New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Francis N. Botchway
Chapter 14: Economic Development and Environmental Protection in Africa: The Constitutional, Conventional and Institutional Contexts
David Dzidzornu 1 INTRODUCTION It is fairly common knowledge that, from its intensive resource exploitation antecedents during the colonial era, African environmental policy and law has been slow to embrace modern principles of natural resource exploitation and environmental protection and preservation.1 This is particularly so in terms of efficacious engagement of the African states at bilateral, sub-regional, regional and, ultimately, continental levels in concrete co-operative steps to protect and preserve ecology and environment as part and parcel of the process of economic development. The first continental resource preservation and environmental protection treaty concluded to provide an impetus for a collective effort to this end, the African Convention for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 1968 (Algiers Convention 1968),2 has been remarkable for some shortcomings that undermine realization of its objectives. First, its provisions are spare on relevant implementation obligations, as it strongly focuses on national rather than co-operative decisionmaking regarding observance of the resource preservation and environmental protection duties it prescribes. Second, it creates an institutionally loose arrangement regarding superintendence of its implementation at the Organisation of African Unity (OAU),3 now African Union (AU),4 level. Third, under the African Economic Community Treaty 1991 (AEC Treaty 1991),5 African states agreed not only that their work toward continental economic development and integration6 must, as a process, be achieved by exploiting and utilizing resources on the basis of national policies, but also that the resources’ utility must be secured by long-term preservation policies co-operatively formulated and observed by...
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