top of page

International Parameters of Environment

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

International Parameters of Environment

The term "Multinationals" is defined as large business Corporations controlled primarily by nationals of the country where their headquarters are situated and their operating activities are spread across many different countries employing tens of thousands of people.

According to Economic Cooperation and Development Organisation(OECD), multinational enterprises are usually companies or other entities whose ownership is private, State or mixed establishment in different countries and linked in such a way one or more of them may be able to exercise a significant influence over, the activities of others with a view to share knowledge and resources inter se.

The giant multinational Corporations mostly emanated from countries like the USA, UK, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Canada. These Transnational Corporations. The Bhopal Gas tragedy that occurred in India due to leakage of MIC gas by the Union Carbide Corporation Unit has opened the need for screening the activities of multinational corporations in the matters of the environment in and out of India. As held by the Supreme Court in Charan Lal Sahu v. Union of India, a transnational corporation should be made liable and subservient to the loss of our country, and the liability should not be restricted to affiliate company only but the parent corporation should also be made liable for any damage caused to the human beings or ecology. The law must require the transnational corporations agree to pay such damages as may be determined by the statutory agencies and forums constituted under it 'without exposing the victims to long-drawn litigations. are also known as

Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster certain guidelines

In Charan Lal Sahu v. Union of India, etc. etc., the Apex Court held, inter alia, as follows:-

1. "In the context of our national dimensions of human rights, right to life, liberty, pollution-free air, and water is guaranteed by the Constitution under Articles 21, 48A and 51(g), it is the duty of the State to take effective steps to protect the guaranteed constitutional rights. These rights must be integrated and illumined by the evolving international dimensions and standards, having regard to our sovereignty, as highlighted by Cls. 9 and 13 of U.N. Code of Conduct of translation Corporations. The evolving standards of international obligations need to be respected, maintaining dignity and sovereignty of our people, the State must take effective steps to safeguard the constitutional rights of citizens by enacting laws. The law so made may provide for conditions for granting license transnational Corporations, prescribing norms and standards for running industries on Indian soil ensuring the constitutional rights of our people relating to life, liberty, as well as safety to environment and ecology to enable the people to lead a healthy and clean life. A Transnational Corporation should be made liable and subservient to laws of our country and the liability should not be restricted to affiliate company only but the parent Corporation should also be made liable for any damage caused to the human beings or ecology. The law must require transnational corporations to agree to pay such damages as may be determined by the statutory agencies and forums constituted under it without Jexposing the victims to long drawn litigation."

2."Under the existing civil law, damages are determined by the Civil Courts, after long drawn litigation, which destroys the very purpose of awarding damages. In order to meet the situation, to avoid delay, and to ensure immediate relief to the victims we would suggest that the law made by the Parliament should provide for the constitution of regulated by special procedure for determining tribunals compensation to victims of industrial disaster or accident, appeal against which may lie to this Court on the limited ground of questions of law only after depositing the amount determined by the Tribunal. The law should also provide interim relief to victims during the pendency of proceedings. These steps would minimize the misery and agony of victims of the hazardous enterprise."

3."There is yet another aspect which needs consideration by the Government and the Parliament. Industrial development in our country and the hazards involved therein, pose a mandatory need to constitute a statutory "Industrial Disaster Fund", contributions to which may be made by the Government, the industries whether they are transnational corporations or domestic undertakings, public or private. The extent of contribution may be worked out having regard to the extent of hazardous nature of the enterprise and other allied matters. The Fund should be permanent in nature, so that money is readily available for providing immediate effective relief to the victims. This may avoid delay, as has happened in the instant case in providing effective relief to the vicțims. The Government and the Parliament should therefore take immediate steps for enacting laws, having regard to these suggestions, consistent with the international norms and guidelines contained in the United Nations Code of Conduct on Transnational Corporations.'

Stockholm Declaration'the Human Environment

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment having met in Stockholm from 5th to 16th June 1972, and having considered the need for a common outlook and for common principles to inspire and guide the peoples of the world in the preservation and enhancement of the dying human environment, proclaims that:

1. Man is both creator and molder of his environment, which gives him physical sustenance and affords him the opportunity of intellectual, moral, social, and spiritual growth. The long and tortuous evolution of the human race on this planet stage has been reached when, through the rapid acceleration of science and technology, man has acquired the power to transform his environment in countless ways and on an unprecedented scale. Both aspects of man's environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights even the right to life itself.

