Dialogue Conference Legal Remedies for Resource Equity: Legal instruments for an environmental friendly and socialy acceptable exploitation and use of natural resources

In a one-week international dialogue-conference, participants from 38 countries elaborated on possibilities to utilize legal instruments and participation to reach more justice in the context of resource protection. Among the participants were persons from every continent (except Australia). UfU (department environmental law & participation) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation prepared and designed this year’s conference. For UfU, this conference was not only a great honour but it was also content-wise a highlight to discuss world-wide aspects of participation and legal protection. More than 130 participants took part in the opening event in Berlin entitled “Legal Remedies for Resource Equity”, which utilized formats intended to stimulate participation such as “fish-bowl” and “market-place”. The opening conference was followed by a three days networking and training meeting of international environmental lawyers and activists from the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW). For the first time in its history, the network convened in Germany.

At the opening conference on the 15th of September 2014 in Berlin, the world-wide renowned environmental lawyer M.C. Mehta from India called in his key-note for the establishment of an international environmental court in order to effectively address the many cases of cross-border environmental damage. The conference speakers were, furthermore, able to illustrate that it is despite many violations of environmental law possible to achieve improvements through civil-societal engagement and environmental instruments. The case studies from countries such as Kenya, Malaysia, Panama, India, Guatemala, Mexico, China and the Ukraine were further detailed on posters and demonstrated the various dimensions of legal conflicts. Barbara Unmüßig, who was a key-note speaker as well and serves as the Executive Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, emphasized in her speech how dangerous can be to actively oppose international corporations and the interests of national governments. According to a study of a British NGO, several hundred people have died world-wide alone in conflicts concerning land-use-rights since 2002.

The dialogue-conference took place in Berlin and Lenzen/Brandenbug.

The Indian environmental lawyer M.C. Mehta was one of the keynote-speakers during the opening-conference. The founder of the Indian Environmental Court has received, among other honours, the Goldman Environmental Prize and the UNEP Global 500 Award.