Roda Mushkat’s International Environmental Law and Asian Values is a timely exploration of the interface between Asian cultural values and international environmental law. The importance of understanding influences on the adoption and implementation of international environmental agreements pertaining to the Asian continent cannot be gainsaid. The potential environmental consequences of Asia’s changing demography have been explored elsewhere, as have the international agreements adopted and proposed to mitigate these consequences. With respect to the development of international environmental law in Asia, there has been a particular need to address the intersection between legal standards and cultural values because, as Mushkat recognizes, the concept of Asian values has long been exploited and misused in attempts to conceal or justify human rights abuses motivated by political and economic interests.
Identifying a coherent international legal context in which cultural norms might plausibly operate is a daunting task in its own right because the principles of international environmental law are reflected in thousands of acts and agreements adopted at local, national, regional, and global scales. In tackling this challenge, Mushkat has provided key insights into the influence of cultural attitudes on the widespread recognition of international environmental rights in Asia, and some explanation of the inconsistent jurisprudential vindication of these rights throughout the region.