Asian Judges Establish Environmental Law Network
Over 100 Asian judges, lawyers, and government officials met in Manila, Philippines from July 28-29, 2010 and decided to establish a network to facilitate their work in environmental cases. The meeting was organized by the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme. The Philippines Supreme Court and the Access Initiative also partnered in this venture.
Judges from a number of Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines participated. The Chief Justices of Indonesia and Philippines made statements encouraging judges to form the network and to exchange ideas and experiences in the field of environmental law. They all recognized the importance of such cases and echoed the sentiments expressed by Chief Justices in the Statement issued in 2002 at the Johannesburg Summit.
During the meeting, judges presented the outcome of cases decided in their country jurisdictions and highlighted new jurisprudence. The Philippines Supreme Court has just established over 100 environmental courts and issued a set of guidelines on how to handle such cases. Judges from India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia highlighted cases in those countries but also explained the infratructure relating to environmental courts and tribunals extablished in those countries.
Given the large number of such specialized courts, participants felt the need for a network where judges can exchange information on a regular basis.