Welcome to the website of the Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment (iiee), New Delhi



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www.ecology.edu

Welcome to the website of the Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment (IIEE), New Delhi
Contact Point : Those interested in getting associated with the Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment may contact us at A 15, Paryavaran Complex, South of Saket, New Delhi – 110030, through our Email : ecology@ecology.edu, Phone : 011-29535053 / 29533830, Fax : 011-29533514.
IIEE Philosophy and Origins
The Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment, New Delhi was established on the occasion of the World Environment Day on 5th June 1980. The motivation for the establishment of this institution has been based on the issues of environmental education discussed in the deliberations at Founes in 1971 and later at Stockholm in 1972 followed by the workshop on Environmental Education at Belgred in 1975 and also on the resolutions and recommendations of the Intergovernmental Conference on Environment at Tbilisi in 1977 organised by UNEP and UNESCO. The Institute has been organising since its inception different programmes having social, educational, cultural, economic and positive content for the optimum development of a sustainable society. The Institute has provided training to more than fifty thousand persons in the areas of ecology, environment, pollution control, disaster management, sustainable development, ecological tourism and environmental education. Other programmes conducted by the institute include ecological education in more than 1000 schools of Delhi in collaboration with the Government of Delhi and Clean up Delhi Campaign in collaboration with different municipal bodies and more than 3600 environmental NGOs in India, publication of more than 150 books, occasional monographs and encyclopaedias. The 30 volume International Encyclopaedia of Ecology and Environment published by the institute has been procured by most of the universities and research organisations in India. The Institute has been pioneer in organising national and international congresses and conventions on environment. Between 1981 and 2014 more than 180 national and international congresses and conventions were organised including the famous 1992-2013. World Environment Congresses. The Institute has collaborated with many Indian and foreign universities for helping them to design the latest curriculum on environment at graduate and postgraduate levels. The Institute has implemented many programmes at the global level for making the world citizenry aware regarding the need to protect our mother earth. In this connection many workshops have been conducted by the institute in Sri Lanka, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Mongolia, Mauritius, USA, Tunisia, Russia, Poland, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, England, Nepal and The Netherlands. The Institute has conducted more than 3500 researches and consultancy assignments on different environment related topics. The institute has developed its own campus at Paryavaran Complex, New Delhi in the neighbourhood of Indira Gandhi National Open University on Saket Maidangarhi Marg in South Delhi and is equipped with computer centre, library, conference halls, class rooms, guest houses, administrative block and related infrastructure. The idea behind establishing the Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment (IIEE) in selected States of India is to reach the grassroot level with a view to implement the programme of "catch them young" by 2010 AD by reviving the planet ecologically through environmental policing of the global commons and setting up of a global environmental legislative wing, regeneration for eco-restoration of eco-fragile areas on the verge of irreversible decline, ecotone restoration of river systems as well as biodiversity for managing the third millennium and the twentyfirst century.
environmental governance in india

Catalytic Role of the Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment
If human society is to endure not for just another century but for thousands and thousands of years, we need to learn a way of life that could be sustained by the Mother Earth. Human society must learn to control population size and develop more efficient technologies that produce as little harmful waste as possible. We must learn to rely on resources that are renewable. A society based on these ideas is called a sustainable society.

We should long for having a sustainable world so profoundly different from the way we live which cannot be imagined without a strenuous exercise of mind. Like human body the Mother Earth has its organs that adjust to changes - in climate, nutrient levels and other aspects of the environment to maintain its stability. Just as the human organism is made of trillions of cells and so is the world organism; each of us is a cell of Gaia (Greek word for Mother Earth).

Changing our ways will be a colossal task which may involve arduous work but as an optimist we should view the third millennium with a cleaner and greener mind and pledge to work on new pollution control technologies as the answer to our polluted waters and skies by better treating our Mother Earth by not to rival nature but to cooperate with it and live in harmony.

We must guide the human race living in a historic transitional period of burgeoning awareness of the conflict between human Activities and environmental constraints, preparing to venture into a new century and a new millennium and to finally help save the fragile and endangered planet with the natural resources already overtaxed and for developing a critical path to governance through modern ideas for reducing the toll exacted in supporting daily life and the ever growing problems on the earth exerting profound pressures on the environment.

