Asia-Pacific judges convene for environmental and climate law training amid triple planetary crisis

Jakarta – In a landmark initiative to address the world’s triple planetary crisis, over 70 Asian judges have gathered for a 5-day advanced environmental judicial training program from October 30 to November 4, 2023. The collaborative effort involves the Indonesian Supreme Court, the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), and ClientEarth, with support from the United Nations Environment Programme.

The triple planetary crisis, comprising climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, underscores the pressing need for judges to adapt, innovate, and lead in addressing these complex legal questions. Judges are expected to play a crucial role in the international response to the climate crisis, with the training program designed to equip them with the knowledge of climate science and legal principles.

The program aims to enhance the capacity of judges in the Asia-Pacific region in response to global legal developments on environmental and climate matters. Esteemed speakers include Justice Antonio Benjamin of Brazil, Justice Ayesha Malik of Pakistan, Justice Maria Filomena Singh of the Philippines, and Justice Nicola Pain from New South Wales. A delegation of senior environmental judges from China also contributed to the sessions.

The diverse array of participants hails from countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, China, and India, fostering a collaborative environment for shared commitment to climate justice and the environmental rule of law.

The training covers essential topics, including biodiversity, climate litigation, climate science, and judicial tools and methodologies in environmental adjudication. Focusing on the unique challenges faced by the Asia-Pacific region, the program aims to provide resources on critical legal and scientific developments tailored to the region.

Dimitri de Boer, Regional Director of Programmes, Asia from ClientEarth, emphasised the significance of judges in adjudicating climate litigation and hoping with the organisation’s experience and expertise “to support international efforts to strengthen the environmental rule of law through judicial training, convenings and conferences.”

Justice Bambang H. Mulyono, Head of The Agency for Research and Judicial Training at the Supreme Court of Indonesia, stressed the importance of an informed and skilled judiciary for safeguarding the planet’s future through fair and environmentally responsible legal decisions.

The training is expected to guide judges in envisioning a sustainable environment for present and future generations by overcoming national and legal system barriers, according to Raynaldo Sembiring, Executive Director of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law.

Georgina Lloyd, UNEP Coordinator for Environmental Law and Governance for Asia and the Pacific, highlighted the critical leadership role judges play in upholding environmental rule of law, stating, “Judicial capacity building has the potential to address implementation gaps and strengthen environmental rule of law across the triple planetary crisis – the crisis of climate change, the crisis of nature loss, and the crisis of pollution.” (nsh)

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