ILA Environmental Law

SEPTEMBER 2015

Climate-vulnerable Philippines is all set to take the center stage at the upcoming international climate change summit in December as it prepares to submit its ambitious climate action plan anytime soon to the United Nations. But various civil society groups clamor that the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) climate action plan must be “sincere, transparent, robust and transformative.”

DECEMBER 2015

On 12 December 2015, 195 countries made history when they agreed the first truly global international climate change agreement, marking a major milestone in a political process that has spanned decades. What is the significance of the agreement for the future of climate change mitigation efforts? NewClimate Institute reflects on the implications of the 2015 Paris Agreement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

APRIL 2016

Manila – The Philippines signed the landmark international climate agreement reached in Paris last December during a high-level signing ceremony held on April 22 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

MAY 2016

The adoption of the Paris Agreement represents a departure from the structure most international climate agreements have taken during the last 20+ years.

However, as with any change, there are likely to be growing pains. Many details regarding implementation measures remain left to be negotiated. The Paris Agreement’s key to success depends on hammering out the details to build a robust Transparency Mechanism

JULY 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, elected in June, is now backtracking on support for the deal, saying that he “will not honor” the proposed restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.

Duterte said this week he will not recognise the country’s commitment to the Paris pact supported by his predecessor, President Benigno Aquino III, as it would limit the country’s industrial growth.

FEBRUARY 2018

The Philippine Supreme Court, has been a staunch defender of our fragile ecosystem issuing the trailblazing “writ of kalikasan,” creating specialized Environmental Courts and Tribunals (ECT) and providing Temporary Environmental Protection Orders

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Wednesday said he would form a bureau to enforce environmental laws with the assistance of personnel from the military, police and National Bureau of Investigation, and government prosecutors.

MARCH 2019

Countries will discuss whether to commission a study of technologies to blunt the effects of climate change.

The United States joined Saudi Arabia to derail a U.N. resolution that sought to improve the world’s understanding of potential efforts to lace the sky with sunlight-reflecting aerosols or use carbon-catching fans.

FAO has marked the International Day of Forests by announcing two new forestry education initiatives that aim to raise awareness among children and young people on the sustainable use and conservation of forests.

The most comprehensive and rigorous assessment on the state of the environment completed by the UN in the last five years was published today, warning that damage to the planet is so dire that people’s health will be increasingly threatened unless urgent action is taken.

The City of Ormoc in Leyte province is on track to becoming a sustainable city as it continues to be a leader in clean energy and climate change mitigation.

World leaders have resoundingly failed in their duty to take action on the escalating plastics pollution crisis, said WWF today, as the Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) ended without meaningful policy decisions on tackling marine plastic pollution.

With the threats of plastic pollution and loss of nature plaguing the planet, thousands gathered at Circuit Event Grounds in Makati to participate in the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines’ Earth Hour switch-off event.

Speaking at the United Nations high-level meeting on climate change and sustainability in New York on Friday, [Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro] Locsin Jr. noted that the impact of climate change is as bad as anticipated and faster than estimated.

Even if the world were to cut emissions in line with the existing Paris Agreement commitments, winter temperatures over the Arctic Ocean would rise 3-5°C by mid-century, finds a new report by UN Environment.

APRIL 2019

Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition said a new legal opinion said that Canada violated an international treaty with reference to the thousands of tons of garbage shipped to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 and is continuing to act illegally now by not taking back the wastes

Green Tax also termed as ecotax, environmental tax, carbon tax and pollution tax is levied on consumers or industries that directly or indirectly inflict damage to the environment. Revenues collected through Green Tax are utilized to fund projects and activities to offset the negative impact on environment brought about by these industries.

The IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL), in collaboration with UN Environment, the Organization of American States, and other Brazilian and international partners, is pleased to announce the 2nd World Environmental Law Congress.

MAY 2019

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have launched a USD 60 million project titled, ‘Contribution Toward the Elimination of Mercury in the Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining Sector: From Miners To Refiners.’ The project will help reduce harmful mercury emissions and protect the health and well-being of the millions of men, women and children working in the industry in Mongolia and the Philippines.

Joint Appeal from the UN System to the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés is pushing internal action as well as changes within the U.N.

One million plant and animal species are facing extinction due to human activities, with agriculture as one of the biggest threats to Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems. This summarises the findings of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

In 2015, the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represented an urgent call for action. Coming together, world leaders agreed upon a roadmap for future action, and the 17 SDGs established a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and planet, and the achievement of a better and more sustainable future for all. Four years on, the foundations for the attainment of these objectives are now being built, and infrastructure lies at the heart of this process.

UN Member States today called for increased investments in ecosystem-based solutions for disaster prevention. Healthy ecosystems play a crucial role in preventing environmental disasters and mitigate climate change as well as reducing their harmful impacts.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is calling on newly elected officials of local government units (LGUs) to prioritize the implementation of environmental laws, particularly on solid waste management.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 12 (Soccsksargen) has intensified its efforts to curb violations of environmental laws, in partnership with law enforcement units.

