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World Court Digest

II. Substantive International Law - Second Part

¤ Gabcíkovo-Nagymaros Project
(Hungary / Slovakia)
Judgment of 25 September 1997
I.C.J. Reports 1997, p. 7

[p. 92 S.O. Weeramantry] After the early formulations of the concept of development, it has been recognized that development cannot be pursued to such a point as to result in substantial damage to the environment within which it is to occur. Therefore development can only be prosecuted in harmony with the reasonable demands of environmental protection. Whether development is sustainable by reason of its impact on the environment will, of course, be a question to be answered in the context of the particular situation involved.

It is thus the correct formulation of the right to development that that right does not exist in the absolute sense, but is relative always to its tolerance by the environment. The right to development as thus refined is clearly part of the modern international law. It is compendiously referred to as sustainable development.