Bali faces serious environmental crises arising from overdevelopment of the tourism and real estate industry, including water shortage, rapid conversion of agricultural land, pollution, and economic and cultural displacement. This article traces continuities and discontinuities in the role of Indonesian environmental impact assessment (EIA) during and since the authoritarian ‘New Order’ period. Following the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998, the ‘Reform Era’ brought dramatic changes, democratizing and decentralizing Indonesia's governing institutions. Focusing on case studies of resort development projects in Bali from the 1990s to the present, this study examines the ongoing capture of legal processes by vested interests at the expense of prospects for sustainable development. Two particularly controversial projects in Benoa Bay, proposed in the different historical and structural settings of the two eras—the Bali Turtle Island Development (BTID) at Serangan Island in the Suharto era and the Tirta Wahana Bali Internasional (TWBI) proposal for the other side of Benoa in the ‘Reform Era’—enable instructive comparison. The study finds that despite significant changes in the environmental law regime, the EIA process still finds itself a tool of powerful interests in the efforts of political and economic elites to maintain control of decision-making and to displace popular opposition forces to the margins.
Carol Warren and Agung Wardana
Currently, in Thailand, proposed development projects require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as part of the approval process. Effective public participation in the process of developing an EIA helps to ensure fairness and equity for the EIA system. It enables stakeholders to share information and exchange views concerning the complex issues and likely impacts of the proposed development project. Thailand has substantial legislation and regulations that aim to enable public participation for EIA processes. However, implementation of public participation provisions is failing at least to some degree. This article explores how the law concerning public participation might be improved to enable better implementation of the EIA system in Thailand. Some methods for employing effective public participation to support the implementation of EIAs are proposed.
Nupur Chowdhury and Nidhi Srivastava
Can a tribunal deliver justice? By posing this rhetorical question this article attempts to contextualize the introduction of the tribunal system of adjudication in India. Some of these tribunals have been able to evolve into mechanisms that have overcome their birth infirmities. The Supreme Court has intervened and supported strengthening of these tribunals and their evolution into entities (if not fully but certainly) more independent of the executive. This article explores these questions through a case study of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)—specifically focusing on the subject of jurisdiction. NGT is the newest of the tribunals that have been established since the Constitutional amendment was passed allowing for them. The jurisdiction of the NGT, although statutorily limited, has evolved in the light of Supreme Court's jurisprudence on the powers of tribunals. Further, the nature of environmental disputes are such that the NGT has had to expansively interpret both procedural mechanisms, such as limitation periods for allowing more disputes to be brought to the bench, and by entering into substantive areas such as climate change.
Fiji's National Government has committed to using Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to protect its marine environment. As Fiji is in the process of reforming its marine law, now is an opportune time to develop statutory mechanisms for establishing and regulating MPAs. This article considers the regulation of MPAs in Fiji's coastal waters—where the intersection of statutory and customary law poses particular challenges. ‘Customary MPAs’ already exist in Fiji's coastal environments, taking the form of tabu areas and ‘Locally Managed Marine Areas’ (LMMAs). Both of these are important mechanisms that any new statutory framework should incorporate and strengthen. In 2010, the draft Inshore Fisheries Decree (draft Inshore Decree) was prepared. Although the draft Inshore Decree appears to have stalled, it may yet be progressed to a final bill. Alternatively, some of the measures in it may be incorporated into another law. This article assesses one mechanism in the draft Inshore Decree that could be used to formalize customary MPAs—Community Fisheries Management and Development Plans (CFMDPs). It finds that CFMDPs demonstrate a number of strengths, in particular by supporting legal recognition of existing marine management measures. However, there are also weaknesses. Nevertheless, with refinement CFMDPs may be a useful tool for regulating Fiji's coastal MPAs.
The inscription of East Rennell in Solomon Islands on the World Heritage List was a landmark in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. However, the site is now on the List of World Heritage in Danger, threatened by resource development, invasive species, climate change and the over-harvesting of certain animals. This article examines the scope for the Protected Areas Act of 2010 to be used to safeguard the site, and the challenges that may be encountered if the Act is implemented there. It explains how the Act provides direct protection against some (but not all) of the threats to East Rennell. Furthermore, the approach to conservation facilitated by the Act is appropriate for Solomon Islands, where most land is under customary tenure, many people rely on natural resources to support their subsistence lifestyles and the government's capacity to enforce legislation is limited. The article argues that the relationship between the legislation and custom must be considered in the design of the landowner consent process, the preparation of the site's management plan, and the selection of its management committee. Additionally, the protected area should aim to improve the livelihoods of the East Rennellese, as well as safeguarding the site's heritage values.
Edited by Ed Couzens, Tim Stephens, Manuel Solis, Saiful Karim and Cameron Holley
Fan Yang, Ting Zhang and Hao Zhang
Developing countries and countries with economies in transition have varying experiences in enforcing their national environmental law. China's judicial interpretations and legislation on environmental protection have established the rules that shift the burden of proof for causation in environmental tort litigation. However, this study of 513 court decisions from the people's courts at different levels in China shows that although the court decisions usually refer to or quote the rules that shift the burden of proof, in most cases the victim-plaintiffs still bear the liability to prove whether the causal relationship exists between the pollution and the harm. This study also finds that Chinese courts defer greatly to the evaluation report in proving causation. It suggests that the court practice of adjudicating environmental tort cases in China values more the factual causation of a pollution incident than the provisions regarding proof of causation stipulated by relevant laws. Consequently, such judicial practices hinder the effectiveness of judicial remedies for pollution victims in China.
This article discusses the existence and shape of a discursive space for local and indigenous voices in the arena of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Critical literature on global environmental governance argues that dominant or hegemonic discourses shape international-level decision making on environmental protection, and delimit the boundaries of possible policy choices. These discourses are identified by such scholarship as reflecting a dominant worldview stemming from a capitalist view of value and a dichotomous view of nature as separate from culture, which precludes discursive spaces for worldviews based on different conceptions of value and more holistic views of nature as inextricably bound up with culture. Such worldviews are often held by indigenous peoples and local communities considered to be crucial in protecting the environment and natural resources. The present article aims to contribute to this debate by looking in detail at decisions of the parties to the CBD, which is an arena argued by some to be more open to local and indigenous voices. The article presents a discourse analysis of the CBD's decisions since its creation and up to its most recent meetings held in late 2016. The analysis applies the arguments of the critical literature to the decisions of the CBD in order to investigate how far they conform to the critical view of them, or whether, and if so to what extent, they host spaces for local and indigenous voices.
Cordelia Christiane Bähr, Ursula Brunner, Kristin Casper and Sandra H Lustig
As older women are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, a group of senior women in Switzerland founded the association KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz (Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland) in order to fight for ambitious climate action by legally challenging the Swiss government's inadequate climate policies and mitigation measures. The KlimaSeniorinnen filed a legal request with the authorities, claiming that the Swiss authorities are failing to fulfil their duty to protect them as required by the Swiss Constitution and by the European Convention on Human Rights. This article provides a detailed analysis of the KlimaSeniorinnen case within the context of climate litigation worldwide. It argues that the case's human rights arguments, which are grounded in climate science, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement, environmental principles and international law, are generally transferable to almost any country. Therefore, vulnerable individuals and groups can learn from the KlimaSeniorinnen litigation that there are strong legal grounds to bring human-rights-based climate lawsuits against governments and thus governments should expect more litigation if their climate actions or omissions contravene international law and violate constitutional principles.