As the human race prepares to venture into a new century, conversations and news reports are peppered with references to our fragile and endangered planet. The earth is five billion years old, and over the eons it has endured bombardment by meteors, abrupt shifts in its magnetic fields, dramatic realignment of its land masses, and the advance and retreat of massive ice mountains that reshaped its surface. Life, too, has proved resilient: In the more than three and a half billion years first forms of life emerged, biological species have come and gone, but life has persisted without interruption. In fact, no matter what we humans do, it is unlikely that we could suppress the powerful and chemical forces that drive the earth system.

Although we cannot completely disrupt the earth system, we do affect it significantly as we use energy and emit pollutants in our quest to provide food, shelter, and a host of other products for the world's growing population. We release chemicals that gnaw holes in the ozone shield that protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation, and we burn fuels that emit heat - trapping gases that build up in the atmosphere. Our expanding numbers overtax the agricultural potential of the land.


Tropical forests that are home for millions of biological species are cleared for agriculture, grazing, and logging. Raw materials are drawn from the earth to stoke the engines of the growing world economy, and we treat the atmosphere, land, and waters as receptacles for the wastes generated as we consume energy and goods in our everyday lives. Scientific evidence and theory indicate that as a result of such Activities, the global environment is undergoing profound changes. In essence, we are conducting an uncontrolled experiment with the planet to the extent that we have come to a point of no return and we may face the disaster any time.

The world is finite, but it will have to provide food and energy to meet the needs of a doubled world population some time in the twentyfirst century. Its natural resources, already overtaxed in many areas, will have to sustain a world economy that may be five to ten times larger than the present one. This cannot be done if humans continue to pursue current patterns.

As people continue their endless quest for new materials, new energy forms, and new processes, the constraints imposed by depletion of natural resources and the pollution caused by human Activities have brought society to a crossroads. Abundance coexists with extreme need and our very existence may be in danger owing to mismanagement and over exploitation of the environment. In spite of all the technological and scientific triumphs of the twentieth century, there have never been so many poor, illiterate, or unemployed people in the world, and their numbers are growing. As they struggle to survive, they have little choice but to pursue Activities that may undermine the environment, the natural resource base on which they depend, and the conditions that sustain life itself.

Third World nations seem convinced that the poverty they endure is not a mere aberration of international economic relations that can be corrected by minor adjustments, but rather is the unspoken premise of the present economic order. Developing countries have had to produce more and sell more in order to earn money to repay debt and pay for imports. The amount of coffee, cotton, or copper they must produce to buy a technology or an equipment keep increasing. This has caused people to place extra stress on the environment, which has fuelled soil erosion, accelerated the cancerous process of desertification and deforestation, and began to threaten the genetic diversity that is the basis for tomorrow's biotechnology, agriculture, and food supply.

A global consensus for economic growth in the twentyfirst century must be consistent with sustainable development. It must take heed of ecological constraints. If coming five years are truly to be a period during which we respond to the serious problems confronting the world, issue of sustainable global development requires special and urgent attention.

In the totality of environment, the biological component goes through cyclical changes but the non-living component does not. And the all-important fact is that the living world sustains itself at the expense of the non-living. A portion of the non-living finds it way into the making of a living object but eventually whatever had thus moved from the non-living state of existence into the fabric of a living objects has got to go back to its original state. Otherwise, ecological imbalance sets in. In such a situation, the threat posed to the ecology of an area comes mainly from man, for while the non human segments of the living world do not play any planned role aimed at sustaining their numbers, man had grown too clever to be outmaneuvered by nature. On the other long. Now, he finds that the game did not pay off. He realises that while he had been clever, he had not been wise. Hence, this reappraisal. Thus is born the environmentalist school. It works towards generating a fresh awareness regarding the importance of maintaining environmental quality in man’s own interest.

Environmental protection is a national as well as international responsibility. We remember what Mahatma Gandhi said “The earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not for anybody’s greed”. Based on the motivation from the United Nations Conference on Human Environment held at Stockholm on 5 June 1972, a Committee was formed for with a time period of 10 years (1972 - 1981) for preparing the aims and objectives, course materials, case studies, occasional monographs with a view to establishing the Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment (IIEE) at New Delhi. Accordingly the IIEE was established on the occasion of the World Environment Day on 5 June 1980. The Silver Jubilee was celebrated on 5th June 2005.
The Government of India keeps on setting up different statutory bodies including the Central Pollution Control Board, National Eco-Afforstation Board besides National Environment Authority (NEA) and six regional authorities with appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals against decisions made by the regional authorities.

