As environmental challenges to the health of the planet and its people continue to grow, the world seeks to respond more effectively to this set of crucial challenges. What role does the rule of law play in ensuring effective responses to environmental problems?  At the UN Rio + 20 Conference on Sustainable Development last summer, there was considerable focus on the rule of law and its role in effective environmental governance.  The core elements of effective environmental governance were explicitly recognized and momentum mounted for concrete initiatives to strengthen environmental governance in countries around the world.  Addressing the “implementation gap” in national and local environmental law is crucial for achievement of environmental goals and treaty obligations.

This panel will consider how the different elements of effective governance come together to form an integrated and self-reinforcing system, with clear, implementable and enforceable laws, meaningful public engagement and access to environmental information, institutional mechanisms to ensure accountability and integrity, effective coordination mechanisms between governmental entities with shared responsibilities for environmental protection, and fair and responsive dispute resolution systems. The panel will also consider recent developing country innovations in strengthening environmental governance, how progress on governance in the environmental sector can be measured, and how efforts to strengthen environmental governance can become more strategic, coordinated, and effective by promoting information-sharing, strengthening links, and fostering collaboration.  


  • Hans Corell, Former United Nations Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs (Sweden)


  • Antonio Benjamin, Justice, National High Court of Brazil; Chair, World Commission on Environmental Law (Brazil)
  • Lord Carnwath, Justice, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (United Kingdom)
  • Scott Fulton, Former General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USA) 
  • Donald Kaniaru, Chair, National Environmental Tribunal of Kenya (Kenya)

Back to the World Justice Forum IV (July 8-11, 2013)