If the Dominican Republic is really in our back patio, what role, if any, do we bear in keeping it - as part of a property over which we have some dominion - in order? This article seeks to answer that question and, in the process, to provide some answers. In Part II, it will briefly lay out the urgency of strengthening the Dominican system of environmental protection areas, both for that nation and for the region of which it is a part. Part II thus endeavors to outline the importance of protected areas as the fulcrum of a larger plan of environmental protection aimed at protection of everything from pristine environments to densely settled urban areas. It also will look in particular at the Dominican struggle to preserve biodiversity in the face of the promise of expanded tourist development. The tourism example is a significant one, not only as regards the Dominican Republic but throughout the world, since, for many poorer nations, tourism promises to bring much-needed economic development, which puts enormous strain on the environment and on natural resource use. Finally, Part II will undertake to locate the role of Dominican protected areas within a larger, regional context. Part III will detail the existing legal responses to such protection, looking at Dominican legal obligations. In doing so, Part III will elaborate on some of the competing tensions and obligations present in Dominican legislation affecting protected environmental areas, especially as they relate to the sometimes competing goals of environmental protection and rapid mass tourism development.
Part IV will explore the particular roles and responsibilities, if any, of the United States and other richer nations with respect to the protection of environmentally sensitive areas in the Dominican Republic. Part IV will do this by examining existing multilateral regional and international obligations that might serve to balance competing values of environmental protection, particularly with respect to preserving biodiversity, on the one hand, and economic development on the other hand. In this, Part IV particularly notes the underlying tension in any such action by the U.S., in light of the historical, political and economic implications of any such activities. Once again, the question of tourism - and how it should be managed - looms large over this discussion. Part V will then identify a solution that asserts responsibility for enforcing the impact of economic development on biodiversity with entities located outside the Dominican Republic in nations whose economic power is putting that biodiversity at risk.
25 UCLA J. Envtl. L. & Pol'y 41 (2006).