“Codification” and the Environment
This article examines the problem of “codifying” the environment in the context of the Italian system, where a specific source (Legislative Decree no. 152/2006) has recently been approved. Given that codes do not enjoy a specific “régime” as such, the paper suggests that it is not worth answering the question as to whether the decree is truly a code, since it is more important to assess whether the final product of the codification (i.e. the said Legislative Decree) is a “good” one. This article lists the Italian “code’s” shortcomings but also emphasizes the fact that it has introduced the principle of sustainable development as “hard” law, rendering it applicable to all administrative activities, not just those in the environmental sector. As a consequence, the “code” has become the instrument through which the main principle it established (sustainable development) has emerged and been promoted to the status of “general principle”. Being the expression of a responsibility towards future generations, this principle is closely related to the notion that the environment must be considered the object of a duty rather than a right.