The Asia Pacific is the largest and fastest growing region in the world. Implementation of environmental commitments and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals1 in this dynamic and diverse region requires effective laws that are adequately implemented and enforced by strong institutions and other stakeholders. The United Nations Environment Programme (
2 Climate Change: ‘Climate-Proofing’ Legal Frameworks
Implementing the Paris Agreement3 will require countries to urgently strengthen legal frameworks relevant to climate change. Many countries have identified this as a priority for the region as well as nationally, as evidenced in their Nationally Determined Contributions, National Adaptation Plans, and/or other national climate change strategies. Private sector actors also need clear and coherent regulatory environmental laws that are impartially and transparently enforced. This is essential to support investments in renewable energy projects, energy efficiency initiatives, and adaptation and disaster reduction projects, amongst others. Such frameworks facilitate coordinated responses to climate hazards and disasters, and are also needed to meet and implement national commitments and goals under other instruments such as the Kigali Amendment4 to the Montreal Protocol,5 the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (Samoa Pathway),6 and the
3 Illegal Trade in Wildlife: Strengthening Laws to Combat Wildlife Crime
Wildlife crime transcends national borders, with Africa and the Asia Pacific being especially linked. Organized crime networks operating within and across these two regions routinely exploit gaps and discrepancies in national wildlife, forestry, criminal and other laws. Challenges include, but are not limited to, inadequate criminal penalties in some jurisdictions, different definitions of ‘wildlife’ that may exclude non-native species, absence of whistle-blower and witness protection laws, weak criminal laws that do not extend to ‘attempted offences’ or ‘participation’ in these offences, and do not prohibit the possession and sale of illegally obtained wildlife specimens and products, and failure to designate wildlife crime as a predicate (underlying) offence in anti-money laundering legislation. In addition, countries within and across the two regions have sometimes experienced challenges from absent or inadequate bilateral agreements or arrangements to facilitate cross-border enforcement efforts, including in the areas of mutual legal assistance and extradition arrangements.
4 Pollution Law: Combating the Illegal Trade in Chemicals and Waste
The illegal trade in hazardous wastes and harmful chemicals into and within Asia has significant and negative impacts on human health and the environment. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste and chemicals falling within the scope of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are illegally transported into Asia, which has for many years been one of the world’s ‘dumping grounds’ for such materials. New trends are emerging, including the growth of illegal waste trade within Asian countries. Uneven regulatory landscapes are also raising enforcement challenges, with policy leadership given by some countries and not by others.
A significant activity by
5 New Partnerships in 2017 and Beyond
There are 41 countries geographically served by
Paris Agreement (Paris) (adopted 12 December 2015, entered into force 4 November 2016)
Twenty-Eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Decision xxviii/1), ‘Further Amendment of the Montreal Protocol’ (10–14 October 2016) C.N.872.2016.
Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal) (adopted on 16 September 1987, entered into force 1 January 1989) 1522
Association of South East Asian Nations Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (Vientiane) (adopted on 26 July 2005, 24 December 2009) <http://agreement.asean.org/media/download/20140119170000.pdf> accessed 6 October 2017.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (New York) (adopted 9 May 1992, entered into force 21 March 1994) 31