In June, the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), in partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Netherland’s Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, and other member countries, held its 9th International Conference entitled “Enforcement Cooperation: Strengthening Environmental Governance,” in Whistler Canada
The conference hosted more than150 environmental compliance and enforcement experts from over 50 countries to identify new actions to promote enforcement cooperation to combat environmental crime and support the shift to sustainable development and a green economy.
Lisa Jackson, the Administrator of the US EPA opened the conference with the following remarks: “We all know that environmental challenges don’t stop at our borders – and for that reason, neither can our efforts to ensure environmental and health safeguards. INECE’s collaborations with organizations across the globe are instrumental in strengthening our individual enforcement and compliance efforts and expanding effective environmental governance around the world.”
INECE is a global leader and partner in international cooperation efforts to keep our communities safe from environmental crimes. INECE Conferences, which are held once every three years, provide a unique forum for building capacity for compliance promotion and strengthening enforcement cooperation among government environmental protection agencies and other key stakeholders from international institutions
John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and Ignacia Moreno Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice, also addressed the conference. They stressed the importance of strong national institutions to assure compliance with and enforcement of international agreements on the environment. Moreno cited one example of a joint investigation between the US, Canada, and Interpol of the Overseas Shipbuilding Group for violations of MARPOL, which led to a $37 million criminal penalty.
“The reason we can drink our water and breathe our air is because we have dedicated compliance and enforcement professionals working tirelessly around the world to protect the environment,” said Durwood Zaelke, Director of the INECE Secretariat.
Catherine McCabe, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the US EPA and Co-Chair of INECE emphasized that, “Every environmental law, policy and regulation – both at the national and international level – is only as strong as its actual implementation. If compliance and enforcement of environmental requirements are lacking, the environment and health of our people is put at risk. Collaboration between law enforcement disciplines at all levels is essential to ensure that laws provide effective protection of public health and the environment.”
Ken Markowitz, Managing Director of INECE stressed, “Compliance with domestic laws and policies forms the critical foundation for achieving the objectives of our international environmental agreements to protect our climate, lands, oceans and biodiversity.”
Chief Gibby Jacob, hereditary Chief of the Squamish Nation and Justice Antonio Benjamin of the High Court of Brazil, a leader in the field of environmental compliance and enforcement, welcomed the participants and, both spoke of the importance of partnership and working together around our shared and common values.
The conference provided recommendations to advance the role of environmental compliance and enforcement in achieving sustainable development objectives as part of the preparatory work for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20.
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© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.