UNEP has published the first global report on “Environmental Rule of Law,” which finds that weak enforcement is a global trend that is exacerbating environmental threats, despite prolific growth in environmental laws and agencies worldwide over the last four decades.
A few highlights, from the press release:
Despite a 38-fold increase in environmental laws put in place since 1972, failure to fully implement and enforce these laws is one of the greatest challenges to mitigating climate change, reducing pollution and preventing widespread species and habitat loss.
While international aid did help scores of countries to enter into over 1,100 environmental agreements since 1972 and develop many environmental framework laws, neither aid, nor domestic budgeting, has led to the establishment of strong environmental agencies capable of effectively enforcing laws and regulations. The authors identify multiple factors contributing to poor enforcement of environmental rule of law, including poor coordination across government agencies, weak institutional capacity, lack of access to information, corruption and stifled civic engagement.
The report devotes significant attention to one particularly worrying trend: the growing resistance to environmental laws, which has been most evident in the harassment, arbitrary arrests threats, and killing of environmental defenders. Between 2002 and 2013, 908 people — including forest rangers, government inspectors, and local activists-were killed in 35 countries, and in 2017 alone, 197 environmental defenders were murdered.
The effective engagement of an informed civil society results in better decision making by government, more responsible environmental actions by companies, and more effective environmental law.
Looks like a very useful resource for legal empowerment efforts dedicated to land and natural resource rights.