East African Court of Justice, 6th April 2023: The Judge President of the East African Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera participated in the 3rd Regional Symposium on Greening Judiciaries in Africa which, was held in Nairobi, Kenya from 3rd to 5th April 2023.
The 3rd Symposium was anchored on the role of the courts in combating climate change and its impacts in Africa. It was intended to provide actionable policy direction from heads of judiciaries and judicial training institutes across African on the enhancement of environmental justice, particularly in disputes arising from climate change and its impacts. The Symposium preceded the 3rd Chief Justices’ Forum on Environmental Law and the 3rd General Conference of the Africa Judicial Education Network on environmental Law (AJENEL)
The three-day conference under the Theme “Strengthening the Role of Judiciaries in Addressing Climate Change in Africa” was officially opened by H.E William Ruto the President of the Republic of Kenya, who called on the continent to make concerted efforts to win the war on climate change. He lauded the Judiciary of Kenya for taking a frontline position in confronting climate change, as it is Africa’s institutions and leadership that should drive the agenda of mitigating its effects. “Our judiciaries will determine whether Africa’s institutions exist and are ready to handle the immense mandates that a green future entails.”, he said.
He also said that two thirds of land in Africa is arable land. Africa is a very young continent with the youngest, youthful and vibrant population. President Ruto therefore called for realignment of International Finance systems and practices with the current situation in Africa, the need to enhance financial accountability, the Judiciary to ensure that decisions and legislations made address environmental issues in Africa, creative and imaginative prudence that will enhance positive environmental change. Africa has the potential to develop and more towards green industrial development. said the Kenyan President
On her part, the host Chief Justice of the Symposium, the Hon. Lady Justice Martha Koome, Chief Justice of the Republic Kenya said that, Judges have a unique responsibility to interpret and apply the Law in a manner that promotes environmental sustainability, social equity and inter-generational justice. She called upon all the Chief Justices and Judges present at the Conference to join hands in forging a united front against climate change leveraging their collective wisdom and expertise to develop a jurisprudence that is uniquely African and responsive the continent’s shared concerns.
The EACJ President Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera in his remarks, acknowledged that the Judiciary has been entrusted with Environmental Justice and therefore called upon the Judiciary to take charge in administering it. “By embracing environmental Justice, we should be able to mitigate the impact of climate change in Africa”. Said Justice Kayobera
His Lordship further informed the Conference that, Court has determined a number of land and environment-related disputes such as: compensation of purchasers deprived of land without due process (Niyongabo Theodore case); and the need to protect flora, fauna from the potential irreversible negative trans-boundary impacts of constructing a road in the famous Serengeti National Park in Tanzania which
shares an ecosystem with the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya (African Network for Animal Welfare case).
He finally applauded the Africa Judicial Education Network on Environmental Law Secretariat and all Development Partners for their commitment to the judicial environmental agenda and endeavoring since 2020 to ensure that East Africa hosts this important forum.
The Symposium preceded the 3rd Chief Justices’ Forum on Environmental Law and the 3rd General Conference of the Africa Judicial Education Network on environmental Law (AJENEL)
The Specific Objectives of the Symposium were:
· To Identify opportunities and measures for promoting climate change related adjudication in Africa
· To Share experiences, challenges, innovations and prospects in climate change-related adjudication
· Evaluate progress made in integrating environmental matters in Judicial education; and;
· Provide a basis and progression to build on for the 4th Symposium
The outcomes of the conference included;
· A programme on climate change related adjudication for judiciaries in Africa;
· An understanding of emerging trends and innovative approaches to climate change adjudication and commitment to continue upholding the rule of law in climate change matters
· An evaluation of the progress made in integrating environmental matters in judicial education
For more information please contact:
East African Court of Justice.