n African Human Rights Law Journal - The utility of environmental rights to sustainable development in Zimbabwe : a contribution to the constitutional reform debate

Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



The current economic situation in Zimbabwe was caused by a number of factors, including legitimate attempts to redress historical imbalances in the ownership of land. Land is part of the natural resources of a country and without sustainable management and use of natural resources, a country may not be able to promote and fulfil other human rights. By now, Zimbabwe could have been almost out of its economic whirlpool if only it was able to sustainably manage its natural resources, in spirit of the state's trusteeship over natural resources. The constitutional reform process in Zimbabwe presents a timely opportunity to lobby for the inclusion of environmental rights in the new Constitution. It is crucial to understand why such rights should be included and what benefit they may bring to the people of Zimbabwe. Environmental rights are crucial to sustainable development and the fulfilment of other human rights, especially socioeconomic rights, that depend on the availability of resources. All human rights are therefore interdependent and complementary. Nevertheless, environmental rights will only thrive in an environment where the rule of law and good governance are respected. By incorporating environmental rights in the new Constitution, Zimbabwe will be following not only developments in South Africa, but also trends in international environmental law and the regional protection of human rights, especially in Africa.

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