About the Asian Judges Network on Environment (AJNE)

Overview

The AJNE is an information and experience sharing arrangement among senior judges of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). This informal trans-governmental network is committed to providing a dynamic forum for judicial capacity building and multilateral exchanges on environmental adjudication.

History

ADB has been working with the judiciaries across Asia on a program on environment to strengthen the capacity of the judiciary to decide environmental cases and to develop expertise in environmental law.

Under this program, ADB hosted the Asian Judges Symposium in 2010, which was co-hosted by the Chief Justice of the Philippines. Around 120 senior judges, environment ministry officials, members of civil society, and experts in environmental law discussed ways to promote environment protection through effective environmental adjudication and law enforcement. At the Symposium, judges called for the creation of an Asian Judges Network on Environment. They expressed enthusiasm for an informal trans-governmental network that would foster closer ties among members over shared issues and challenge and ultimately, facilitate judicial capacity-building through sustained multilateral exchanges.  

The first ASEAN Chief Justices’ Roundtable was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in December 2011, which resulted in the adoption of a Common Vision on Environment for ASEAN Judiciaries. The Supreme Court of Malaysia also sponsored the 2nd ASEAN Roundtable, which was convened in December 2012. The 3rd ASEAN Roundtable was held in Thailand in November and hosted by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court of Thailand while the Supreme Peoples’ Court of Viet Nam agreed to host the 4th ASEAN Roundtable in 2014. Chief Justices and senior judiciary participated in all of the ASEAN events, discussing shared experiences on illegal forestry and deforestation, biodiversity and the wildlife trade, and illegal, unsustainable and unregulated fishing. The South Asia Conference on Environmental Justice was held in Bhurban, Pakistan in March 2012, which resulted in the adoption of the Bhurban Declaration 2012 and the agreement to continue convening the roundtable. The second South Asia, Chief Justices’ Roundtable was hosted by Bhutan on August 2013.  In these events, Chief Justices and Senior Judiciary have become aware of, and increasingly concerned about, the environment in general, and wildlife trade in particular. They have observed the importance of the illegal wildlife, forestry and fishery trades as transnational organized crimes that the judiciary and legal profession must contribute to ending and doing more about.

Development Partner

The AJNE is supported by the Asian Development Bank, which continues to provide technical expertise, institutional support and financial assistance to the AJNE and by hosting the website, facilitating face to face meetings; facilitating the Chief Justices Roundtable on the Environment, and supporting national projects with member judiciaries.