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Socio-environmental Disputes within MERCOSUR: Lack of a More Meaningful Cooperation

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Global environmental degradation is but one aspect of a crisis in human rationality, resulting from anthropocentric and unsustainable paradigms. Increasing awareness towards the need for sustainability promotes rationality standards founded in holistic and interdisciplinary approaches that encourage participatory governance at various levels. Within this context, the peaceful settlement of cross-border, socio-environmental conflicts represents a challenge to the unilateral exercise of jurisdiction, owing to issues such as enforceability, effectiveness and the granting of provisional measures. Hence, international, regional and/or sub-regional entities must become meaningful vehicles for institutional environmental cooperation, in order to establish higher levels of participatory governance among relevant local, regional and global players. MERCOSUR’s Environmental Framework Agreement (Decision CMC nº 2 of June 22, 2001), its Additional Protocol on Cooperation on Environmental Emergencies (Decision CMC nº 4 of July 8, 2004) and the Summit of Environmental Ministers of MERCOSUR (Decision CMC nº 19 of December 15, 2003) represent important steps towards the promotion of socio-environmental, cultural, political, economic, ecological and geographical sustainability. However, its dispute settlement system is still lacking in additional institutional cooperation principles and rules to achieve these goals. It can be argued that Member States should engender the additional regulatory framework to reduce asymmetries between local socio-environmental public policies and, thus, inspire stronger confidence in the effectiveness of its dispute settlement system.

Affiliations: 1: Federal Rural University of Rio de; 2: Rio de Janeiro State UniversityFederal Rural University of Rio de


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