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MAT. No. 2080529


October 2010


The environmental law and principles to be discussed in this Assignment includes:

Sustainable development

Polluter Pay Principle

Precautionary Measures

Institutional and legal framework and Multi Environmental Agreements (MEA) in the Gambia

I        Introduction

In the 1970s and 80s Gambia developed a relatively active body of environmental legislation and according to the State of the Environment Report, the Banjul declaration of 1977 called for action to address environment and natural resources management in The Gambia. The enactment of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) by government in 1987 and the establishment of the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC provided the legal framework for environmental planning, management and development.  This institutional arrangement led to the participatory approach in the preparation in the Gambia National Action Plan phase I and II which provides for the implementation of the international environmental and natural resources management-related conventions to which Gambia is a party to.  This will be discussed later.

The 9th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) held in Kampala, Uganda, in July 2002 recognizes that some African countries had constrains in effective environmental management and planning and also the implementation major international environmental agreements due to the lack of adequate and relevant environmental information and data.

Due to population increases and the setting of urban centres, there has been a corresponding increase in demand for resources such as forest, water and other natural resources in the Gambia.  Studies have indicated that there have been a decline in the state of the natural resources, to address this situation in the country,  the government has identified a wide variety of principles and targets, including sector specific goals and measures taken to meet its commitments and attain its desired goal at all levels. To achieved the long term goals in order to protect the environment and ensure sustainable development and management of the natural resources, specific operational objectives have been established in relation to capacity building, public awareness, legal , international collaboration and cooperation, policies etc.

II        Sustainable development is defined by the Brundtland Commission as: “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable—to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It goal is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life, without compromising the quality of life of future generations.

  • the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."

This definition is creatively ambiguous and has led many to see sustainable development as having a major focus on intergenerational equity. The definition does not explicitly mention the environment or development.

The three pillars of sustainable development are: economic, social, and environmental and the Johannesburg Declaration created “a collective responsibility to advance and strengthen the interdependent and mutually reinforcing the pillars. Declaration created “a collective responsibility to advance and strengthen the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development.

Other ways to define sustainable development includes:

  • what it specifically seeks to achieve and still another way to define sustainable development is in how it is measured
  • Another mode of defining sustainable development is through the values that represent or support sustainable development.
  • and in many ways, most importantly—sustainable development is defined in practice which includes, establishing goals, creating indicators, and asserting values, developing social movements, organizing institutions, etc

III        The Polluter Pays Principle (PPP) is an environmental policy principle which requires that the costs of pollution be borne by those who cause it. It aims at determining how the costs of pollution prevention and control must be allocated: the polluter must pay.

Its immediate goal is that of internalizing the environmental externalities of economic activities, so that the prices of goods and services fully reflect the costs of production.  Bugge (1996) has identified four versions of the PPP: economically, it promotes efficiency; legally, it promotes justice; it promotes harmonization of international environmental policies; it defines how to allocate costs within a State. Section 39 of the NEMA makes provision for the prohibition of pollution and section 39(3)(a) require a person to pay the full cost of cleaning the environment in addition to subsection (2) of the Act.

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Section  39.        (1)        No person shall pollute or permit any other person to excess of any standards or guidelines established under section 28.

        (2)        A person who pollutes or permits any other person to pollute the environment in excess of any standards and guidelines established under this Act commits a offence.

        (3)        In addition to any sentence that may be imposed upon a polluter under sub-section

                (2) the Court shall require such person.

        (a)        to pay the full cost of cleaning up the environment and of removing the effects of the pollution; or

                        (b)        to clean up the environment and remove the effects of the ...

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