Kenya’s judiciary will host the Third Regional Symposium on Greening the Judiciaries in Africa for three days in Nairobi in early April.
The symposium will seek to deliberate on climate change on the continent, its impact and the role that courts can play.
According to the Judiciary, the symposium which is set to be opened by President William Ruto on April 3, will bring together a number of regional minds from within the legal fraternity.
“It will be attended by more than 30 Chief Justices, judges, experts and scholars, among others,” the Judiciary said.
Judiciary added that alongside the symposium, the 3rd Chief Justices Forum on Environmental Law, and the 3rd General Conference of the Africa Judicial Education Network on Environmental Law (AJENEL) will also take place.
The Conference will revolve around the theme: "Strengthening the Role of Judiciaries in Addressing Climate Change in Africa." It will be attended by more than 30 Chief Justices, judges, experts and scholars, among others. pic.twitter.com/bwddlq6TAO
— The Judiciary Kenya (@Kenyajudiciary) March 29, 2023
Developing a framework for climate change adjudication in Africa
Originally meant to be held in December 2020, the Symposium was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Discussions at the conference will revolve around the theme: “Strengthening the Role of Judiciaries in Addressing Climate Change in Africa.”
According to a concept note of the postponed symposium of 2020, the gathering listed its proposed objectives as,
i. Identify opportunities and measures for promoting climate change related adjudication in Africa;
ii. Share experiences, challenges, innovations and prospects in climate change-related adjudication;
iii. Evaluate progress made in integrating environmental matters in judicial education;
iv. Provide a basis and progression to build on for the 4th regional symposium.
Expected Outcomes of the symposium, according to the 2020 concept note, were;
i. A programme on climate change related adjudication for judiciaries in Africa;
ii. An understanding of emerging trends and innovative approaches to climate change adjudication and commitment to continue upholding the rule of law in climate change matters;
iii. An evaluation of the progress made in integrating environmental matters in judicial education.
The third of its kind, the Regional Symposium on Greening of Judiciaries in Africa was first held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2017. The symposium sought to have a “Colloquium on Integrating Environmental Law Training into Judicial Curricula in Africa.”
The delegates in attendance from 21 countries — 18 from African nations and three from Asia — signed the Johannesburg Plan of Action on Judicial Education on Environmental Law in Africa.
In 2018, a second symposium was held in Maputo, Mozambique, under the banner; “Greening the Judiciary in Africa: A Move to Sustainable Capacity Building.” It saw delegates from over 45 countries attend.
Eventually, 37 African countries signed the Maputo Declaration on Greening Judiciaries in Africa.
During the Second Symposium in 2018, delegates agreed to hold biennial sessions, with then Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga agreeing to host the next session.
Having not been held in 2020, the 2023 symposium will be the first since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
[Cover Image: Kenya Judiciary/Twitter]