Adoption of the Statute of the Global Judicial Institute on Environment
The last day of the 2nd International Meeting of the Global Judicial Institute on Environment opened with rays of morning sun dispersing the cooling rains. Final drafts of the Statute and “Call for Letters of Interest” were approved by the meeting, an Interim Governing Committee was appointed, and upcoming activities and potential partnerships discussed. In conclusion, the Statute of the Global Judicial Institute on Environment was signed.
With an eye to conformity across the GJIE Charter, Statute, and “Call for Letters of Interest”, participants undertook a final review of all outstanding points. A rich discussion focused on the language of the Statute, and necessary regional and gender balance across the membership and leadership of the Institute. In regards to identifying a host, it was decided that GJIE will first seek to identify a temporary Secretariat for a period of 3-5 years, after which time a permanent home can be selected. Criteria include provision of office space, a minimum of one full-time staff member, capacity to produce and contribute to judicial education materials and programs, the ability to develop and maintain media, communication, and organizational support, and financial and in-kind support.
Proceeding with governance arrangements, Antonio Benjamin (Brazil), Ragnhild Noer (Norway), and Michael Wilson (USA) were elected as the three initial members of the Interim Governing Committee. They were chosen according to their role as coordinators in planning and carrying out this meeting and their participation in the 1st World Environmental Law Congress in April 2016. This initial group will invite partner institutions and Founding Members (those present at the 1st meeting in 2016 and the 2nd meeting in 2017) to nominate candidates to fill the maximum 14 positions on the Interim Governing Committee. The interim arrangement will be in place for no longer than two years to plan and execute the election of the Governing Council as the supreme decision-making body of the Institute.
The GJIE is intended as a forum to unify the ongoing efforts of various national and international organizations already preparing, training, and enhancing the capacity of judges on environmental issues. Therefore, it is important to match the Institute’s activities with existing initiatives, as well as those of current and future partners. The following events and activities were identified as opportunities for enhanced coordination:
- July 3-4, 2017: International Colloquium "Perspectives on Environmental Law in the Democratic Republic of Congo" in Kinshasa (DRC);
- 20-21 September, 2017: EU Environmental Enforcement Networks Conference in Oxford (UK) at Magdalen College
- 22-23 September, 2017: EU Forum of Judges for the Environment “EUFJE” Annual Conference 2017 “Climate Change and the Judiciary” in Oxford (UK) at Merton College
- 24-28 September 2017: Commonwealth Magistrates' and Judges' Association – CMJA Conference 2017 “Building an Effective, Accountable and Inclusive Judiciary" in Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania)
- March 18-23, 2018: World Water Forum (political forum and 2-day side-event) in Brasilia (Brazil);
- 11-16 November, 2018: Global Meeting of the International Association of Judges in Santiago (Chile)
Having concluded all agenda points, the 2nd International Meeting was closed and the signing ceremony of the GJIE Statute proceeded. The GJIE Statute now being adopted, the Institute will prepare necessary documentation for registration in Switzerland. Thereafter, GJIE will be incorporated as an international organization directed by judges and for judges to support the role of judges, courts, and tribunals in applying and enforcing environmental laws and in promoting the environmental rule of law.
Many thanks to all those who have provided critical support for the creation of the GJIE, including the International Association of Judges, the EU Forum of Judges for the Environment, UN Environment, Asian Development Bank, Organization of American States, Brazilian Association of Judges, Brazilian Association of Federal Judges, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, and many academic institutions.