June 28, 2011

INECE Conference Concludes With Statement Recognizing Value of Enforcement Cooperation

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat — inece @ 4:26 pm

The 9th International Conference on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement concluded on Friday, 24 June 2011, in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, with the presentation of the Conference Statement recognizing the importance of  cooperation in strengthening environmental enforcement and compliance.

INECE Co-chair Gerard Wolters Concludes the 9th Conference (J. Lehane)

Cooperation among government officials to exchange information and coordinate activity across national borders and institutions creates efficiencies in combating environmental crimes and enabling green economic growth.  INECE and its regional and topical networks play a critical role in improving compliance with and enforcement and implementation of environmental law, particularly in countries with limited institutional capacity.  INECE adds value by facilitating and providing the best practices for the exchange of information and fostering collaboration and mutual learning both vertically and horizontally in the enforcement and compliance chain.

According to Mr. Gerard J. R. Wolters, Co-Chair of INECE and Inspector-General for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment of The Netherlands,  “Every environmental policy and regulation – both at the national and international level – is as strong as its actual implementation. If compliance and enforcement of environmental requirements are lacking, the environment and health of our people fail to be protected. Collaboration between law enforcement disciplines at all levels is essential to safeguard the important values of our lives and of our planet.”

Recognizing this spirit of collaboration, Conference participants from West Africa announced the launch of a new regional environmental compliance and enforcement network. The West Africa Network initially will focus on illegal movements and disposal of electronic waste in the region.

Additionally, participants from South America announced plans to begin to build the foundation for a new regional  environmental compliance and enforcement network. The South America Network initially will  focus on harmonizing investigation and prosecution procedures and increasing understanding of comparative environmental legal systems.

The Conference also resulted in recommendations to advance the role of environmental compliance and enforcement in achieving sustainable development objectives as part of the preparatory work for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20. As Ken Markowitz, Managing Director of INECE, stressed, “Compliance with domestic laws and policies forms the critical foundation for achieving the objectives of our international environmental agreements to protect our climate, lands, oceans and biodiversity.”

For more information, see http://www.inece.org/conference/9/.

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June 24, 2011

Top Officials Recognize the Critical Role of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement at INECE’s 9th International Conference on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat — inece @ 4:09 pm

The International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), in partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Netherland’s Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, and other member countries, held its 9th International Conference entitled “Enforcement Cooperation: Strengthening Environmental Governance” this week in Whistler, Canada. This unique gathering brought together 150 environmental compliance and enforcement experts from over 50 countries to identify new actions to promote enforcement cooperation to combat environmental crime and support the shift to sustainable development and a green economy.

Lisa Jackson, the Administrator of the U.S. EPA  opened the conference by saying, “We all know that environmental challenges don’t stop at our borders – and for that reason, neither can our efforts to ensure environmental and health safeguards. INECE’s collaborations with organizations across the globe are instrumental in strengthening our individual enforcement and compliance efforts and expanding effective environmental governance around the world.”

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, recognized the importance of INECE as a global leader and partner in international cooperation efforts to keep our communities safe from environmental crimes. John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and Ignacia Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice, also addressed the conference. They stressed the importance of strong national institutions to assure compliance with and enforcement of international agreements on the environment. Moreno cited one example of a joint investigation between the U.S., Canada, and Interpol of the Overseas Shipbuilding Group for violations of MARPOL, which led to a $37 million criminal penalty.

Catherine McCabe presents remarks at the 9th Conference. (J. Lehane)

“The reason we can drink our water and breathe our air is because we have dedicated compliance and enforcement professionals working tirelessly around the world to protect the environment,” said Durwood Zaelke, Director of the INECE Secretariat. “INECE Conferences, which are held once every three years, provide a unique forum for building capacity for compliance promotion and strengthening enforcement cooperation among government environmental protection agencies and other key stakeholders from international institutions.”

Catherine McCabe, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the US EPA and Co-Chair of INECE emphasized that,  “Every environmental law, policy and regulation – both at the national and international level – is only as strong as its actual implementation. If compliance and enforcement of environmental requirements are lacking, the environment and health of our people is put at risk. Collaboration between law enforcement disciplines at all levels is essential to ensure that laws provide effective protection of public health and the environment.”

The Conference closed on Friday, June 24 with concrete recommendations to advance the role of cooperation in aceving environmental compliance and enforcement objectives.

Further details are available at www.inece.org/conference/9/.

June 23, 2011

Conference Participants Gain Insight Into Canada’s Environmental Enforcement Efforts

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat — inece @ 11:04 pm

Site Visit Participants. By J. Lehane

On Wednesday, 22 June, during the 9th International Conference, participants embarked on site visits to local venues that provided significant and practical insights into environmental compliance and enforcement from a variety of angles.

