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Environmental Rule of Law and the Critical Role of Courts in Achieving Sustainability in Water Resources (Introduction to Judges’ Reflections for the 8th World Water Forum)

March 2018

Citation: 48 ELR 10208

Issue: 3

Author: Scott Fulton and Antonio Herman Benjamin

This year’s 8th World Water Forum in Brazil—the largest gathering on this subject, held every three years—will for the first time bring judges and prosecutors together with policymakers from around the world to discuss the precarious state of freshwater resources and the importance of rule of law in achieving water resource objectives. Recognizing this, the Environmental Law Institute, in collaboration with the Global Judicial Institute for the Environment and the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Commission on Environmental Law, is dedicating this section of this issue of the Environmental Law Reporter to marking the symbolic and reflective importance of the role of the judiciary in achieving water justice and ecological sustainability. The Comments we present here—all written by practicing senior judges—speak to the legal and scientific complexity involved in adjudication of water controversies in different jurisdictions, the criticality of rule of law in protecting and maintaining water resources, the central role of the courts in advancing environmental rule of law, and the approaches judges are taking in their effort to fulfill this role.

Scott Fulton is President of the Environmental Law Institute, was formerly General Counsel and an Administrative Appeals Judge at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and serves as a member of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Advisory Council on Environmental Justice. Antonio Herman Benjamin is a Justice at the National High Court of Brazil, Chair of the World Commission on Environmental Law of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and Secretary General of the UNEP International Advisory Council for Environmental Justice.

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