Environmental Law provides the mechanism for addressing Environmental Harm under the Environment Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) CAP 387 of the Laws of Kenya. The Law describes the legal rules and regulations to protect, conserve and reduce the human impacts on the Environment. It is, therefore, the mandate of those empowered by the rule of law to see to it that the Environment is protected.
During the 3-day conference of the 5-th meeting of the East African Community Forum of Chief Justices which ended on Wednesday, May 12, in Kigali the Judicial Chiefs discussed several issues. Among the issues discussed was ‘‘The Role of The Judiciary in Promoting the Rule of Law and Environmental Justice for Sustainable Development in East Africa’’. Sustainable Development Goal No.16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
The president of the Supreme court, Chief Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo addressed the forum of the heads of judiciary who discussed how they can sustain programmes in modern trends that are of global importance.
Giving an example, where most students graduate from law school and have no knowledge about how to deal with cases related to this area and yet sustainable development is a key issue and affects many people today.
‘‘We need to learn how to deal with these cases because when we are in law school, we are not given any lessons on environmental or natural resource related laws. We must catch up,’’ he said.
He reiterated the importance of the judicial to play an important role in upholding the rule of law as far as the environment and sustainable development is concerned.
‘‘We want the judiciary to get conversant with this concept of environmental sustainability so that when an environmental-related dispute arises, the judiciary is equipped with enough information so that they can deliver fair justice,’’ he said.
According to the judiciary, the Forum if Chief Justices will focus on how to revive its activities for the judiciaries in EAC Partner States to play a meaningful role towards effective integration of the region.
This is a global trend that the region must implement for the greater good. In England, the Queen’s speech stated: Environment Bill to be introduced later this year. She addressed the House of Lords outlining 30 laws that ministers intend to pass in the coming year.
The bill includes various environmental protection measures, these include the establishment of new environmental principles and legally binding environmental targets following the UK’s departure from the EU.
‘‘My Government will invest in new garden industries to create jobs while protecting the environment,’’ said the Queen.
‘The United Kingdom is committed to achieving Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will continue to lead the way internationally by hosting the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Legislation will set binding environmental targets in the Environment Bill.’
In Kenya, crimes such as corruptive practices by officers mandated to protect forests and wildlife, illegal squatters, introduction of largescale settlements and infrastructure developments are the among the major causes of environmental degradation in the country. Coupled with the limited capacity of enforcement and compliance of relevant ministries, authorities and institutions have made law enforcement in protection of the environment ineffective. Ministry of Environment and Forestry ‘Key Findings and Recommendations’ (2018).
It is time that the Law Society realize that there is no winning in achieving Environmental Sustainability if they are not part of the war. We recommend that they take up the torch and catch up on the journey that many Environmentalist long started.
Globally the tone has been set for the Rule of Law to protect nature and the environment, and the right to a clean and healthy environment for all. Lawyers in Kenya should reach out to Environmental Experts such as www.greenkenya.org to learn more on Environment and Sustainable Development.
‘‘I have heard a saying alluding to judges being people who know it all but that is completely misleading. We can Learn something from each other,’’ said the President of the East African Court of Justice Nesta Kayobera.
Come and Learn!
PRINCIPAL ENVIRONMENT EXPERT
GREENKENYA INVESTMENT CORPORATION
The Greenhouse, Adams Arcade, Ngong Road,
4th Floor, Suite 23, East Wing,
P.O. Box 21133-00505,
Whatsapp Business: 0724 111 174
Nairobi | Kenya
Regional judicial chiefs discuss environment and Tech.