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Closing Statement by Ms. Amina Mohamed at the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability

Closing Statement by Ms. Amina Mohamed, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, at the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability

Session: Ceremonial Closing and Adoption of Outcomes, 20 June 2012

Chief Justices,


Auditors General,



Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good morning. We have come to the end of the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability. It is a great honor for me to make thisstatement before this distinguished audience.

Please allow me on behalf of UNEP to extend my sincere appreciation to the Government of Brazil, and the Brazilian judiciary at all levels, for their vision, and for hosting us in thisamazingcountry and in the emblematic city of Rio de Janeiro. I would like to especially thankthe Judiciary of Brazilfor the leadership demonstrated, and HonourableChief Justice Rebęlo dos Santos, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rio de Janeiro, in whose premises we are gathered today. Thank you for making this possible and for helping us achieve this historic moment.

I am delighted that very fruitful discussions took place at the Congress. The enlightened suggestions made from this forum are reflected in yourdraft outcome, which I have had opportunity to review: I am gratified that it includes the following key points:

o Firstly, the full recognitionof the importance of rules-based societies, of adequate and effective governance frameworks, and of equity and justice, as inextricable aspects of environmental sustainability and sustainable development;

o Second, the full recognition of the need for solid legal foundations for transitioning towards greener economies and leading humanity towards a path of sustainability; and

o Third, the need for governance frameworks, at all levels, including at the international level, that are able to address the complexity of sustainable development.

The outcome from this Congressis an important instrument for all of us working in the field of environmental law: It will provide an authoritative reference of guiding "principles" to take into account, in our respective institutions.

I congratulate you for this outcome, which I expect to bea remarkable legacy.We are very privileged to have walked this journey together with you. We trust we can rely on your active support and engagement, as stakeholder and partner institutions. We have the roadmap, we have the knowledge, experience and expertise required to take the next step.

Coming to you directly from Rio Centro, I am now even more convinced than ever, of your special role – you, the Chief Justices, Attorneys General, Prosecutors General, Auditors-General and other eminent members of the law and enforcement community – to address environmental sustainability challenges.

Your role is essential because your day to day efforts, leadership, and dedication are the backbone for the attainment of environmental sustainability objectives. Furthermore, your authoritative voice can inspire the adoption of ambitious decisions, at many levels.

The environment is the foundation of our well-being and for the full realization of humanity's potential.

To address the complex challenges that the world is facing today, as eloquently pointed out during our opening session by the Brazilian Minister of Environment, Ms. Isabella Texeira, our Executive Director, Mr. Achim Steiner, and Hon. Mr. Antonio Herman Benjamin of the Brazilian High Court, there is an urgent need for concerted and effective action.

This requires renewed political commitment by governments to make the right decisions, and the support of a web of actors, including the private sector. We need enabling conditions and institutional arrangements totranslate commitments into meaningful action.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Right policy choices need to be followed by the enactment of good legislation and its implementation, supported by a well-informed, strong and independent judiciary, by adequate enforcement, integrity and accountability of institutions.

You, the representatives of the legal and auditing communities have a crucial role to play in this continuum: only with your full engagement can one dream of achieving a new form of progress that equally delivers on economic, environmental and social objectives.

It is my understanding that your debates have delivered on this promise and will show us a stronger way forward towards improved justice, governance and law for environmental sustainability.

Before I close, I would like to pay special tribute to the co-hosts of this Congress, the Partner organizations and last but not least the Co-Presidents of the World Congress:

o Hon. TunArifin Bin Zakaria, the Chief Justice of Malaysia

o Hon. Mr. Luis Ricardo Lorenzetti, the Chief Justice of Argentina

I also would like to thank the Secretary General of the World Congress, Hon. Mr. Antonio Herman Benjamin, whose tireless efforts, and vision, have enabled us to undertake this initiative and carry it forward.