Document Type



Wisconsin International Law Journal




This article will first offer a functional synopsis relevant to its remit, of the concept of sustainable development (SD) embodied in international law and policy that reflects a tension between economic and social claims as contrasted with environmental protection. While the dominant place acquired by the economic and social dimensions of SD will be recognized, it will argue consistent with the predicate of justice discussed in the article, that the protection of the human environment encompasses the plight of the energy poor and their women and children. Second, the article will delineate the contours of one of the great developmental problems of our time: lack of access to energy. Lack of access to safe energy affects the poorest peoples of the world (the energy poor (EP)), located largely in sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of Asia. This part will demonstrate how the burdens caused by lack of access to energy inordinately and most painfully, impact women and children. Finally, the article will argue that the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of SD are all premised on a major unarticulated concept of justice, and that SD should be prioritized to redress the problems faced by women.