International Law and Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution on the Right to Environment
The Workshop with roundtable discussion between academics, practitioners and non-governmental organisations, seeks to explore the interplay between international law, climate change law and national law in the Norwegian context.
Within the global movement of climate litigation, the discussions will focus on the first Norwegian climate case in order to give substance to the rights and obligations under Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution on the right to a natural and healthy environment for current and future generations.
Two environmental NGOs, Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth, supported by Grandparents Climate Campaign, have taken the Norwegian government to court for its decision to grant oil exploration licenses in the Arctic. In its judgment of 4 January 2018, the Oslo District Court held that Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution grants a right to a healthy environment to individuals, which is enforceable in the courts and gives the State the obligation to protect it. While the Oslo District Court recognised the right to a healthy environment, it also found that the government had not breached its obligations under the Constitution.
While both sides are waiting to see whether the appeal will be heard directly at the Supreme Court level, the debate on the legal consequences of Article 112 for Norway’s oil policies must go on. This debate on the obligations of the State to uphold the right to a healthy environment in a climate change context is an important one for Norway and for the global climate movement. The Workshop will situate the rights and obligations in Article 112 in relation to Norway’s obligations under international law.
Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution
“Every person has the right to an environment that is conducive to health and to a natural environment whose productivity and diversity are maintained. Natural resources shall be managed on the basis of comprehensive long-term considerations which will safeguard this right for future generations as well.
In order to safeguard their right in accordance with the foregoing paragraph, citizens are entitled to information on the state of the natural environment and on the effects of any encroachment on nature that is planned or carried out.
The authorities of the state shall take measures for the implementation of these principles.”
The Norwegian constitution