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II. Legal regime

The ecological security conception has been gradually moving from a political debate into juridical thinking. The first step is the recognition of the link between the environment and security and of the necessity to make relevant improvements in the legal and institutional order. Lloyd Timberlake, from the International Institute of Environment and Development, claimed that environmental disasters are the real security threats of the next century. He also said that national governments and electorates should change their security priorities and that a series of treaties should be negotiated to protect the world from the new dangers.33

A number of known legal scholars and politicians associate the new notion of "security" primarily with an ecological threat.34 Others use the very notion of "ecological (environmental) security" widely.35 The president of the World Resources Institute, James Speth, emphasizes that "a new kind of international security is advancing on us. The world's geopolitical systems may be faring better, but its ecological systems are in trouble," and he proposes a programme of poli cy and institutional transitions to cope with these new threats.36 Professor Juraj Cuth from Czechoslovakia analyses the history of the formation of the ecological security system starting from loosening bloc confrontation to recent political and legal factors in international ecological security.37 Oscar Hugler and Reinhard Müller from the former East Germany, in their article "International Legal Aspects of Ecological Security Conception," reveal correlations between ecological security, common security, and fundamental principles of general international law.38

Arthur Westing, from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), not only identifies a variety of environmental impacts resulting from military activities,39 but elaborates on them with four policy directions of "an attack on the problem of safeguarding our civilization from environmental collapse" (population control, pollution abatement, habitat protection, and conflict resolution).40 Norman Myers suggests that a sizeable national security return can be generated by protecting the global environmental.41

Robert Boardman of Dalhousie University, retracing the development of ecological security within the context of common security and the law of the sea, came to the conclusion that environmental components formed an essential ingredient of the definitions of security in the late-twentieth-century world society and that in common security, assumptions of the common interests of states in ecological stability are combined with those of security interdependence in more traditional areas.42 Professor Richard Gardner of Columbia University, analysing qualitative changes in the vulnerability of superpowers in modern times, points out that "the main threat to the future security of the superpowers may be not from each other but from ominous developments in the Third World... a multiplication of conflicts fueled by underdevelopment, overpopulation and ecological catastrophe." He continues that "... in a time of military, economic and environmental challenges, multilateralism has become realpolitik."43

The analysts predict future growing numbers of environmental disputes, some of them potentially leading to military conflicts. The examples of such disputes could be conflicts on distribution of rights over shared natural resources of vital importance to national economies (water, energy resources), or disputes arising from massive or noxious transboundary pollution. The 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was partially motivated by disputes over distribution of rights over the world's richest oil resources. Thus, it can be considered as an environmental dispute, seriously endangering international security. On the other side, it has been argued that a regional water crisis may trigger the next Middle Eastern war.44

Many authors, when writing on issues regarding the global environment, refer implicitly or explicitly to environmental threats and relevant security implications. Maurice Strong, for many years a key figure in international environmental cooperation, discusses a World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) initiative to establish an international commission on global risk and security, which stressed the interdependence between the world economy, the global environment, and human security. He also indicated the universal significance of this phenomenon: "Our planet and the whole of human society are at risk. The challenge is to all nations, collectively.... It is clear that conventional notions of security, perceived in a narrow, nationalistic sense, are becoming outmoded by new global scale threats, for example climate change, nuclear accidents, international terrorism, transboundary pollution, and ozone depletion."45 Frederick Bernthal, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, addressing the National Press Club's Conference on Earth Observations and Global Change, stated: "What defense has been to the world's leaders for the past 40 years, the environment will be for the next 40"46 Some writers go further and emphasize that today's environmental challenges demand from politicians strategic thinking, and that a new era of strategic thinking about the environment is a pillar of national security.47