Whether these decisions stem from a genuine concern for sound environmental governance and overcoming administrative failures is debatable. It has to be seen in the light of the complete bureaucratisation of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in the last two decades.

The MoEF was established as a Scientific Department in November 1980 following the recommendations of the N. D. Tiwari Committee Report. It was envisaged that the Ministry would formulate policies and laws, while an Environment Protection Authority, independent of the Government, would oversee implementation of policies and programmes and enforcement of the laws (on the lines of the powerful EPA in the US).

This did not happen. Instead, over the years, the original mandate of the MoEF was eroded by administrative cynicism and sidelining of scientific expertise available within the Government, even as the MoEF has sought to takeover more regulatory functions. Civil society perceives the bureaucracy as disinterested in public welfare and corrupt.

Weak governance, manifesting itself in poor service delivery, excessive regulations, poor enforcement of laws and uncoordinated and wasteful public expenditure, are among the key factors eroding national ecological and environmental security.

This is exemplified by the thousands of crores of rupees spent so far under the Ganga Action Plan and the National Wasteland Development Board without achieving their respective mandates of cleaning the Ganga and developing wasted lands. When the MoEF was established, the existing Department of Forests and Wildlife continued to be under the Ministry of Agriculture.

But the new Department of Environment was directly under the Prime Minister and was envisaged as a focal point for developing future programmes, policies and laws based on scientific and technical analysis to ensure environmentally-sound and sustainable development in all sectors in the country.

With this perspective, the Department was intended to guide and monitor the progress of complex inter-sectoral programme implementation both in the private and public sectors. Three eminent scientists served as Secretaries till May 1985. Thereafter, the Environment and Forests and Wildlife Departments were placed in one Ministry headed by a Secretary from the Indian Administrative Service. In 1987, the Department of Environment, which was recognised as a ‘scientific’ Department (such as the Departments of Ocean Development, Biotechnology, Space, Science and Technology, and Non-Conventional Energy), was taken out of the purview of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for speedy recruitment of scientific personnel. After the initial phase of recruitment of scientists, however, no fresh recruitment was made. Gradually, as senior scientists retired, these posts were converted to non-scientific posts and taken over by the IAS and allied services such as Customs, the Railways, Post and Telegraphs, etc.

No attempt was made to create an independent cadre of scientific professionals. The influx of career administrators has contributed to the spread of the bureaucratic babu culture. A sense of urgency to integrate ecological and environmental concerns into the developmental process has completely evaporated, undermining effective coordination with other concerned Ministries on inter-sectoral issues. Effective environmental and ecological strategies have not been evolved in major sectors such as industry, transport, agriculture and aquaculture, energy, and forestry. ‘Environment ImpAct Assessment’, which is a multidisciplinary and multidimensional process, is being undertaken mechanically just to get the environmental clearance under the Environment Protection Act, instead of being an integrated and continuous process from the very start of a project. Conflicts have escalated in sectors such as water, land use, agriculture, animal husbandry, mining and forests, which are of deep concern to the people, and there has been little attempt to decentralise natural resources management through the institutions of self-government under the 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts. Moreover, multiple systems of administration and functioning in an uncoordinated manner, have led to confusion in the implementation of programmes and the enforcement of laws, and also unhealthy rivalry between agencies.

For instance, two agencies concerned with afforestation function independently - the National Afforestation and Eco-development Board under the MoEF, and the National Wastelands Development Board under the Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment. Biodiversity conservation falls within the purview of different Departments and Ministries. The National Bio-Resource Board was constituted by the Department of Biotechnology and the National Medicinal Plant Board by the Department of Indian Systems of Medicines and Homeopathy (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare). And, under the new Biodiversity (Conservation) Act, the MoEF is to set up a National Biodiversity Board.

The Ministry of Water Resources is the nodal agency for managing the water sector. It discharges its mandate through the Central Water Commission (surface water), Central Ground Water Board (ground water) and the National Water Development Agency (inter-basin transfer of water).

But the MoEF handles water quality and related environmental aspects; the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Development coordinates projects in urban water supply and sanitation; the Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment looks after rural water supply and sanitation under the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission; and the Ministry of Power and Central Electric Authority handles water issues for power generation.

