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The Relationship between Bhutan's GNH pillars and the Environmental Rule of Law

Turner, Stephen and Ahuja, Naysa (2021) 'The Relationship between Bhutan's GNH pillars and the Environmental Rule of Law.' Journal of Gross National Happiness and Law, 1 (1). pp. 179-208. ISSN 2710-3226

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Abstract

Bhutan’s national principle of Gross National Happiness (GNH) has led to a framework for assessing critical government decisions on policies, legislation and individual projects. Human well-being such as that envisaged through the pursuit of GNH can, in part at least, be achieved through the implementation of the rule of law relating to environmental protection. In recent years the concept of the ‘Environmental rule of law’ (ERoL) has evolved as a framework to consider the principle of the rule of law within the environmental context. It aims to link environmental governance and sustainability with fundamental rights and duties. It draws on a broad range of rights and duties relevant to the protection of the environment, and as such has relevance to the principle of GNH and its application. This article examines Bhutanese approaches to environmental governance inspired by GNH in order to better understand how they may coincide with those principles and concepts that are incorporated within the concept of ERoL. It draws upon the iteration of ERoL developed within UNEP’s ERoL Framework (2019) and considers the relationship that specific aspects of the Framework have with Bhutan’s approach. Three aspects of Bhutan’s laws and system of environmental governance are considered. Firstly, it considers the Constitution of Bhutan to evaluate the provisions that it contains relating to the rule of law and the protection of the environment. Second, it examines the institutional arrangements and practice for implementing and enforcing environmental protection. Finally, it considers access to justice and the role of the judiciary in achieving GNH within the environmental context. The article seeks to highlight the relationship that the good governance and environmental conservation pillars of GNH have with key components of the concept of ERoL. It does so to share insights that may be of use in furthering the implementation of environmental law in Bhutan and which may also demonstrate the benefits of adopting Bhutanese approaches to environmental protection more broadly.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gross National Happiness; Environmental Rule of Law; Good Governance; Human Well-Being; Environmental Rights; Environmental Institutions
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2021 12:34
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:24
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31538

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