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International Law in the Prevention and Mitigation of Disasters

  • By: Jeremy Paulus
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

International law in the prevention and mitigation of disasters has customary ties and practical challenges for implementation. The recognition of a nation's sovereignty over its own territory has historically included an obligation to prevent the negative impact to a neighboring state's environment. This is a precautionary obligation and has evolved to include the protection of human development and the common heritage of a human principle, which strives to protect global commons including space, international water bodies, and the shared atmosphere. Although enforcement and implementation of these principles can be a challenge, focusing on decision making in global governance can support successful results.

It was not until the late 19th or early 20th century that the international community recognized the importance of environmental threats crossing borders. ...

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