"Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law"
Montego Bay, Jamaica, March 30-31, 2015

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The Organization of American States (OAS) this week co-organized the First Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law in Montego Bay, Jamaica, an event that concluded with a call to strengthen the rule of law on to address environmental challenges in the Americas.

The two-day event, organized together with the Government of Jamaica, brought more than 120 participants, including Chief Justices, Attorneys General, legislators, prosecutors, high level practitioners and civil society representatives to develop a common understanding of the concept of environmental rule of law and to identify current trends in the field. Participants called on thes governments of the region to prioritize environmental rule of law in order to address the increasingly complex challenges that the region faces today.

The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson Miller, highlighted the support of the OAS and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in increasing regional capacity on critical issues such as strengthening institutions that address environmental sustainability.

Outcomes from the Congress, supported by The World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), focused on issues related to legal frameworks for water resource management, trade investment and the environment, conflict prevention and management, enforcement and compliance and access to information, participation and access to justice in the Americas.

Participants called for the inclusion of the environmental rule of law in the OAS sustainable development agenda and for the Organization and its partners to continue holding the Congress on a periodical basis as a common space for the exchange of information and experiences amongst the judiciary, the executive and the legislative.

Goals of the Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law

  • To foster the Environmental Rule of law in the Americas
  • To contribute to good environmental governance, by providing the necessary knowledge base to support the development and strengthening of environmental laws, policies and institutions, as the foundation for sustainable development in the region
  • To bring together experts, government officials, students, civil society and private sector to share different perspectives on environmental law
  • To create a space for debate and reflection on emerging trends of environmental law, in search of answers to common problems that happen in the hemisphere
  • To provide a common place for analysis in order to follow up the recommendations obtained in each Congress, as a Consultative Forum
  • To encourage continuous research on issues related to environmental law and governance in the Hemisphere through publication of presented papers