October 27, 2010

Central Europe and US Exchange on Environmental Compliance: Part II

V4 participants and facilitator discuss natural resources management.

INECE, in cooperation with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Czech Environmental Inspectorate, coordinated a two-phase joint project on environmental inspections and enforcement with participants from the Visegrad Group countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia (V4).  In the first phase, participants from the V4 countries traveled to the United States on 20-25 September 2010. The second phase was executed on 18-21 October 2010 when U.S. experts traveled to a regional meeting convened in the Czech Republic.

During the second phase,  discussions went into greater depth on key environmental enforcement issues relating to the specific situations in the V4 countries.

On the pollution side, the discussion focused on contaminated site remediation, program performance measures, analysis and planning. A Hungarian expert shared remarks on the red mud disaster in Ajka after the collapse of the waste storage ponds. The study tour group participated in a site visit to large chemical installation and old silver mine in Central Bohemia.

On the natural resources side, the balance between forest management and nature protection requirements was discussed. The host country presented the Czech National Forest Program, which is designed to facilitate a dialogue among stakeholders to  find a balance between economical, environmental, and social requirements. Topics discussed also included an overview of law enforcement in forests within the protected areas, protection of endangered species, illegal logging, violation of reforestration duty, as well as special management within the Natura 2000 sites (designed in accordance European Birds and Habitats Directives). The V4 study tour participants were invited to a site visit at Protected Landscape Area Broumovsko.

As follow-up to the two workshops, a list of the best practices will be issued as a basis for future use in V4 countries. Reports from the programme with findings from the exchange of experiences will be presented at the relevant institutions and meetings and disseminated through IMPEL and INECE networks. Participants of the workshops will share their knowledge and recommendations from the project as the trainers in their own organizations.

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October 20, 2010

AFP: India sets up ‘green court’ to make polluters pay

Filed under: Asia, Judges and Prosecutors — Tags: — inece @ 9:03 am

India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests held a press conference to announce the launch of India’s National Green Tribunal (“NGT”), established to make polluters pay damages as it steps up its policing of the country’s environmental laws. AFP reports that

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said India was only the third country in the world after Australia and New Zealand to set up such a tribunal.  “This is the first body of its kind (in India) to apply the polluter pays principle and the principle of sustainable development,” Ramesh told reporters in New Delhi.  Full AFP article.

Time magazine blog questions whether the new court will “get the job done,” looking at the history of similar bodies created in India, including

the National Environment Tribunal in 1995, established to handle cases arising from accidents during the handling of hazardous materials, and the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) in 1997. “We have not seen these two active, and I have not seen any diagnostic study of why they failed in the first place,” says Sanjay Upadhyay, the founder of India’s first environmental law firm. The effect of the bodies’ failures, says Upadhyay, has been that grievances in environmental cases that should have been filed at the appellate level have often leapfrogged to the higher court systems, including the Supreme Court. That court has been praised for its proactive approach in environmental cases; the court’s interpretation of the Indian constitution’s guarantee of the “Right to Life” includes the right to a healthy, pollution-free environment.  However, Upadhyay says, the high courts’ rulings on sweeping environmental issues like sustainable development and the precautionary principle are often too broad to be properly managed at the ground level.

October 15, 2010

Eastern and Southern Africa Ports look at Cooperation in Environmental Management

Filed under: Africa, INECE Secretariat, seaports — Tags: — inece @ 8:49 am

INECE delivered remarks on the importance of informal communications to improve environmental security at seaports during the 1st Eastern and Southern Africa Ports Environmental Managers Working Conference, on 20-22 September 2010, in Mombasa, Kenya.  The meeting resulted in a communique on Cooperation for Environmental Management. The text of the Communique is excerpted below.

Eastern and Southern African have for the first time held an environmental conference with the theme “Creating a Platform for Information and Experience Exchange to Improve Environmental Performance in Port Area and Hinterland Logistics.” The conference was organized by the Port Management Association for Eastern and Southern Africa in collaboration with the Ports Environmental Network-Africa (PENAf), a non-profit organization with an interest in environmental performance in African ports and supported by Kenya Ministry of Environment and the UNEP/Nairobi Convention.