Two experts expect people’s health to further deteriorate if the environment continues to take a beating.

While calling for accountability for disasters wrought by climate change on poor nations, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte blasted United Nations (UN) climate conferences for doing nothing about the global problem.

JUNE 2019

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday said he would reject “all official participation” in climate change conferences that would require air travel.

The Group of 7 (G7) Environment Ministers agreed on a Communiqué and the Metz Charter on Biodiversity at the G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting. The Communiqué addresses inequalities and inclusivity in transitioning towards a green future, the role of science and research in the context of sustainable development, international mobilization and leadership for biodiversity, international mobilization for climate, concrete solutions for the environment and their co-benefits, resource and energy efficiency, concrete solutions for biodiversity and their co-benefits, and sustainable finance and biodiversity.

The Commission on Human Rights expressed hopes the government will remain active in climate change prevention despite the Department of Foreign Affairs’ decision to stop sending representatives to conferences abroad.

Despite his exhortation to officials not to attend climate change conferences abroad, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has clarified the country is not abandoning discussions on the matter altogether.

President Rodrigo Duterte again expressed displeasure over the United Nations’ (UN) climate change deal, this time calling it “favorable” only to rich nations and made poor countries look “foolish.”

The regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here has given all business establishment owners and households along the riverbanks in this town six months to comply with environmental laws or else, they will face sanctions

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday said he is rejecting all official Philippine participation in climate change conferences abroad as the country is poised to vote “yes” on radical proposals in support to the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Philippine jurisprudence on the environment has been on a steady pace of development since the 70’s and 80’s. It got a global boost when the famous case of Oposa vs Factoran came out in 1993. In it, the Philippine Supreme Court bravely and courageously gave standing to generations yet unborn – an argument from the creative legal mind of Atty. Antonio Oposa, Jr. Since then the Oposa case has been cited and replicated all over the world, more recently in on-going climate litigation cases such as the Juliana case in the US.

JULY 2019

The co-chairs of the of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on a global pact for the environment have forwarded the Working Group’s recommendations to the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The Group, established by the UNGA in 2018, held a series of meetings to consider possible gaps in international environmental law (IEL) and environment-related instruments with a view to strengthening their implementation. The resulting recommendations were agreed on 23 May 2019, and do not include the creation of a new international instrument.

On Thursday, the US government awarded local environment advocate, Mother Earth Foundation, and public interest network EcoWaste Coalition grants totaling some PHP20 million to support anti-marine debris projects the groups had committed to undertake in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte has called on Congress to fast track the creation of a department that will solely focus on disaster and climate change resilience plans and programs.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has stepped up its environmental protection campaign as it embarked into yet another high-profile battle against environmental abuse early this year after the controversial 2018 rehabilitation of world-famous tourist destination Boracay Island.

The UN, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) have announced the ‘Clean Air Initiative,’ which calls on national and subnational governments to commit to achieving air quality that is safe for citizens, and to align climate change and air pollution policies by 2030.

The Philippines is losing about P33.1 billion annually from the damaged reef ecosystems at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and the Spratly Islands mainly due to China’s reclamation activities and illegal fishing operations, according to Filipino marine scientists.

AUGUST 2019

Senator Win Gatchalian wants the Senate to look into the status of the Philippines’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and nationally determined contribution (NDC), to ensure that the country meets its promise to reduce at least 70% of its emissions by 2030.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the Supreme Court order imposing ₱1.8-billion fines against the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its concessionaires serves as a wake up call for big firms to pay serious attention and comply with environmental laws.

In its latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes how agriculture, deforestation, and other human activities have altered 70% of the land on Earth’s surface.

Lawyer Rose Liza Eisma-Osorio of the University of Cebu is the newly-elected chairperson of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law (IUCNAEL).

The text below is the author’s presentation delivered at Our City 2030: Youth Visions and Solutions, a youth forum co-organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines and Plan International Philippines in Quezon City..

The report provides several options for adaptation and mitigation responses, most prominent among them is sustainable land management.

SEPTEMBER 2019

As news of the Amazon forest fires reaches more and more people, Tropical Depression “Nimfa” leaves the Philippines. It is the 14th cyclone to hit the country this year as listed by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and was weakened by Luzon’s natural protective barrier: the Sierra Madre.

Hundreds of thousands of New York’s youth filled the streets of Manhattan on Friday afternoon, joining millions of people in global protests against climate change inaction.

Leaders from government, business, and civil society today are to announce potentially far-reaching steps to confront climate change at the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York.

Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heatwaves and risks to food security.

“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” Swedish climate activist [Greta Thunberg] told the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. “How dare you?”

In a few hours, a new United Nations report will be released to the world and, according to an expert, it will detail the ongoing devastating effects of climate change on oceans and vulnerable nations like the Philippines.

