International Dimensions of Environmental Protection

Under international law, states have the sovereign right to exploit, manage, and conserve the natural resources and natural systems within their jurisdiction, including resources located in their territorial sea and exclusive economic zone, and sinks such as the atmosphere. States also have a broad right to engage in fishing on the high seas. However, the expansion of the world economy has placed increasing pressure on natural systems that overlap or transcend political boundaries. This has gradually led to the development of a large number of international agreements, systems, and processes to address transnational environmental issues.

The international governance system that has emerged over the past 60 years to facilitate environmental protection can be divided into three main parts: international environmental law, international environmental bureaucracy, and international environmental financial mechanisms.

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