Even usually more abstract philosophical thinking pays great attention to global environmental challenges and possible reflections in a new ideology of different modus vivendi. Professor A.R. Drengson from Victoria University in Canada insists that to resolve the crisis of our degrading environment, human society needs a radical ecological transformation toward this way of thinking and acting.48 This thesis is easily applicable to the shift from the classical security approach to the ecological security approach. American philosopher Jeremy Rifkin also calls for a radical change in existing life-styles. New societal organizations based on the principles of low-entropy paradigms were proposed to save the world from ecological suicide.49 Thus, it is not peculiar that in 1989 Pope John Paul II devoted his annual message entirely to the environment. Using unusually strong language, John Paul emphasized "the dramatic threat of ecological breakdown. "50

The evolution of the concept of ecological security, in spite of its controversial character, finds reflection in various international fore, beginning with the UN system down to non-governmental organizations. Back in 1972, the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment proclaimed what might be seen as prerequisites for ecological security: "... Man has acquired the power to transform his environment in countless ways and on an unprecedented scale.... Wrongly or heedlessly applied, the same power can do incalculable harm to human beings and to the human environment.... We can do massive and irreversible harm to the earthly environment on which our life and well-being depend."51

The Nairobi Declaration, though adopted in 1982, "ten years after Stockholm," did not add much to new environmental conceptualism.52 The statement that "the human environment would greatly benefit from an international atmosphere of peace and security"53 is hardly arguable but has at the same time an overly vague and broad meaning.

The All-European process that began in 1975 at the Helsinki Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe included the environment as a key element in the security agenda. The Final Act of the Conference contained a special part (part 5) dedicated to environmental protection.54 Special "ecological" chapters were also included in conclusive documents of follow-up meetings. Some analysts consider these documents as being of special significance to international ecological security.55

Several UN General Assembly resolutions are worth mentioning in connection with the evolution of views on ecological security. One resolution is 35/8 (1980), which proclaimed that "the historic responsibility of the States is for the protection of the nature of the Earth for the benefit of present and future generations."56 The other resolution is 42/93 (1987), by which the United Nations agreed that cooperation in the environmental field was an inalienable element of an all-embracing international security.57

Of no less importance are some other documents, recently approved within the United Nations, specifically "Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond," "Disarmament, Environment, and Sustainable Development," "Global Resources and International Conflict: Environmental Factors in Strategic Policy and Action." These documents refer, in a greater or lesser measure, to the concept of international ecological security.58

"The U.N. System-wide, Medium-term Environment Programme for the Period 1990-1995," approved at a special session of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), says that one of the primary objectives is to build up the conceptual basis for a coordinated solution of the task of preserving the environment by all the relevant components of the United Nations system with a view to promoting ecological security.59 In February 1988, an ad hoc ex pert group meeting on the expanded concept of international security took place within UNEP. The conclusions drawn by the participants included recognition of the need to embody ideas of the concept of ecological security in all UNEP programmes.60 In line with the above is the research project "Studies in Environmental Security" initiated jointly by UNEP and the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO).

The Brundtland Commission report, Our Common Future, contains a special chapter, number 11, on "Peace, Security, Development, and the Environment" dedicated primarily to the matter of ecological security.61 The following citation may serve to summarize the report's approach to the problem: "The whole notion of security as traditionally understood - in terms of political and military threats to national sovereignty- must be expanded to include the growing impacts of environmental stress- locally, nationally, regionally, and globally."62 This is one more argument that such a, or a similar, formula is becoming a universally accepted truism of our time.

The interpretation of ecological security by the Brundtland Commission seems fairly narrow. It concentrates mainly on the interplay between the environment and military activities (environment as a potential source of military conflict, military activity as a source of environmental harm). Nevertheless, the Commission elaborated on several important basic points regarding the development of ecological security.

