Top judges to gather for talks ahead of UN summit on sustainable development
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced plans to gather judges from across the world for talks this weekend on issues related to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), set to open on 26 August.
The Global Judges Symposium, believed to be the largest gathering ever of senior judges to discuss environmental and development issues, is scheduled to run from 18 to 20 August in Johannesburg, South Africa, which is also the site of the Summit. It will bring together judges from North America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, as well as those serving on the International Court of Justice and other international courts and tribunals.
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer stressed the need for a legal approach to tackling environmental problems. "We have over 500 international and regional agreements, treaties and deals covering everything from the protection of the ozone layer to the conservation of the oceans and seas," he observed, adding that virtually all countries also had national environmental laws. "But unless these are complied with, unless they are enforced, then they are little more than symbols, tokens, paper tigers," he said.
Mr. Toepfer expressed confidence that the Symposium "will give us an action plan that will see improvements for people not only in developing countries but for everyone, everywhere."