One group of participants visited Port Metro Vancouver’s Delta Port and Canada Place where they learned about container control measures, inspection approaches, emergency response procedures and sustainability efforts from both port officials and Environment Canada colleagues. They also enjoyed lunch at Stanley Park and a visit to the Capilano Fish Hatchery where several participants spotted a bald eagle.

Another group visited the Pacific Wildlife Research Centre- Riefel Bird Sanctuary & Alaskan Area, where conservation officials described how they manage the administration of a designated National Wildlife Area (NWA) that overlaps with a Migratory Bird Sanctuary.  Key lessons in land-use management issues and cooperation were shared.

Bald Eagle by J. Lehane

Another group visited was to the Pacific Environmental Science Centre.  The Center, who works in partnership with B.C. Environment, Health Canada, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Victoria, provided fascinating insights into the investigation research done in tracking down the source of a whole host of environmental contamination.   The lab, which is equipped with some of the best technology in the world, is a powerful weapon in the fight against environmental pollution.

Participants later gathered at the Squamish Totem Hall for a Welcome Reception lead by the Randall Lewis of the Squamish People and the Mayor of Sqamish.  The group then visited the Squamish  Estuary and Wildlife Management Area, a fjord estuary, which provides habitat for numerous endangered species while allowing for continued traditional, recreational and industrial uses.

The Estuary, which was once victim to large-scale contamination, was carefully nursed back to health over a period of about ten years through dedicated collaboration amongst the local stakeholders.  The Squamish community played a significant leadership role in bringing this land back to its original glory.

June 21, 2011

International Officials Call for Cooperation to Combat Environmental Crime at INECE 9th Conference

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat — inece @ 6:00 pm

Achim Steiner. Image by UNDP

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, opened today’s INECE sessions with remarks on the importance of fully implementing multi-lateral agreements on the environment through robust national strategies. Mr. Steiner recognized the importance of INECE and its efforts to strengthen inter-country collaboration in combatting environmental crime. International partnership is essential as polluters and environmental criminals operate across borders.

Keynote presentations were also made by Ignacia Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and by John Scanlon, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

Video presentations of each speaker will be posted on the site shortly. See http://www.inece.org/conference/9/.

9th INECE Conference Kicks Off with Call to Action on Enforcement Cooperation

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat — inece @ 12:19 am

Justice Benjamin photo by: J. Lehane

The International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) opened its 9th International Conference entitled “Enforcement Cooperation: Strengthening Environmental Governance” on 19 June 2011 in Whistler, Canada. The conference brings together national enforcement agencies, international institutions, and researchers to identify new actions to promote enforcement cooperation to combat environmental crime and promote green economy objectives.

Chief Gibby Jacob, hereditary Chief of the Squamish Nation, and Justice Antonio Benjamin of the High Court of Brazil, a renowned scholar and leader in the field of environmental compliance and enforcement, officially kicked-off the conference during the opening ceremony on Sunday evening, with remarks on the importance of working together around our shared and common values.

“The Conference provides an invaluable opportunity for environmental enforcement leaders from around the world to gain practical experience for strengthening environmental compliance programs,” said Durwood Zaelke, Director of the INECE Secretariat. “INECE Conferences, which are held once every three years, provide a unique forum for building capacity for compliance promotion and strengthening enforcement cooperation among government environmental protection agencies and other key stakeholders from international institutions.”

Cheif Gibby Jacob. Photo by J. Lehane

The Conference will features interactive discussions across seven thematic tracks: Enforcement Challenges Across Borders; Promoting Compliance with Climate-related Requirements; Proven Compliance and Enforcement Strategies; Improving Implementation of Environmental Legislation; Non-Traditional Approaches; Strengthening Environmental Compliance Institutions.

More than 80 papers from 50 countries and institutions were received as background for the Conference Program. These papers are available at http://inece.org/conference/9/pre-conference-papers/.

The Conference will result in recommendations to advance the role of environmental compliance and enforcement in achieving sustainable development objectives as part of the preparatory work for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20.

For more information, see http://www.inece.org/conference/9/.

June 20, 2011

European Commission asks 12 Member States to implement EU rules

Filed under: 9th Conference, Environmental Crime, Europe — inece @ 6:48 pm

The European Commission has given 13 Member States two months to transpose EU rules laying down criminal penalties against sea pollution and other environmental offences. Directive 2008/99/EC on criminal law measures to protect the environment should have been introduced in national law by 26 December 2010. However, 10 countries (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia) have so far failed to do so.

Meanwhile, eight states (Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia) have failed to comply with separate rules on pollution from ships. This Directive (2009/123/EC) was due to be implemented by 16 November 2010. Should the Member States concerned fail to notify the Commission of implementation measures within two months, it may refer the cases to the EU’s Court of Justice.

