UNEP Hosts Global Environmental Law and Policy Training
Nairobi, 10 November 2009 - The planet is facing growing environmental problems, from climate change to deforestation and biodiversity loss - and the environmental laws and policies to combat these challenges are transforming fast.
To help Governments come to terms with these developments, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) invited 70 government officials from the Ministries of Environment from over 60 countries to its headquarters in Nairobi for the International Training Programme in Environmental Law and Policy from 2 to 13 November.
Noting that there are over 500 articles of environmental legislation, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said environmental laws are formulated to inform natural resource management for sustainable development and to avert the greater risk of undermining the assets that people, economies and development paths depend on.
He also emphasized the need for a shift in the paradigm of environmental law from that of policing and restrictive agenda to one enabling a transition to a green economy.
The ninth edition of the biennial training programme, started in 1993, will give the Government officers a broader understanding of the application of environmental law in combating environmental challenges - from desertification in Niger to rising sea levels in the Maldives, and from deforestation in Nepal to fragile ecosystems encroachment in Uganda.
Mr. Steiner urged participants to become UNEP's radar and help the organization liaise with governments, judiciaries and legislatures for a better management of the environment for development
The training complements a UNEP report on laws protecting the environment during wars, which was launched last week. The report calls for the strengthening, enforcement and clarification of environmental laws in order to protect the environment in times of conflict and thus protect a country's natural assets.
It also follows on the heels of the 21st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer and comes less than a month before the climate meeting in Copenhagen in December. These significant events all underscore the need to constantly review existing environmental laws worldwide.