June 25, 2014
The Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations Environment Programme supported this week a Global Symposium on Environmental Rule of Law in the framework of the first United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenia.
The symposium featured the participation of several Judges from Supreme Courts, from specialized environmental tribunals, prosecutors, and other high ranking officials of UN and OAS member states.
During the event the Director of the Department of Sustainable Development of the OAS, Cletus Springer, said the discussion provided the opportunity to open a dialogue on democracy, human rights, security and integral development, the four pillars of the hemispheric Organization.
The Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, Achim Stainer, said the world is facing a critical moment for the future of sustainable development. Meanwhile, the Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice of Brazil, Minister Antonio Benjamin, said “we cannot have accountability without taking into consideration human rights; nor can we have human rights without accountability in relation to the environment for future generations”.
The Magistrate of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Winston Anderson, emphasized that “the judges of the Americas have determined on several occasions the fundamental character of environmental rights as human rights, giving them form and content. The decisions of the Inter-American Supreme Court of Human Rights have been essential.”
The Chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Commission of the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico, Lourdes López, said “during the last 30 years environmental challenges have gained fundamental importance and many commitments have been adopted, but there remains a gap between international rhetoric and parliamentary debate.”
During the symposium, participants called upon the global community to move forward on the rule of law in environmental matters given its intrinsic value for the environmental justice and sustainable development.
The symposium results will be delivered to the UNEA in order to inform and influence the debate on the goals of sustainable development and the agenda of development post-2015. In addition, they will serve as inputs in the review process of the Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development mandated by the General Assembly of the OAS.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.