It was attended by ports in Eastern and Southern Africa as well as Western and Central Africa with facilitators and presenters from Africa and Europe. The conference initiated a platform aimed at stimulating discussions on environmental challenges facing Eastern and Southern Africa ports and sharing good practice experiences in environmental protection and management. The presentations covered topics ranging from the need to undertake coastal risk and vulnerability mapping as one essential component of port environmental management, the need for research directly aimed at answering key questions posed to port environmental managers, the need to link various international protocols and conventions to local structures and legislation to facilitate their implementation.

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October 14, 2010

WRI Looks at “Insights from Another Lacey Case”

Filed under: biodiversity, climate, Environmental Crime, Forests — inece @ 12:09 pm

The World Resources Institute published a short article, Declarations and Due Care: Insights from Another Lacey Case, which looks at a recent enforcement action under the U.S. Lacey Act, a demand-side regulation designed to control illegal logging.  The article presents six recommendations to help companies stay in compliance.

For the WRI article, click Declarations and Due Care: Insights from Another Lacey Case. Declaraciones y el Concepto de “Debido Cuidado”: Lecciones de Otro Caso Lacey también está disponible en español (desplácese hacia abajo la página).

For background on the Lacey Act’s amendment to include illegal logging, see INECE’s article, The U.S. Lacey Act Will Help Protect Forests Worldwide.

October 12, 2010

Mind the Gap! Trends in Strengthening Environmental Laws in China

Filed under: Asia — Tags: — inece @ 7:45 pm

 

China Environment Forum

This panel at the Woodrow Wilson Center, convened by the China Environment Forum, explores the challenges of understanding what environmental laws exist in China. The panelists note that, while the trend is towards improving on-the-ground implementation and enforcement, it is still uneven, and might be applied more diligently to foreign companies.

 

Panelists are Steve Wolfsen, US Environmental Protection Agency; Tad Ferris, Holland and Knight; and Dan Guttman,10 Peking University School of Law Public Interest Law Program.

A video of the event is available online.

October 8, 2010

INECE Executive Planning Committee to Convene Fall 2010 Meeting at OECD

Filed under: INECE Secretariat — inece @ 4:09 pm

A regular meeting of the Executive Planning Committee (EPC) of the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) will be held on 11-12 October 2010 at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris, France. The EPC is the INECE’s governing body which sets the Network’s goals, activities, and multi-year work program; reviews and approves work products developed under the auspices of the partnership; and catalyzes and facilitates cooperation among related organisations and regional networks. The OECD has been a participant in INECE since its establishment and has contributed with several projects to its work programme implementation (see www.oecd.org/env/policies/compliance).

The EPC meeting will gather more than twenty high-level members, including senior government officials from around the world and leaders from major international environmental institutions.

The discussion will focus on finalising the agenda for the 9th International Conference on Compliance and Enforcement, scheduled to be held in British Columbia, Canada, in June 2011, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the INECE partnership.  The meeting will also provide a forum for reviewing progress on INECE’s projects that address some of the most urgent issues facing environmental compliance and enforcement today, such as illegal trade in hazardous wastes or cost-effective strategies for initiating and expanding national programmes on monitoring, reporting, and verification in greenhouse gas markets.

Attendance at the meeting is by invitation only. For more information, please contact the INECE Secretariat.

Adapted from OECD.org.

October 4, 2010

Out of the Maze: Montreal Protocol, Climate Benefits and the Green Economy

Filed under: climate, Environmental Crime, INECE Secretariat — Tags: — inece @ 7:15 pm

A Special Edition of the OzonAction Newsletter, Out of the Maze: Montreal Protocol, Climate Benefits and the Green Economy [large pdf], features 15 articles that profile aspects of the success of the Montreal Protocol and “lessons it holds for the global environment agreements of today.” Themes of the publication include: the “wider benefits” of the Montreal Protocol with respect to climate change, the relationship between ozone depletion and biodiversity loss, the benefits of the Protocol to supporting the green economy, and country lessons from implementing aspects of the agreement.

The Newsletter contains a feature on illegal trade in ozone depleting substances, “Resurgence of Trade in Ozone-Depleting Substances – HCFCs this Time,” by EIA President Allan Thornton, which explores how the “lessons learned from combating illegal trade in CFCs [can] be applied to ensure that the growing illicit trade in HCFCs is stopped.”