2. The protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue that affects the well-being of people and economic development throughout the world; it is the urgent desire of the peoples of the whole world and the duty of all Governments.

3. Man has constantly to sum up experience and go on discovering, inventing, creating, and advancing. In our time, man's capability to transform his surroundings, if used wisely, can bring to all peoples the benefits of development and the opportunity to enhance the quality of life. Wrongly or heedlessly applied, the same power can do incalculable harm to human beings and the human environment. We see around us growing evidence of man-made harm in many regions of the earth: dangerous levels of pollution in water, air, earth, and living beings; major and undesirable disturbances to' the ecological balance of the biosphere; destruction and depletion of irreplaceable resources; and gross deficiencies harmful to the physical, mental and social health of man, in the man-made environment, particularly in the living and working environment.

4. In developing countries, most environmental problems are caused by under-development. Millions continue to live far below the minimum levels required for a decent human existence, deprived of adequate food and clothing, shelter and education, health, and sanitation. Therefore, the developing countries must direct their efforts to development, bearing in mind their priorities and the need to safeguard and improve the environment. For the same purpose, the industrialized countries should make efforts to reduce the gap 4. and the developing countries. In between industrialized countries, environmental problems are generally related to industrialized and technological development.

5. The natural growth of the population continuously presents problems for the preservation 1of the environment, and adequate policies and measures should be adopted, as appropriate, to face these problems. Of all things in the world, people are the most precious. It is the people that propel social progress, create social wealth, develop science and technology and, through their hard work, continuously transform the human environment, Along with social progress and With the advance of production, science, and technology, the capability of man to improve the environment increases with each passing day.

6. A point has been reached in history when we must shape our actions throughout the world with environmental consequences. Through ignorance or indifference, we can do massive and irrevdrşible harm to the earthly environment on which our life and well-being depend. Conversely, through fuller knowledge and wiser action, we can achieve for ourselves and our posterity a better life in an environment more in keeping with human needs and hopes. There are broad vistas for the enhancement of environmental quality and the creation of a good life. What is needed is an enthusiastic but calm state of mind and intense but orderly work. For the purpose of attaining freedom in the world 'of nature, man must use knowledge to build, in collaboration with nature, a better environment. To defend and improve the human environment for present and future gençrations has become an imperative goal for mankind a goal to be pursued together with and in harmony with, the established and fundamental goals of peace and of worldwide economic and social development.

7. To achieve this environmental goal with demand the acceptance or responsibility by citizens and communities and by enterprises and institutions at every level, all sharing equitably in common efforts. Individuals in all walks of life as well as organizations in many fields, by their values and some of their actions, will shape the world environment of the future. Local and national governments will bear the greatest burden for large-sdale environmental policy and action within their jurisdictions. International co-operation is also needed in order to raise resources to support the developing countries in carrying out their responsibilities in this field. A growing class of environmental problems, because they are regional or global in extent or because they affect the common international realm, will require extensive co-operation among nations and action by international organizations in the common interest. The Conference calls upon Governments and peoples to exert preservation and improvement of the human environment for the benefit of all the people and for their posterity.


The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment states the common conviction that:

Principle 1 Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality, and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. In this respect, policies promoting Or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression, and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated.

Principle 2 The natural resources of the earth, inclụding the water, ecosystems, must be safeguarded for the benefit of present and future generations through careful planning or management, do appropriate.

Principle 3 The capacity of the earth to produce vital renewable resources must be maintained and, wherever practicable, restored.

Principle 4 Man has a special responsibility to safeguard and wisely manage the heritage of wildlife and its habitat which are now gravely imperiled by a combination of adverse factors. Nature conservation, including wildlife, must therefore, receive importance in planning for economic development.

Principle 5 The non-renewable resources of the earth must be employed in such a way as to guard against the danger of their future exhaustion and to ensure that benefits from such employment are shared by all mankind. dischang substances

Principle 6 The discharge of toxic substances or of other substances and the release of heat, in such quantities or concentrations as to exceed the capacity of the environment to render them harmless, must be halted in order to ensure that serious or irreversible damage is not inflicted upon ecosystems. The just struggle of the peoples of all countries against pollution should be supported.

