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Judges from India and Thailand discuss Montreal Protocol, sustainable development, and social justice

Bangkok, 8 June 2012 – High-ranking judges, lawyers, and law firms from India and Thailand have convened today for the “Social Justice and Environmental Sustainability Conference”  at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok. This meeting was organised by the OzonAction Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP ROAP) in cooperation with the Asia Pacific Jurist Association (APJA).

The conference discussed the role, responsibilities, and challenges of judges, lawyers, and business in achieving better environmental sustainability. It also provided a forum for judges, legal counsels and other stakeholders to exchange views and experiences in safeguarding social justice, equity, and environmental sustainability.

“As we strive for the care of our environment, the role of the judiciary cannot be minimized nor marginalized.  In our region of the Asia Pacific, we are still to have demonstrable actions in the administration of adequate judgment on harm and damage being done to our environment,” stated Dr. Young-woo Park, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP ROAP, in his Opening Speech. “Courts can play a role in determining the adequacy of quantification of environment damage and on the ruling of appropriate and justified penalties,” Dr. Park added.

"The need to have cross linkages of sustainable development with growth – it is in this context that our conference assumes greater significance being lawyers and judges from India and Thailand and other stakeholders under the auspices of UNEP. Legal facility has a key role to play in safeguarding environmental sustainability along with social justice. Lawyers in any society are the leaders,” said Honourable Mr. Justice Vijender Jain, Former Chief Justice, P&H High Court & President, APJA.

To set the scene for linking social justice with the environment, Ms. Artie Dubrie, of the UNEP Compliance Assistance Programme, delivered a presentation on the case of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which is an example of a multilateral environmental agreement that has worked and at the same time continues to require that nations keep committed to their obligations.

Other speakers and resource persons included Honourable Mr. Justice Kailash Gambhir, Judge, Delhi High Court & Executive Vice President, APJA, Honourable Judge Ms. Kidngarm Kongtrakul Li, Thailand Civil Court ,Environmental Division, Honourable  Judge Mr. Praport Klaisuphan, Thailand Supreme Administration Court, Environmental Division, Dr. Saif Mahmood, Partner, Ardent Legal Law Firm & Honorary Secretary, APJA, Mr. Ramesh Gupta, Senior Advocate & President, Association for Voluntary Action, Honourable  Mr. Justice Anil Kumar, Judge, Delhi High Court & Executive President, APJA, Honourable  Mr. Justice Kailash Gambhir, Mr. Anil Sapra, Senior Advocate & Secretary General, APJA, Mr. Subrata Sinha, UNEP ROAP, Mr. Atul Bagai, Ms. Artie Dubrie, Ms. Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida and Mr. Amir Radfar of UNEP DTIE OzonAction.

A key recommendation of the conference is the recognition of the need to empower the judiciary in preventing environmental crime from happening - deterrents must be made and environmental criminals must be adequately punished. As developing countries begin to reduce their production and consumption of HCFCs under their Montreal Protocol commitments, there will be an increased risk of illegal trade in these substances. The Asia-Pacific region, in particular, will require the engagement of all law enforcing institutions to ensure  sustained compliance.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Artie Dubrie, Programme Officer, OzonAction Programme, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and Pacific. Tel: +6622882128; Email: Artie.Dubrie@unep.org

Ms. Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida, Policy and Enfocement Officer, OzonAction Programme, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and Pacific. Tel: +6622881679; Email: Kakuko.Nagatani@unep.org

Ms. Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, UNEP, Tel: +662 288 2127/02 288 2314; E-mail: satwant.kaur@unep.org

Notes to Editors

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations system’s designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action.

Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987 and entered into force on January 1, 1989. Since then, it has undergone five revisions, in 1990 (London), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing). Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international cooperation "Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date...”

The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol is managed by an Executive Committee which is responsible for overseeing the operation of the Fund. The Committee comprises seven members from developed and seven members from developing countries. The 2012 Committee membership includes Belgium, Canada, Finland, Japan, Romania, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America (developed countries) and Argentina, China, Cuba, India, Kenya, Jordan and Mali (developing country members) and is chaired by Mr. Xiao Xuezhi (China). The Committee is assisted by the Fund Secretariat which is based in Montreal, Canada.

Asia Pacific Jurist Association (APJA) is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) of like minded jurists, leading lawyers and academicians, who, for a common cause have joined hands with the objective of promoting the interest of the Asian Pacific Region, particularly through interactions and deliberations resulting in recommendations, suggestions and resolutions backed by academic and intellectual impetus in the thrust areas of law and regulations. The areas primarily identified for the purpose are Environmental laws-their implementation and enforcement, Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms and Intellectual Property Rights. For more information, visit: http://www.apjalaw.com.