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Lawyers decry lax enforcement of Asia environmental laws

[JURIST] Lawyers and activists from 38 Asian Pacific countries meeting Monday at the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Environmental Justice and Enforcement [press release] in Bangkok, Thailand, criticized lax enforcement of environmental laws throughout Asia, saying that governments have ignored enforcement in favor of promoting economic development. Attending environmental lawyers also blamed corruption and ignorance for hampering anti-pollution efforts, noting that many local courts are not even aware that environmental laws exist or do not understand the importance of enforcing them. AP has more.

Pollution is a growing concern in Asia, where many countries are beginning to see the environmental effects of unrestricted industrial growth. In 2006, the first Asia-Pacific Development and Climate Partnership Ministerial Meeting [backgrounder; JURIST report] convened in Sydney, Australia, bringing representatives from the US, Australia, Japan, China, South Korea and India together to set up projects to create emissions reduction technology and promote the transfer of that technology between the nations. The US and Australian governments said at the time that this partnership between the six nations would be better and more effective in reducing global air pollution than the Kyoto Protocol [text], which the US and Australia had not ratified and which does not obligate China or India to reduce emissions. In 2007, Asian and European countries agreed to set new international emissions standards [JURIST report] by 2009 after a two-day conference in Hamburg, Germany that included representatives from over 40 nations.

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