Principle 7 States shall take all possible steps to prevent pollution of the seas by substances that are liable to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and marine life; to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea.

Principle 8 Economic and social development is essential for ensuring a favourable living and working environment for man and for creating conditions on earth that are necessary for the improvement of the quality of life.

Principle 9 Environmental deficiencies generated by the conditions of under-development and natural disasters pose grave problems and can best be remedied by accelerated development through the transfer of substantial quantities of financial and technological assistance as a supplement to the domestic effort of the developing countries and such timely assistance as may be required.

Principle 10 For developing countries, stability of prices and adequate earnings for primary commodities and raw materials are essential to environmental management since economic factors, as well as écological prócesses, must be taken into account.

Principle 11 The environmental policies of all States should enhance and not adversely affect the present or future' devélopment potential of developing countries, nor should they hamper the attainment of better living conditions for all, and appropriate steps should be taken by States and international organizations with a view to reaching agreement on meeting the possible national and international economic consequences resulting from the application of environmental measures..

Principle 12 Resources should be made available to preserve and improve the environment, taking into particular requirements of developing countries and costs which may emanate from théir incorporating environmental safeguards into their development planning and the need for making available to them, upon their request, additionał -international technical and financial assistance for this purpose.

Principle 13 In order to achieve more rational management of resources and thus to improve the environment, States should adopt an integrated and coordinated approach to their development planning so as to ensure that development is compatible with the need to protect and improve the human environment for the benefit of their population.

Principle 14 Rational planning constitutes an essential tool for reconciling any conflict between the needs of development and the need to protect and improve the environment.

Principle 15 Planning must be applied to urbanization with a view to avoiding adverse effects on the human settlements and environment and obtaining maximum social, economic, and environmental benefits for all. In this respect, projects which are human rights and which are

Principle 16 Demographic policies which are without prejudice to basic concerned should be applied, in those regions where the rate of have adverse effects on the environment or development, or where low population density may prevent the improvement of the human-designed for colonialist and racist domination must be abandoned. population growth or excessive population concentrations are likely deemed appropriate by Governments Environmental environment impede development.

Principle 17 Appropriate national institutions must be entrusted with the task of planning, managing, or controlling the environmental resources of States with the view of enhancing environmental quality

Principle 18 Science and technology, as part of their contribution to economic identification, avoidance, and control of environmental risks and the solution of environmental problems and for the common good of mankind.

Principle 19 Education in environmental matters, for the younger generation as well as adults, giving due consideration to the underprivileged, is essential in order to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises, and communities in protecting and improving the environment in full human dimensions. It is also essential that mass mędia of communication avoid contributing to the deterioration of the environment, but, on the contrary, disseminate information of an educational nature, on the need to protect and improve the environment in order to enable man to develop in every respéct.

Principle 20 Scientific research and development in the environmental problems, both national and multinational, must be promoted in all countries, especially the developing countries. In this connection, the free flow of up-to-date scientific information and transfer of experience must be supported and assisted, to facilitate the solution of environmental problems; environmental technologies should be made available to developing countries on terms that would encourage their wide dissemination without constituting an economic burden on the developing countries.

Principle 21 Státes have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

Principle 22 States shall co-operate and develop further the international law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of pollution and other environmental damage caused by activities within the jurisdiction or control of such States to jurisdiction. areas beyond their

Principle 23 Without prejudice to such criteria as may be agreed upon by the international community, or to standards which will have to be determined nationally, it will be essential in all cases to consider the systems of values prevailing in each country, and the extent of the applicability of standards which are valid for the most advanced countries but which may be inappropriate and of unwarranted social cost for the developing countries.

Principle 24 International concerning the protection and matters improvement of the environment should be handled in a co-operative spirit by all countries, big, or small, on an equal footing, co-operation through multilateral or bilateral arrangements or other appropriate means is essential to effectively control, prevent, reduce and .-eliminate adverse environmental effects resulting from activities conducted in all spheres, in such a way that due account is taken of the sovereignty and interests of all States.

Principle 25 States shall ensure that international organizations play a co-ordinated, efficient and dynamic role for the protection and improvement of the environment.

Principle 26 Man and his environment must be spared the effects of nuclear weapons and all other means of mass destruction. States must strive to reach prompt agreement, in the relevant international organs, on the culmination and complete destruction of such weapons.

bottom of page