Directive 2008/99/EC on protecting the environment through criminal law aims to ensure that criminal law measures are available in all Member States to react to serious breaches of EU rules on environmental protection. The Directive includes a list of breaches which have to be considered a criminal offence in all Member States, such as the illegal shipment of waste or the trade in endangered species.

Directive 2009/123/EC (amending Directive 2005/35/EC) on ship-source pollution is part of a set of EU rules to reinforce maritime safety and help prevent pollution from ships. It requires Member States to consider serious and illicit discharges of polluting substances from ships as a criminal offence.

Both directives require Member States to ensure that the criminal offences are punishable with “effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties.”

Failure by Member States to implement the directives makes it impossible to have common minimum criminal law rules for serious breaches of EU legislation on the protection of the environment and against ship-source pollution. Such EU wide rules are essential to prevent loopholes which could otherwise be exploited by perpetrators of environmental crimes.

Today’s ‘reasoned opinions’ are the second stage in the three-step infringement process.

For more information:

From the EUROPA press release

Join the CEC Public Forum on E-Waste Webcast on 21 June

Filed under: 9th Conference, Chemicals & Waste, North America — Tags: — inece @ 6:44 pm

The public is invited to participate in the 18th Regular Session of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) Council and related events starting June 21. The events will be broadcast online in English, Spanish and French. During the meeting you will have opportunities to ask questions of the presenters and give feedback on their presentations. For more details, see the agendas online.

The events will kick off on Tuesday, 21 June, beginning at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time), with a public forum on managing e-waste in North America, organized by the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC).

On Wednesday, 22 June, the CEC Council, consisting of the cabinet-level environment ministers of the three NAFTA countries–Peter Kent of Canada, Juan Elvira Quesada of Mexico, and Lisa P. Jackson of the United States–will hold its annual session. Council members will address environmental issues of common concern and set direction for the Commission’s work program.

Council members will hear from selected members of the public on matters of interest or concern related to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation or CEC endeavors.

Whether in person or from afar, you can participate in these free public sessions, as both will be webcast via the CEC website. Comments and questions may be submitted online at the website, or through Facebook andTwitter with #ewaste2011 and #CEC2011.

The full preliminary meeting agenda and registration form are available at www.cec.org/council2011. Get involved now!

June 11, 2011

Symposium Concludes with a Call for the Formation of a European Green Prosecutors Network

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat, Judges and Prosecutors — inece @ 2:26 am

INECE participated in a seminar on “Investigation, prosecution and judgment of environmental offences,” convened by Belgium’s Judicial Training Institute, from Tuesday 24 May 2011 to Friday 27 May 2011.

The seminar was attended by more than 100 judges and prosecutors and provided information on tools at the international and EU levels to combat environmental offences and offered a forum to exchange experience and good practices. INECE’s paper for the conference and the presentation emphasised the importance of environmental enforcement networks.

Participants concluded with the need of a European Green Prosecutors Network.

INECE’s presentation and paper are available on the INECE web site.

June 9, 2011

New Ecosystems Climate Alliance Report Looks at Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and REDD+.

Filed under: 9th Conference, biodiversity, climate, Forests — inece @ 9:02 pm

credit: Anton Raath

A new paper developed by the Ecosystems Climate Alliance looks at the relationship between Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and REDD+. The paper argues that Parties should not allow the extensive work put into REDD+ to now be undermined by the use of alternative and less stringent provisions relating to Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Activities (NAMAs). The paper identifies two key issues that need to be resolved to avoid the possibility of NAMAs undermining REDD+:

  1. Parties should clarify that mitigation activities in the forest sector, including those considered as NAMAs, must comply with the REDD+ provisions, and
  2. Parties should also develop suitable safeguards applicable to NAMAs, drawing upon lessons learnt from the REDD+ safeguards.

To access the paper, visit Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions – Undermining REDD+ in the Forest Sector?

June 8, 2011

AFP: Bangladesh creates anti-poaching police force

Filed under: 9th Conference, Asia, biodiversity — Tags: — inece @ 2:24 am

Tiger Sanctuary in Bangladesh. Photo credit: BBC World Service

AFP reports that Bangladesh will launch a specialized anti-poaching police force to respond to a sharp rise in poaching and exotic animal smuggling.

The 300-member Wildlife Crime Control Unit will be deployed in July as part of a $36 million World Bank-funded project aimed at protecting native endangered species and their habitats, Tapan Kumar told AFP.

“It’s the first time we have created a specific force to combat wildlife poachers who have become increasingly sophisticated,” he said, adding that a recent increase in wildlife smuggling was “alarming”.

Most of the unit will be stationed in the Sundarbans — the world’s largest mangrove forest and home to the critically endangered Royal Bengal Tiger — and will be equipped with modern weaponry and 38 patrol boats, he said.

Full article

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