World Commission on Environmental Law

Regional Judicial Colloquium for Latin-America and the Caribbean - May 2017

22-23 May 2017: The Regional Judicial Colloquium focused on the topic of “Constitutions, Environment, and Human Rights: Practice and Implementation”.
LAC Regional Judicial Colloquium

This innovative Colloquium was initiated by the IUCN World Commision on Environmental Law and organized under the auspices of the Federal Senate of Brazil and the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment to enable the exchange of experience and advance understanding and application of environmental constitutionalism. With over 70 participants engaged in interactive sessions, the Colloquium was the second in a series of a larger Environmental Rights Initiative supported by UN Environment and under the leadership of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment to enhance judicial capacity in environmental constitutionalism, identify gaps and opportunities, and support judges worldwide. It also took place within the framework of the Inter-American Program on Sustainable Development’s priority action of building capacity of key stakeholders including public officials and governmental agents who participate in matters relating to the environmental rule of law and who support effective enforcement of domestic environmental laws, multilateral agreements, and regional agreements.

Organized under the Environment Committee and the Joint Senate and House Permanent Committee on Climate Change of the Federal Senate, sessions were chaired by senators, and prominent speakers provided expert insights into judicial decision-making and the environment from across Latin-American and the Caribbean. Bearing in mind that environmental constitutionalism has become a critical aspect of global environmental governance and the environmental rule of law, participants shared their personal experiences, drew connections across the region, and identified opportunities for enhancing capacity for the effective enforcement of domestic environmental laws, regional agreements, and multilateral agreements. The final session was devoted to the Amazon Biome as a case study for furthering the environmental rule of law, human rights, and sustainable development in the region.

Over the two days, prominent judges and scholars from Latin America and the Caribbean joined with other distinguished international jurists, scholars, and high-level governmental representatives to enrich and enhance  comparative perspectives on environmental constitutionalism through judicial decision-making. Vital questions addressed by the Colloquium included jurisdiction and access to courts, enforcement of judicial orders, and related substantive issues focused on constitutional environmental protection. Emphasis was also placed on procedural matters (standing, justiciability, statutes of limitations, access to courts, res judicata), causes of action, remedies (“medidas judiciais”), and how courts are giving effect to substantive constitutional provisions related to environmental protection.

Partners in this important event include: UN Environment, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, the Brazilian Association of Judges (AMB), the Brazilian Association of Federal Judges (AJUFE), the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB-Conselho Federal), the Organization of American States (OAS), the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL), Widener University Delaware Law School (USA), and North-West University (South Africa).

Coverage from the official Jornaldo Senado “Debate: Environmental balance affects human rights”

UN Environment website: “Regional Colloquium on Constitutions, Environment, and Human Rights”

Regional Judicial Colloquium

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