There is an international movement today, cutting across the north-south divide, to protect and preserve the environment.International law forms a major part of this development.
Where environmental degradation is absolutely necessary in order to satisfy other human rights such as a right to livelihood, then the right to environment should not be cited to block such degradation.
Under such an approach, the human right to environment could be grouped under all three categories of human rights: civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; and third generation rights.
This is because a clean and healthy environment is necessary to enjoy human rights in their entirety.
Here the interests of the environment would have to be balanced keeping in mind the other human rights.
The case arose from a 1977 treaty between Hungary and Czechoslovakia whereby the two countries decided to construct hydroelectric facilities on the river Danube and also to improve navigation and flood control on the same river.
During the year 1989, Hungary suspended and later abandoned work on the said project because of environmental concerns raised regarding the Project.
The protection and preservation of the environment is one of the most important issues facing humankind today.
The centrality of this issue was demonstrated when the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 was awarded to AL Gore and the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change.
In 1991 Slovakia, as that part of the erstwhile Czechoslovakia where the Dam was supposed to be built, unilaterally implemented a variant of the Project thereby dramatically decreasing the amount of water flowing into Hungary.
In 1993, the countries decided to refer the matter to the International Court.