The first point claims that "threats to environmental security can only be dealt with by joint management and multilateral procedures and mechanisms.... Some of the most challenging problems require co-operation among nations enjoying different systems of government, or even subject to antagonistic relations." This is very much in line with the basics of the so-called "new international law," such as principles of "collective responsibility" and "transnational humanitarian solidarity."63

The second point states that action to reduce environmental threats to security requires a redefinition of priorities, nationally and globally. This could mean a considerable but still not a dramatic redistribution of material and financial resources. The report illustrates that four of the most urgent environmental requirements - relating to tropical forests, water desertification, and population - could be funded with the equivalent of less than one month's global military spending.

The whole spectrum of problems connected with the formation of a system of international environmental security have been discussed in the 1988 international conference co-sponsored by the former USSR Academy of Sciences, United Nations Environment Programme, International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, and the Ecoforum for Peace (Sofia).64 Looking at environmental security as a component of comprehensive international security, the conference discussed regional and global dimensions of environmental security and the strategies for achieving this new level of security. Among the important conclusions of the conference are the following:

1. The present practice of "react-and-correct" is not adequate when applied to such serious problems as burgeoning environmental pollution, losses in biological species diversity, global warming, soil erosion and desertification, stratospheric ozone depletion, and tropical deforestation and must be replaced by a policy of "foresee-and-prevent. "

2. Upholding a new kind of security is a shared responsibility of the entire international community (this again is very much in line with the recent ideas of "collective responsibility" and "transnational solidarity").

3. Environmental security requires a strengthening of international environmental law that should crystallize in a universal declaration of principles on environmental security and by developing an international legal action plan.65

An example of collective international conceptual thinking was the Twenty-fourth UN Conference on "Environmental Problems: A Global Security Threat," the Next Decade Conference of 1989, sponsored by the Stanley Foundation.66 The Conference convened to discuss the degree of political acceptance to such recently popular concepts as environmental security and sustainable development. The Conference stated that in spite of the general agreement that environmental problems currently pose, or have the potential to pose, severe threats to the general well-being and long-term survival of human life on the planet, characterizing environmental threats as security issues was more controversial. Since security has been, and remains, a national rather than a global concept, implementing a comprehensive security concept will be difficult while nationalism is still very much alive and the global system is not integrated. Thus, what is really needed is for national leaders to see the environmental threat for what it is, a clear and present danger for the continuation of human civilization - a danger that demands action and mobilization of national will and resources.67

Another international gathering took place in April 1990 in Siena, Italy, where the Forum on International Law of the Environment was convened by the Italian Government as a follow-up of the Summit of the Seven Most Industrialized Nations, held in Paris on 16 July 1989.68 The major scope of the Forum was to consider the need for a digest of existing rules and to give in-depth consideration to the legal aspects of the environment at the international level. Though ecological security was neither on the agenda nor in the background document prepared for the Forum,69 the "Conclusions of the Siena Forum on international Law of the Environment" contains an important statement:

"The sector by sector" approach, adopted in concluding conventions, often dictated by the need to respond to specific incidents, involves the risk of losing sight of the need for an integrated approach to the prevention of pollution and the continued deterioration of the environment. The "react and correct" model should be complemented by a "forecast and prevent" approach: this would enhance security in global environmental matters.70

The analysis of doctrinal thinking, discussions in the UN bodies and other international fore show that the ecological security conception, while getting more profound, goes beyond the limits of political aspirations, involves both national and international dimensions, and acquires universal significance. Initially formulated as one of the elements of an all-embracing (comprehensive) system of international security, ecological security has been getting a multi-aspectal character, acquiring certain autonomy, and turning into the key component of comprehensive security.

The ecological security concept began forming fairly recently. It needs more profound theoretical and practical elaboration. But it is possible already to describe some of its qualitative indications: ecological security is universal, fair and equal; it covers the natural environment, both within and outside national boundaries; ecological security interacts with the other components of the comprehensive system of security; ecological security takes into account the sovereign right of states to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental policies (though it does not exclude mutual and voluntary exceptions from this right or reducing it); international cooperation is an indispensable condition of ecological security implementation; ecological security presupposes the relevant national and international legal regulation with adequate participation of competent intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

The concept of ecological security offers the needed methodological breakthrough for environmental protection. Its fundamental conceptual novelty lies in converting an ecological problem into a security issue, which in turn helps to fulfil several important tasks.

