International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE).
Information
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE).
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Poverty eradication (3 hits),

Full Submission

The Importance of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement for Sustainable Development for the Rio+20 Conference

Submitted by

The International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), 2300 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Suite 300B, Washington, D.C., 20007, inece@inece.org,

http://www.inece.org

Summary

Robust national environmental compliance and enforcement systems for environmental and energy laws are critical parts of an effective overall governance strategy to meet green economy, Poverty eradication, and sustainable development objectives. Multidisciplinary approaches to capacity building for parliamentarians, inspectors, prosecutors, and judges are keys to this process.

Well designed environmental laws and regulations, which include implementation and enforcement systems, advance a green economy by improving the health and safety of the workforce and communities, conserving natural resources and ecosystem services, promoting sustainability in the business community, expanding markets for environmental goods and services, creating sustainable jobs, driving technology innovation, and leveling the playing field for investment by reducing costs.

Recommendation for Language in the Rio+20 Outcomes

Robust national environmental compliance and enforcement systems for environmental and energy laws are critical parts of an effective overall governance strategy to meet green economy, Poverty eradication and sustainable development objectives. Chapter 8 of Agenda 21 specifically directs States to develop their compliance and enforcement capacity. The outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference should emphasize institutional mechanisms at the international and domestic levels for implementation, accountability, compliance, and enforcement, supported by a science-based approach.

a) Expectations for the outcome of Rio+20

The International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) anticipates that the Parties to Rio + 20 recognize that robust national environmental compliance and enforcement systems for environmental and energy laws are critical parts of an effective overall governance strategy to meet green economy, Poverty eradication and sustainable development objectives. The outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference should emphasize institutional mechanisms at the international and domestic levels for implementation, accountability, compliance, and enforcement, supported by a science-based approach.

INECE calls on the conveners of the Rio+20 process to recognize that compliance with and enforcement of national environmental and energy laws are critical components of an overall strategy for achieving green economic growth. In part, green economy objectives can be achieved through a modern approach to regulation and compliance that creates value and opportunities by reducing costs for industry and business, creating markets for environmental goods and services, reducing business risk and increasing investor confidence, creating sustainable jobs, improving the health of the workforce and the wider public, and conserving natural resources. Well-designed environmental regulation can trigger innovations within firms that partially or fully offset the costs of compliance with those regulations.

b) Comments on existing proposals

Recognizing the importance of well-designed institutions for international environmental governance and echoing the recommendations of the Key Messages from North American Major Groups and Stakeholders, INECE encourages Rio+20 to emphasize the need for countries to develop domestic enforcement mechanisms that empower all citizens to call for and seek legal recourse in terms of compliance to commitments, laws and regulations.

c) Views on implementation and closing the implementation gap, including relevant actors

1. Views on implementation

Environmental laws and policies must be designed with compliance and enforceability in mind. For the regulated community to comply, it must be aware of the rules, willing to comply, and able to comply. Laws must therefore be no more complex than necessary, cost-effective to comply with, and consider the social, cultural and psychological profile of the regulated community. Rules running counter to cultural practices or ignoring economic incentives are likely to fail. Rules that reward environmental leadership, build on best practices, and ensure a level playing field are more likely to succeed in securing compliance.

Investing in compliance and enforcement benefits the public by securing a healthier and safer environment for themselves and their children. It benefits individuals, firms and others in the regulated community by ensuring a level playing field governed by clear rules applied in a fair and consistent manner. Economically, firms meeting or exceeding environmental standards regularly build customer loyalty, increase efficiency, and enhance their profits. Countries benefit by creating a predictable investment climate based on the rule of law thereby promoting economic development. And through strengthening compliance with international obligations, countries ensure that multilateral environmental agreements are implemented by all parties through effective domestic action.

2. Closing the implementation gap

Closing the implementation gap will require building the capacity of countries to enforce domestic laws and multilateral environmental agreements. Even the best designed rules may still pose difficulties to those who lack technical, financial, or administrative capacity. Securing compliance therefore calls for renewed efforts to raise awareness of the law, to strengthen compliance assistance programs, and to enhance incentives for compliance. Efforts at the national level must be designed to address the needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises, and, at the international level, the needs of the least developed and developing countries. International institutions and donors have a particular role to play in supporting these efforts.

d) Specific cooperation mechanisms, partnership arrangements and other implementation tools and the time frame for their implementation

Trans-governmental Networks Advance Cooperation for Sustainable Development

Cooperation among government officials help create a level playing field for regulated industries domestically and internationally, resolve and prevent transboundary environmental problems, respond to environmental crimes, create efficiencies in the development of tools and programs, and foster the political will needed to strengthen implementation of environmental standards.

Operating as transgovernmental networks focused on environmental compliance and enforcement, the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement and its regional and topical networks provide the forums and mechanisms that enable direct interaction among and between domestic officials, international institutions, and private actors. The Rio+20 process should recognize the role of transgovernmental networks in improving compliance with and enforcement and implementation of environmental law.

Strengthening environmental compliance and enforcement requires renewed efforts by individuals and institutions everywhere. Government officials, particularly inspectors, investigators, and prosecutors, must exercise public authority in trust for all of their citizens according to the standards of good governance and with a view to protecting and improving public well-being and conserving the environment. Legislators play a key role in creating legislation that can be effectively enforced to achieve its goals. The judiciary has a fundamental contribution to make in upholding the rule of law and ensuring that national and international laws are interpreted and applied fairly, efficiently, and effectively.

The regulated community and the public have a responsibility to comply with the letter and spirit of the law and to encourage compliance by others. Non-governmental organizations play a leading role in public education and assisting enforcement agencies. The media has a responsibility to raise public awareness by providing objective analysis and information about environmental challenges and efforts to address them. The international community, including donors and international organizations, has a responsibility to strengthen domestic efforts through capacity building, technical and financial support, and by promoting an enabling environment for more effective compliance and enforcement.

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