Specialist Group on Compliance and Enforcement
Chair: Kenneth Markowitz
Year in Review
In 2014, the Specialist Group (SG) advanced its goal of collaborating with China on air pollution compliance and enforcement. Air pollution is a severe environmental challenge in China, shortening the life expectancy of millions of residents. As China introduces rules to control air pollution, it is important to have effective tools for ensuring high levels of compliance with these rules to achieve intended environmental protection benefits. In working with colleagues in China to develop strategies around compliance issues, the SG advocated for building capacity of the lawyers, public prosecutors, and judges at the front line of responding to these challenges, noting a 2014 Opinion of the Supreme People's Court of the People’s Republic of China on comprehensively strengthening the judicial work concerning environmental resources, including clean air.
SG Chair Ken Markowitz delivered remarks on the importance of assuring compliance with laws to control emissions of air pollutants at two key workshops in China. The first of these, Restoring Blue Skies: Accelerating Air Pollution Control, concluded that “[f]or better enforcement of environmental regulations, China must establish a clear, fair and credible enforcement mechanism.” The second workshop, an annual meeting of China’s Subcommittee on Environmental Enforcement, provided an additional opportunity to stress the importance of effective enforcement mechanisms to environmental protection.
An additional focus in 2014 for the SG was encouraging lawyers and other legal practitioners to submit case examples of new legal approaches. The best of these examples were included in a Special Report on Next Generation Compliance issued by the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE). The Report explores the technological innovations, new approaches to regulatory design and implementation, and social innovations comprising the leading edge of NextGen Compliance activities. The Report is online here.
The SG also participated in conferences at George Washington University Law School (GW Law) and at Erasmus University in March and April 2015. The GW Symposium addressed the role and legal implications of advanced monitoring, remote sensing and new forms of information management in environmental compliance and enforcement. SG Chair Ken Markowitz spoke on a panel on information gathering, analysis, and disclosure. The Erasmus University conference explored the use of management systems and the role of behavioral motivations in environmental compliance and enforcement.
Specialist Group Priorities
Priorities for the C &E Specialist Group in the coming years include continued development and implementation of work in China on air pollution controls, focusing on the role of lawyers, prosecutors, and judges in environmental compliance and enforcement.
Additionally, the Specialist Group will collaborate with partners including the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law to advance ongoing work on Next Generation Compliance from a legal perspective through publications, conferences, events and other capacity-building opportunities.