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte is not likely to lift the ban on open-pit mining — a method widely used by miners here and abroad — anytime soon, his spokesman said on Thursday last week.

Northern Panay in the Philippines’ Visayas island will be the first region in the country to benefit from a climate knowledge-sharing, support and advocacy consortium of national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and higher education institutions (HEIs).

Harassment, death threats, kidnapping. It’s not easy campaigning for renewable energy in Southeast Asia. Eco-Business asked activists in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam about the challenges they face fighting for a clean energy future.

The 17th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law brought together participants from all over the world to discuss current international, comparative, national, and local environmental law issues.

OCTOBER 2019

Businesses, world leaders, communities, youth activists and other stakeholders came together in New York, US, for Climate Week NYC 2019 to discuss, catalyze and demand greater climate action. More than 350 events took place throughout the Week in 11 categories.

On 27 September 2019, a 2017 opinion by the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) Ethics Specialist Group was reposted in the news section of the IUCN website, and was misconstrued as a new IUCN report by many. The document is not a new IUCN report, but in fact one of several positions presented to the IUCN Council in November 2017 for its deliberations on the admission of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) as an IUCN Member

NOVEMBER 2019

US and Philippine military personnel, local government representatives, non-governmental organizations, and local residents partnered together for a second time to install artificial habitat reefs in Maragondon, Cavite, on October 8, 2019.

Southeast Asian countries, among the world’s worst ocean polluters, need tougher regulations for plastic packaging to curb leakage, a United Nations report said on Wednesday.

The European Union (EU) has launched the civil society component of a 24 million EUR (about 26 million USD) programme to support Sustainable Use of Peatland and Haze Mitigation in ASEAN (SUPA).

The Philippines will be sending a small delegation to the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) which will be held in Madrid, Spain next month, according to an official of the Climate Change Commission.

The visiting envoy of the European Union (EU) to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Tuesday expressed support to the agenda of the regional bloc to protect and preserve biodiversity amid challenges and threats of environmental degradation and climate change.

A seminar in Manila last Friday (Nov 22) heard how reclamation work carried out by China in the South China Sea while the Philippines sat through a lengthy and costly arbitration hearing has caused extensive damage that extends to global ecosystems.

Although fossil fuels are the single biggest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, coal continues to be supported by both the government and businesses in the Philippines.

DECEMBER 2019

The UN Secretary-General has outlined the “increased ambition and commitment” that the world needs from governments during the coming days of the COP25 UN climate change conference which opens in Madrid on Monday, calling for “accountability, responsibility and leadership” to end the global climate crisis.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is finalizing an order that will impose a nationwide ban on single-use plastics to help address the problem brought about by plastic pollution, officials said.

Euro 6-compliant modern jeepneys will soon ply the streets of Metro Manila after a transport group expressed its plan to roll out at least 500 of these environment-friendly vehicles in the first half of 2020.

While the latest UN Climate Change Conference was taking place in Madrid, smog returned to Bangkok last week with PM2.5 dust exceeding safe levels in some areas. Face masks were back in fashion, while children, pregnant women and the elderly were advised to avoid outdoor activities.

JANUARY 2020

Over the past year, growing environmental threats in Asia have had much to do with water—most importantly rising seas driven by global warming. Southeast Asia is proving to be particularly vulnerable.

Palau is setting the environmental protection bar high for other countries as it kicks off the new year, implementing a ban on “reef-toxic” sunscreens.

The globe-spanning strategy, involving up to US$8.5 trillion in investments spread across more than 80 economies, also poses a number of potential environmental impacts and could threaten biodiversity, which is of particular concern for China’s neighbours in Southeast Asia.

FEBRUARY 2020

A report by the Ocean Conservancy in 2017 named four ASEAN countries among the top plastic polluters in the world –namely Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines

The Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) commended the rescue of pangolins, and other threatened species, in Palawan and South Cotabato in the Philippines, citing the role of communities in combatting wildlife trafficking.

National and field officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) gathered recently here for a strategic planning workshop in order to review, assess and set policy directions for the proposed bill on the creation of an Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB).

MARCH 2020

The numbers are startling — some 900,000 pangolins are trafficked globally from 2000-2019 with significant proportions linked to Southeast Asia; over 225 tonnes of African Elephant ivory seized in Southeast Asia from 2008-2018 and 100,000 Pig-nosed Turtles seized in Indonesia from 2003-2019, and so much more.

A review of waste trade-related policies in the Philippines

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) bared on Wednesday that Philippine ships plying foreign routes are compliant with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 standard on sulfur emissions.

Australian scientists on Wednesday revealed the latest details about the impact of human activities on regional Southeast Asian coral reefs, looking at how those combined with large-scale environmental pressures to affect the major marine ecosystems

APRIL 2020

It was reported that nearly 900,000 pangolins are believed to have been trafficked across Southeast Asia in the last 20 years. As the world is currently battling the coronavirus pandemic which some experts claim may have been passed on to humans from pangolins; conservationists are calling for a global ban on wildlife trading.