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In the past two days, you have shared with us many of the developments, and challenges, you face, in achieving environmental justice in your countries. Although each country naturally has its own challenges and constraints, I have been impressed by the dedication and commitment you hav'e shown to finding creative solutions to some common problems. Of course many of those problems transcend national boundaries, and I' hope that some of the examples and approaches you have heard about during this Symposium will be useful to you as you try to develop solutions to those problems back home.
For me, there have been at least three key messages to emerge from your discussions.
, 1) First of all, your presentations and discussions have confirmed the importance of the role of the judiciary in environmental enforcement. There also . appears to be agreement on the importance and
relevance, of the Johannesburg Principles on the Role
o In Bangladesh, where the Cabinet and
Prime Minister have just approved a bill for a new environmental court;
o In the Philippines, where the Supreme
Court approved new environmental rules several months ago and is now rolling out a larqe-scale program on judicial environmental training;
o In India, where· legislation has been
adopted to establish a new environmental tribunal;
of Law and Sustainable Development, and the need to move towards further implementation of those principles on the ground.
2) Secondly, I think we have a much clearer picture of where the courts of the region are in relation to environmental justice. In many ways, it's an encouraging picture, despite the challenges and frustrations that many of you face. As we've heard, there have been quite a number of major new developments just this year, including:
o In Indonesia, where a system on
Environmental Certification for Judges is being developed, to be finalized by the end of this year;
o In Thailand, where work IS being'
undertaken on new environmental rules for its exlstlnq 'green bench; and
o In the People's Republic of China, where
consideration is being given to the adoption of expanded jurisdiction for environmental courts and , the establishment of more such courts.
3) A third message to come out of our discussions has been the urgent need to strengthen capacity and good governance. I think there is a consensus that these will be critical to ensuring access to environmental justice.
Although the institutional mechanisms will vary from country to' country, the emphasis should be on strengthening the capacity for environmental decisionmaking and the integrity of the process, whether or not it is conducted in a specialized environmental court or tribunal.
ADS is therefore committed to. strengthening country safeguard systems, and we consider the role of the judiciary in environmental enforcement to be a key part of this. This event is timely, because ADS's Soard of Directors has just this month approved a $5 million
It would appear, however, that environmental courts and tribunals are in many cases the best way' of , ensuring a critical mass of specialized knowledge and expertise in this area.
Capacity development is a major focus of ADS's assistance. . ADS's long-term- strategic framework, Strategy 2020, identifies environment and climate change as one of our core operational areas. It indicates that ADS will seek to "strengthen ... the legal, regulatory, and enforcement capacities of public institutions in regard to environmental
considerations." It also recognizes that good
governance and capacity development are drivers of change that will improve the cost-effectlve delivery of public goods within our core operational areas, such as the environment.
technical assistance grant· to strengthen country safeguard systems in the region .
Many people have worked hard, and given generously
of their time, to make this Symposium a success. I would especially like to thank our development partners for their support, assistance and cooperation, including:
Bakary Kante, and his delegation from the United Nations Environment Programme; Scott Fulton and the representatives from the US Environmental Protection Agency; Lalanath de Silva of The Access Initiative; Peter King and his colleagues from the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement 'Network; and the Supreme Court of the Philippines under Chief Justice Corona. I would also like to thank Kala
Mulqueeny and the team from ADB who have worked so hard to organize this event.
We have been honored to have so many distinguished speakers and guests join us for this Symposium. Many of you have traveled far to be with us these past two days, and I want to thank you for making these
sessions so interesting and the discussions so rich.
hope you have found them as constructive as we have. We look forward to continuing the conversations started by this Symposium, and to partnering with you in the future.
,We all share the same planet, and we all share a concern for the quality of life for future generations. One of the key benefits of a gathering such as this is that it gives us an opportunity to share 'ideas about common problems, and to be reminded that we are all involved in a collective effort. We recognize that the same approach will not work in all situations, but I hope that you will go back to your countries inspired by the efforts that are being made, around the region, and indeed around the word, to tackle what is probably one of the greatest challenges of our time, and one with the most long-lasting impact on our planet.
May I wish you all success in your future endeavors, and a ' safe and smooth journey home.