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From exacerbating the Anthropocene’s problems to intergenerational justice: an analysis of the communication procedure of the human rights treaty system


van Dijk, N, From exacerbating the Anthropocene's problems to intergenerational justice: an analysis of the communication procedure of the human rights treaty system, Earth System Governance, 10 Article 100123. ISSN 2589-8116 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© 2021 The Author. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.esg.2021.100123


As our existing legal system is not equipped to adequately respond to climate change, earth system law scholars call for repurposing or transforming it. This paper analyses one shortcoming of current law—its inability to protect a safe climate for young people and future generations—by focusing on improving one legal framework, the communication procedure of the international human rights treaty system. Using the 2019 communication of sixteen children to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child as a case study, it highlights the opportunities and shortcomings of the communication procedure in advancing intergenerational justice, specifically related to democratic legitimacy, recognition and representation, accessibility, and impact. The analysis shows hope: even within a system that is inherently anthropocentric and grants massive powers to States, there is a drive in recent years that acknowledges the inherent interconnectedness of human behaviour and Earth's systems; and the past, present and future.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:future generations, human rights, law reform, convention on the rights of the child, climate change
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Environmental and resources law
Research Field:Environmental law
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Mitigation of climate change
Objective Field:Climate change mitigation strategies
UTAS Author:van Dijk, N (Ms Nicky van Dijk)
ID Code:148475
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Office of the COO
Deposited On:2022-01-13
Last Modified:2022-03-10
Downloads:8 View Download Statistics

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