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2019 Judicial Colloquium

27 - 28 February 2019
Salle VII, Palais des Nations Geneva Switzerland

The Judicial Colloquium “SDG16: Role of Judiciary in Promoting the Rule of Law in Environmental Matters” took place in Geneva, Palais des Nations (Salle VII) from 27 February 2019 to 28 February 2019 back-to-back with the meeting of the Convention's Task Force on Access to Justice.

The event was convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Special Procedures, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, Global Judicial Institute on the Environment, European Union Forum of Judges for the Environment and Association of European Administrative Judges. The event gathered representatives of judiciary, judicial training institutions, other review bodies and experts from 30 countries of the pan-European region and beyond.

The objective of the Colloquium was to strengthen capacity of judiciary to effectively handle cases related to environmental matters and to apply constitutionally-entrenched environmental rights thereby supporting attainment of target 16.3 of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensuring equal access to justice for all that will undergo in-depth review in 2019. The meeting also addressed the role of the Aarhus Convention in this context, the linkages between the Aarhus Convention and other UNECE Multilateral Environmental Agreements (Espoo Convention and the SEA Protocol, Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health, Air Convention and Industrial Accidents Convention) in enforcing environmental law in the context of environmental constitutionalism and sustainable development.

The Colloquium was organized pursuant to decision VI/3  (ENG, FRE, RUS) adopted by the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention. The decision welcomed the establishment of a network of the judiciary, judicial training institutions and other review bodies in the pan-European region under the auspices of the Convention’s  Task Force on Access to Justice to promote the exchange of experiences in access to justice and the enforcement of the rule of law in environmental matters and invited other such networks to participate in this initiative. The event also contributed to a global programme, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, aimed at enhancing judicial capacity in environmental constitutionalism.

The preliminary programme and background documents are provided below.

The outcomes of the Judicial Colloquium informed the 2019 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region and its round table "Empowering People to Protect the Planet - the Environmental Dimension of SDG 16" (Geneva, 21 and 22 March 2019).

For more information about the event, please contact the secretariat [email protected]


Documents ENG FRE RUS
Preliminary Programme                 PDF   PDF
Chair's summary (ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2019/8) PDF PDF PDF
Background material
Access to Justice in Environmental Matters
Decision VI/3 of the Meeting of the Parties PDF PDF PDF
Aarhus Convention Implementation Guide
Analytical studies on access to justice in environmental matters
European Commission (EU) Notice on access to justice in environmental matters (C/2017/2616)
Jurisprudence Database
UNECE Multilateral Environmental Agreements
Environmental Constitutionalism
Global Judicial Handbook on Environmental Constitutionalism (3rd Edition, 2019) PDF    
Compendium of Global Environmental Constitutionalism (2019) PDF    
New Frontiers in Environmental Constitutionalism      
Human Rights, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Report on the Global recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (A/73/188)
Framework Principles on human rights and the environment (A/HRC/37/59) 
Human Rights Council resolution 37/24: "Promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development"


Statements and Presentations

Welcoming remarks. Global Judicial Institute on the Environment
Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, Judge, National High Court of Brazil and Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law
II. Promoting effective Access to Justice and the rule of law for the Environment and for Sustainable Development      
(A) Justice in Environmental matters and Sustainable Development Goals      
(i) Toward the Global Recognition of the Right to a Healthy and Sustainable Environment
Mr. David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment (video-message)
(ii) Environmental Constitutionalism: linking Sustainable Development, Environment and Human Rights
Mr. James May, Professor of Law, Widener University – Delaware Law School, USA
(iii) The Aarhus Convention and the role of courts in interpreting and applying environmental constitutional provisions
Justice Miroslav Gavalec, Judge, Supreme Court, Slovakia
(B) Delivering effective access to justice to all: the Aarhus Convention      
(i) Enabling the public to effectively challenge administrative decision-making in environmental matters in court
Mr. Jan Darpo, Chair of the Aarhus Convention Task Force on Access to Justice
(ii) Effective judicial review (scope of review, timeliness, injunctive relief, remedies, costs)
Justice Marc Clement, Judge, Administrative Court of Lyon, France
(iii) Prevention of persecution and harassment (e.g. strategic lawsuits against public participation, awarding unreasonable costs)
Justice Ksenija Dimec, Judge, County Court of Rijeka, Croatia
(C) Use of international law in environmental adjudication: linkages between the Aarhus Convention and other UNECE multilateral environmental agreements      
(i) Espoo Convention and SEA ProtocolMs. Elena Santer, Secretary to the Implementation Committee under the Convention and the Protocol, UNECE PDF    
(ii) Air Convention  –  Ms. Albena Karadjova, Secretary to the Convention, UNECE PDF    
(iii) Water ConventionMr. Martins Paparinskis, Member of the Convention’s Implementation Committee PDF    
(iv) Protocol on Water and Health - Ms. Zsuzsanna Kocsis-Kupper, Member of the Protocol’s Compliance Committee PDF    
(v) Industrial Accidents ConventionMs. Claudia Kamke, Environmental Affairs Officer, Convention’s Secretariat, UNECE PDF    
(D) Tools to support effective judicial review      
(i) Specialized tribunals and specialization of judges in environmental law      
Justice Anders Bengtsson, Judge, Land and Environment Court Växjö, Sweden, and member of the Association of European Administrative Judges PDF    
Ms. Nanna Magnadóttir, Chair and Head of the Secretariat, Environmental and Natural Resource Board of Appeal, Iceland PDF    
Justice Fatima Mrdovic, Judge, Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina PDF    
(ii) Use of independent expertise in environmental matters by courts and other independent review bodies
Mr. Gijs Hoevenaars, Lawyer and Technical Secretary, Commission for Environmental Assessment, the Netherlands
III. Promoting judicial cooperation      
Justice Beibut Shermukhametov, Judge, Supreme Court, Kazakhstan PDF   PDF