UNEP Organizes High-level Meeting on Rule of Law and Environment

UNEP17 February 2013: A High-Level Meeting on the Rule of Law and the Environment took place on the eve of the 27th session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC27/GMEF) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Meeting, held on 17 February 2013, in Nairobi, Kenya, provided a platform for participants to discuss important recent developments and new opportunities regarding the rule of law in the field of the environment, and consider how the rule of law can be promoted for greater effect in the quest for environmental sustainability, sustainable development and social justice.

Participants highlighted that effective rule of law requires government accountability and the enforcement of deterrents to breaking environmental laws. On the linkages between the rule of law and sustainable development, some participants noted that: effective implementation of national laws and environmental regulations is needed to ensure controlled and healthy use of natural resources; and the rule of law provides a regime to address the socio-economic pillar of sustainable development. 

The meeting also discussed outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and of the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability held in Brazil, in June 2012. In addition, participants discussed the role of the International Advisory Council for the Advancement of Justice, Governance and Law for Enforcement Sustainability, which has now been renamed the UNEP Advisory Committee on Environmental Justice. Sheila Abed, Executive Director, International Dialogue for Environmental Action, was announced as the special envoy to the Advisory Committee.

In their closing remarks, Ricardo Lorenzetti, Chief Justice of Argentina, noted the need for a website for providing and sharing information on jurisprudence decisions. He remarked that a journal with specific focus on the rule of law and the environment would also allow publishing of opinions, and that capacity building to transform environmental justice was key to effecting change in the judiciary. Amina Mohamed, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, said UNEP would support the website and portal, capacity building initiatives, and journal on the rule of law and the environment. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage] [Meeting Concept Note and Programme]