From November 15-18, 2013, the Third Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Chief Justices Roundtable on the Environment met in Bangkok, Thailand providing an opportunity for the region’s Chief Justices and senior judiciary to come together and share experiences and consider ways they can collaborate to enforce and even shape effective environmental law for the region.  Legal responses to cross border threats from climate change, pollution, deforestation and the illegal trade in wildlife and timber were at the top of the agenda.

As well as looking at the role the judiciaries can play in protecting and preserving shared natural resources, the roundtable considered issues such as access to environmental justice, the application of interim relief measures and alternative disputes resolution mechanisms in environmental cases, and the enforcement and execution of court orders.  Thorny questions like how the courts could or should respond to climate change-related disputes, and how judiciaries can collaborate and build international links to respond to illegal logging, wildlife poaching, and pollution were on the agenda.

The meeting provided a path for future opportunities for judicial cooperation, which will be considered at the upcoming Second Asian Judges Symposium (AJS) to be held at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in Manila on December 3-5, 2013. The USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) Program implemented by Freeland, with partners from the U.S. Court, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are formal collaborating partners to the upcoming AJS in Manila.

ARREST Partners, ASEAN-WEN and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) led sessions on biodiversity and illegal wildlife trade at the Third ASEAN Chief Justices Roundtable on the Environment which was hosted by the Supreme Administrative Court of Thailand.

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update