The Newsletter also features an article by Stephen O. Andersen, K. Madhava Sarma, and INECE Secretariat Director Durwood Zaelke,  “The Montreal Protocol Can Deliver Fast Action on Climate,” which calls for the use of “our best-performing institution – the Montreal Protocol – to take fast action to reduce threats to the climate and buy time for a strong multilateral agreement focused on carbon dioxide.”

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Environmental Compliance Inspections Handbook: A Regional Model from Argentina

Filed under: Compliance Inspections, Compliance Training, South America — Tags: — inece @ 2:47 pm

The Cuenca Mantanza Riachuelo: Manual Para Inspectores provides practical guidance for environmental inspectors in the area of the Matanza-Riachuelo river basin in Argentina.

The six chapters of the Handbook are organized into four distinct parts. The first deals with general aspects of the environmental inspection and is closely related to USEPA’s Conducting Environmental Compliance Inspections: Inspectors Field Manual. The second part describes the Matanza Riachuelo area, particularly its territorial, geopolitical, social, and economic aspects to provide context for the inspector. The third part covers the legal framework — both in terms of the environmental law for each of the jurisdictions (national level, Province of Buenos Aires and City of Buenos Aires) that make up the basin and in terms of the key legal provisions for environmental inspections. The final part discusses technical aspects of environmental inspections, such as liquid effluent, air emissions and waste, focusing on current field procedures used in the Matanza Riachuelo Watershed.

The new manual is available (in Spanish) at
http://www.ambiente.gob.ar/archivos/web/Ppnud08/file/Manual_Inspectores_New.pdf.

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Los seis capítulos de la Cuenca Mantanza Riachuelo: Manual Para Inspectores se organizan en cuatro partes bien diferenciadas. La primera trata sobre aspectos generales de la inspección ambiental y ha tenido como principal fuente el Manual de Inspecciones de Cumplimiento Ambiental, edición Centroamericana y República Dominicana de US EPA (disponible en español). La segunda corresponde a una descripción de la Cuenca Matanza Riachuelo, particularmente de sus aspectos territoriales, geográficos, sociales y económicos, de manera de situar al inspector en el marco territorial donde desenvuelve su acción. Allí, se expone el caso Mendoza y la normas vigentes en la ACUMAR, tanto de carácter institucional como operativo desde el punto de vista de la inspección. La tercera parte presenta, por un lado, la normativa especifi ca sobre la materia en cada una de las jurisdicciones (Nación, Provincia de Buenos Aires y Ciudad de Buenos Aires) que conforman la Cuenca, por otro lado, se presenta aquella que resulta esencial par el desarrollo de la actividad de un inspector ACUMAR. Ambas de conocimiento fundamental para la tarea. Finalmente, la cuarta parte, incluye la descripción de los aspectos técnicos de carácter general de una inspección ambiental en cuanto a efluentes líquidos, gaseosos y residuos, haciendo foco en los procedimientos vigentes en el ámbito de la Cuenca Matanza Riachuelo.

El nuevo manual está disponible en español en
http://www.ambiente.gob.ar/archivos/web/Ppnud08/file/Manual_Inspectores_New.pdf.

October 3, 2010

Profile of India’s Environment Minister: Jairam Ramesh

Filed under: Asia — inece @ 12:28 pm

The Huffington Post published a recent op-ed titled Jairam Ramesh: India’s Environmental Revolutionary?

Maharashtra, India. By flickr user flickrohit

[Ramesh] pointed out that India has very strong environmental laws — but has historically had very weak environmental enforcement. And he’s on the verge of changing that.

He has started by setting the example. A whole series of high-profile development projects — most prominently a bauxite-mining concession in the eastern state of Orissa — have been halted on the grounds that they lack the proper permits.  A number of major and well-connected companies have seen significant hits to their stock prices as investors began to realize that they had been counting on their connections — not their compliance — to satisfy environmental standards.

Now Ramesh is moving to institutionalize his tough, law-and-order stand so that environmental compliance by even the well-connected will become India’s new norm.

For the full article, visit huffingtonpost.com.

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