Firstly, ecological security makes environmental protection a problem of human survival, reflecting the seriousness of existing and future ecological threats. It gives the problem the highest priority traditionally attributed to security matters. It introduces a new basis for resolving environmental problems- the "forecast-and-prevent" model - instead of the usual "react-and-correct" model. It creates an opportunity to redistribute resources allocated for security in favour of environmental tasks, thus it may help to solve the problem of reconverting the military sector of national economies.

Secondly, ecological security envisages that the obligation to create the relevant legal and managerial regime will be placed upon the international community as a whole, which coincides with such general trends in international law as collective responsibilities and obligations erga omnes.

Thirdly, being a component of the comprehensive security system, ecological security functions in conjunction with other elements (military, political, economic, and humanitarian). This not only creates a needed correlation between ecological security and other glob al problems, but also conditions the achievement of a synergistic effect.

And lastly, the security approach in the environmental field serves to integrate related concerns under a common rubric. Security has often served as a strong motivation for integration. The universal collective security system under the United Nations Charter and regional security systems like NATO or the Warsaw Treaty illustrate this. This integrative force greatly enhances the efficiency of environmental protection. This has been clearly demonstrated by the European Communities.

According to the accepted definition, regime means a totality of rules, measures, and norms aimed at achieving a certain goal. The ecological security regime, like security in general, presupposes a certain state of long-lasting stability with inter-state relations, and a continuing uniform behaviour by states in the environmental sphere. This in turn predetermines the specific role of international legal instruments consisting of juridical norms and principles.

Since the ecological security conception is offered as a new methodology in the environmental field, one may stress that methodology itself is understood to be a system of principles and ways of organizing and structuring theoretical and practical activities, as well as the doctrine concerning this system. This leads to the conclusion that to structure the ecological security regime, a system of relevant principles should be created. These principles should be primarily of an international legal character. The modern world has changed from the Hegelian philosophy of law based on a priority of municipal law in the direction of creating universal world order ensuring the primacy of international law.71 The indispensability of international legal principles for the ecological security regime was stressed by M. Strong and R. Boardman.72 It is also worthwhile mentioning the statement, "The Consequences of the Arms Race for the Environment and Other Aspects of Ecological Security," adopted by the member countries of the Warsaw Treaty on 16 July 1988, which pointed out that "the achievement of ecological security requires adoption of the binding norms and principles of State behavior."73

Thus, it seems necessary to elaborate on a system of fundamental principles containing basic obligations of states in the field of ecological security. The logic of the discussion leads us to assume that the structuring of the ecological security system should be based on that which has already been achieved by international environmental law, and at the same time demands a considerable acceleration of the lawmaking and codification processes in this field. On the other side, one must keep in mind that the sphere of ecological security is objectively narrower than the sphere regulated by international environmental law; the former does not cover a significant amount of relations regarding resource utilization. Ecological security is aimed at preventing negative anthropogenic impacts primarily of an extraordinary nature and scale.

Together with the basic principles of international environmental law the ecological security principles must reflect the general regularities common to any system of security. The most elaborate in this sense is the sphere of military security, where one may find a number of models and mechanisms that have already been reflected in adopted or negotiated arms limitation treaties.74

Hence, principles of ecological security should be constructed by synthesizing the most progressive fundamental provisions of both military security and international environmental law. A creative utilization of military security models seems expedient not only because this component of the comprehensive security system has been elaborated upon the most, but also because of the specific interrelatedness of military and ecological security. This interrelationship derives from the common character of their tasks: protection of human civilization against threats of destruction, thereby securing the conditions of human, survival.

As a result of the above deliberations, the following system of ecological security principles can be proposed.

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