The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Robert V. Percival, Jolene Lin and William Piermattei
Chapter 1: Strengthening national environmental governance to promote sustainable development
Effective environmental governance and the Rule of Law, including application of the law in a consistent and even handed fashion, are crucial to protect human health and the environment and to establish a level playing field for international commerce. This chapter will first discuss the Rule of Law in the environmental sector, and the importance of law and effective environmental governance in establishing a sound foundation for sustainable development. Next it will discuss the growing convergence in understanding the core features of effective environmental governance systems. Finally, we will discuss emerging initiatives and trends in cooperation to strengthen environmental governance in countries around the world. The international community increasingly recognizes that effective environmental governance is critical to the achievement of sustainable development objectives. While many countries have established environmental agencies, enacted environmental laws and are parties to environmental treaties, the pressing challenge today is to actualize these instruments and entities through effective implementation of environmental laws. Implementation on the ground has proven elusive. There is growing convergence in recognizing the importance of effective environmental governance and the core features that make for success. Environmental laws are generally not self-executing, but instead necessitate action by governments to ensure compliance through policy measures and legislation backed by administrative capacities to implement and enforce the regulatory framework.
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