid
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • global environment
  • global environmental governance
  • environmental law

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