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Greening the Constitution. The principle of sustainable development anchored in the Belgian Constitution

Peter de Smedt, Hendrik Schoukens and Tania Van Laer

elni Review 2012, Issue 2,  pp. 74-82.

The concept of sustainable development is getting settled well within the framework of environmental law. The current meaning of this concept was defined by the report Our Common Future (1987) of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED): "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Since the publication of the Bundtlandreport in 1987, the concept of sustainable development can no longer be thought away from the political scene. Especially since the Conference of Rio in 1992 the concept has been used more often in juridical texts, at international as well as at European level. 
Also in the Belgian legal order, the concept of sustainable development has found its way into legislation at federal as well as at regional level step-by-step. As in international documents and treaties, the concept is mostly formulated as a policy goal.
After examining the anchoring of sustainable development in the Belgian Constitution the authors of this article discuss the concept's juridical enforceability and subsequently analyse the consequences of this qualification for the application in the jurisprudence. The article ends with some concluding remarks.

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