Volume 1

A. Damodaran

Re-Engineering Biosafety Regulations in India: Towards a Critique of Policy, Law and Prescriptions

This article surveys the structure and essence of India’s biosafety regulations from an evolutionary perspective. After detailing the processes associated with the biosafety law and guidelines in the country, this article looks critically at recent efforts to re-engineer the regulations. It is argued that India’s biosafety regulations should move towards a more inclusive approach, which will facilitate transparent and informed decision-making, based on stakeholder-convergence. It is also suggested that the entire spectrum of laws and regulations that have a direct or indirect bearing on biosafety in India, need to be explored so that greater coherence could be secured in the management of biotechnology products that are sensitive to the environment. Drawing from the experience of the Bt cotton case, the article advocates a greater role for civil society and grassroots organizations.

Hamudi I. Majamba

An Assessment of the Framework Environmental Law of Zanzibar

This paper assesses the Environmental Management for Sustainable Development Act of Zanzibar that came into force in 1996 but whose implementation and enforcement has been impeded by a number of factors. It provides a background analysis of the evolution of the Act from its early development stages. The background provides, in part, a basis for the argument that the difficulty encountered in effectively implementing the Act is partly attributed to its evolutionary history. An assessment of the institutional framework and mandates that have been put in place, the enforcement mechanism and the role of local communities, in the wake of the mushrooming of private investment, is also made.

On the one hand, the paper notes that the Act has been to some extent a welcome development in the body of environmental management laws in the region and provides an important guide for improving or developing comprehensive legislation related to environmental management and conservation. On the other hand, the paper details some of the problems encountered or likely to be met in its implementation. Recommendations, which would be useful for jurisdictions in the region in endeavours to tailor comparable provisions of their legislation and avoid pitfalls in efforts to manage environmental resources sustainably, are provided. It is hoped that this appraisal will shed some light on an extremely important piece of legislation, which is unfortunately neither known nor accessible to a multitude of stakeholders and ordinary people within the isles itself, on Tanzania Mainland, within the region and the world.

Samuel Assembe Mvondo

Decentralisation of Forest Resources and Environmental Justice: An Analysis of Empirical Evidence from South Cameroon

Environmental justice is doubtless one of the key objectives of any process relating to the decentralised management of natural resources. The Cameroonian decentralisation model of forest resources currently under construction does not stray away from this logical desire to promote distributive justice in intra-community resources. Indeed, the provisions laid out in the 1994 forest law, reflecting multilateral environmental theory and standards, now offer communities three different types of approaches to deal with local management: communal forests, community forests, forest royalty. Yet, the evaluation and empirical analysis of this Cameroonian model of transfer of power and responsibility of the local management of forests, highlight both a number of legal, political and material achievements, as well as perverse social effects that go against the concept of environmental justice.

Aphrodite Smagadi

National Measures on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing – The Case of the Philippines

The objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity stipulated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) was not merely to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources, but to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation. The Convention stresses the sovereignty that signatory states exert over the biological wealth within their jurisdiction and calls on them to enact national legislation that will contribute to fleshing out the provisions on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing. The Philippines was the first country to enact such legislation and has thus accrued a decade of experience in this field. The first and much-analysed access and benefit sharing instrument enacted by the Government of the Philippines, was Executive Order 247 of 1995. However, due to problems experienced during the implementation of the Order, draft guidelines based on the 2001 Implementing Rules to the Wildlife Act have been drafted and are expected to correct the failures of the previous law. This article takes the example of the Philippines to assess the extent to which laws regulating the access and benefit sharing of biological resources can be effective in any country.


World Bank In Jharkhand – Accountability Mechanisms and Indigenous Peoples

by Xavier Dias

Over the past two decades, indigenous people all around the world have brought to public attention the many violations of their cultural heritage and political rights caused by World Bank funded projects. In numerous memorandums they have affirmed that the destruction to their homelands is a threat to their very survival. As a remedial measure the World Bank set up its own accountability mechanism known as the Inspection Panel. It was meant to serve as a means of creating change in the way human and environmental factors are dealt with in World Bank funded projects.

Corporations too responded with the new idea of “Business Partners” where, partnership, engagement and codes of conduct would bring in better “corporate social responsibility”. Structural and behavioural changes were promised in the way corporations run our planet. The centrepiece of these initiatives expounds a win-win theory, where industry and affected communities can be partners in sustainable development…

Selected documents

Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act, 2005

Zanzibar Environmental Management for Sustainable Development Act, 1996