March 14-16, 2016
Background of workshop: African nations have seen rapid political change post 1950s and 60s. This on one hand has resulted in the nation building but at the same time has put huge pressure on the environment. The environmental challenges resulted from a combination of the economic challenges and natural hazards such as drought and desertification.
In order to ensure the economic development first, a lot of emphasis was given on the industrial development, which includes large concessions on tax, flexibility to industries for the use of natural resources and so on. This has impacted the environment a lot, as industrialisation was perceived as engine and indicator of development.
Sitting of industries was largely governed by political consideration; however there was hardly any law for management of water quality and hazardous waste resulted from industrial operation except their passing mention under worker safety regulation in the Mining Act or any other Acts on natural resources. Throughout Africa what existed were Public Health Acts which was focused on mosquitoes control, general sanitation and provision of potable water.
Given this background the need for ensuring environmental compliance and enforcement is call of the hour, as otherwise the environmental degradation down the years will become irreversible and irreparable.
The decision to create environmental compliance and enforcement programme in Africa is a very recent and on-going initiative, starting from 1972 Stockholm Conference on Human Environment. Ghana created an Environmental Protection Council in 1974, the initiative till then remained dormant all over Africa until 1987. However, from 1987 to date, tremendous progress has been made in the establishment and enhancement of environmental compliance and enforcement programs in Africa.
This has been clubbed with ongoing and increasing mass awareness about the environmental issues and its implications on human health; increasing critic of government inaction and public, media and NGO all across the globe; past experience of some countries in dealing with toxic waste dumping; emergence of various global convention and last but not the least funding mechanism under Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Though there is advancement that has been experienced, there is still a long way to go, as all the nations are still facing some challenges which are very similar when talking about the environmental compliance and enforcement. Some of the criticality that comes into place includes
Funding: Securing fund is a problem for many of the African regulatory agencies. To overcome, regulatory agencies have started charging for inspection, auditing fees etc. Countries like Nigeria are thinking of establishing Ecofund along the line of SUPERFUND in USA.
Staffing and technical capacity: Lack of manpower and limited opportunity for capacity building programme
Infrastructure: Lack of supportive infrastructure and technology for addressing water pollution, air pollution, hazardous waste treatment etc are some of the challenges with which countries are always suffering
Availability of legal/economic instruments for enforcement: Countries are not proactive but reactive in nature. In most of the cases, legal/economic instruments are results of some or other incidence that had already taken place.
Environment vs Political interference: Prioritization of environmental problems and polluting industries most of the times fade away and get influenced by political interference
Inspection approach: Funding and staffing limitations makes regular inspection difficult
With this situation in place, Centre for Science and Environment is organising an experience sharing workshop on compliance monitoring and enforcement, wherein the participants from various African nations will be attending.
Since, the extent of problem and successfully running best practices vary from one country to another, it is expected that a cross country learning platform will be developed through this workshop.
At the end of three days, an Asia-Africa network on compliance monitoring and enforcement will be developed;
Knowledge exchange between each country;
CSE will develop country specific next course of action, after discussion with individual country representative attending the programme.
The action can be need based and issue specific training and capacity building programme; assisting in developing inspection manual and enforcement protocol for regulatory officials.
"Call for Paper Presentation"
If anyone is interested in presenting your research paper on the environmental compliance issue, kindly send your paper to Kankana Das.
Email id: firstname.lastname@example.org