Meeting of the Environmental Justice Committee of the Ibero-American Judicial Summit

On Saturday, 2 September, 2017, judicial leaders from across Ibero-America met at the Supreme Court of Chile, in advance of the 2nd Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law.  The meeting and the Congress were co-sponsored by the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, the Organization of American States, UN Environment, and the Global Judicial Institute of the Environment.

Photo: Nick Bryner

The meeting of judicial leaders from across Ibero-America on 2 September was hosted by Justice Sergio Muñoz of the Supreme Court of Chile and included high court judges from the region--Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti of Argentina, Justice Pablo Tinajero of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador, Justice José Ignacio Vásquez of the Constitutional Court of Chile, and Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin of the National High Court of Brazil (and Chair of WCEL). There were also several Justices from Chile's specialized Environmental Courts--Chief Justice Michael Hantke Domas, Justice Pablo Miranda, and Justice Roberto Pasten of the Third Environmental Court, and Justice Rafael Asenjo of the Environmental Court of Santiago. Furthermore, representatives from UN Environment, the Organization of American States, the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, and the Environmental Law Institute participated.

At this gathering, the judges discussed and presented their work on two main topics: preparation of a set of “Judicial Guidelines on the Environment”, to be presented to Chief Justices in the region at the Ibero-American Judicial Summit’s next meeting in April 2018 in Quito, Ecuador; and support for the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment (GJIE), a new platform – directed by judges and for judges – to support the judiciary worldwide and provide opportunities for sharing information and experiences about the adjudication of environmental matters.

The set of Judicial Guidelines will be an important resource that brings together the key emerging principles of environmental law that judges around the world are using to ensure the effective and equitable application of the environmental rule of law. In addition, to support the work of the GJIE, the meeting participants discussed ongoing plans to convene an event on “Judges and Prosecutors” in conjunction with the 8th World Water Forum, to be held in Brasiila (Brazil) on 18-23 March 2018.

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