Similarly, multiple agencies are responsible for the protection of air quality, including the Directorate of Industries, the Department of Transport and Urban Development and the Traffic Police authorities in urban areas. Unlike the independent Environment Protection Authority envisaged by the Tiwari Committee, the National Environment Authority, which has now been setup, seems to be confined to appellate jurisdiction only.

If the NEA is to be truly effective, its mandate has to be extended to include monitoring the policies and programmes developed by the MoEF and the functioning of enforcement agencies at the national- and State-levels. To do this, the NEA needs to be staffed with an independent scientific and technical cadre. Further, the Government would have to make a major departure from the current mode of functioning of nodal Ministries responsible for the ecological and environmental sustainability related to various developmental Activities.

The regular coordination of all monitoring Activities could be done by setting up a National Task Force on Ecology and Environmental Security, answerable to the NEA. The Task Force could be mandated to sort out inter-ministerial and sectoral differences, fund allocations and programme implementation. Indeed, the entire institutional mechanism needs to be restructured for effective ecological and environmental governance. This would require treating the MoEF on the same lines as the other scientific Ministries and Departments. The functioning of the MoEF could be streamlined under two separate Departments for Environment, and for Forests and Wildlife. The Department must be headed by an eminent scientist as Secretary, with the support of a scientific and technical cadre and allowing for the lateral entry of experts in different disciplines from the universities, scientific agencies and other professional organisations. The Forest Department should be independently headed by the Director-General who should also serve as its Secretary. The Central Board of Forestry, which has been dormant since 1988, should be revived. Every Ministry concerning natural resource management must have an ‘Ecological and Environmental Adviser’ who relates to the MoEF as the respective financial advisers do to the Ministry of Finance. Also, the National River Conservation Authority could be merged with the Department of Environment. To strengthen the Central and State Pollution Control Boards, there has to be an in-built mechanism within the MoEF to continuously revise standards for air, water and effluents and review the relevant legislations. The marine environment and coastal areas have long been neglected. A Central Commission needs to be set up to address the entire range of issues relating to marine and coastal areas. So too forest genetic resources and micro-organisms; separate bureaus for ‘Forest Genetic Resources’ and ‘Micro-organism Genetic Resources’ also need to be created for collection, identification and characterization on the lines of the existing National Bureaus of Plant, Animal and Fish Genetic Resources.

The NEA is only a very small step towards restructuring the institutional mechanism for environmental governance. Much more needs to be done to meet national needs and the commitments made by India in respect of various international conventions and agreements. Unless this is done, such incremental knee-jerk measures only create the illusion that environmental governance is moving forward in the interests of the people when, in fact, nothing much is being accomplished.

There is accordingly an urgent need for having a competent cadre of young professionals and scientists by acquiring necessary skills in the areas of ecology and environment. The Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment has been engaged since June 1981 in the promotion of environmental education, depolluting technologies, impact assessment, natural resources conservation and management, environmental governance, advocacy and citizenship.

ENVIRONMENTAL FEDERALISM : AN INDIAN VIEW-POINT

The two common types of regulatory structures of Governments are ‘unitary’ and ‘federal’. As the name suggests, a ‘unitary’ structure is one that consists of a single level or a single platform from which governance and regulation flow. It has all the elements of centralisation. In such a structure, one would find little or no autonomy in matters of decision-making in places away from or at some distance from a single ‘centre’ of power. In contrast, a ‘federal’ structure is one which is decentralised, where one will easily observe a great deal of empowerment and ‘localised’ decision-making authority at a number of levels in addition to a single centre, and ‘federalism’ refers to an ideology that propounds such a federal structure. Ulrich Kloti, a Swiss political scientist, provides a useful working definition of federalism. According to him, Federalism is a territorially differentiated political organization, where citizens belong to two (or more) political units at two (or more) levels, in which each level (i.e. the federation, the States and the communes) can decide autonomously on certain policies and has its own tax base, where the federation makes sure that the Union does not disintegrate, and where the lower levels (in particular, the States or Provinces) participate in the decision-making at the superior level. Another crisper definition of Federalism is provided by David Nice in his book “Federalism: The Politics of Intergovernmental Relations”, where he defines federalism as a “system of Government that includes a national Government and at least one level of sub-national Governments, and that enables each level to make some significant decisions independent of the others”. With this brief background, we now turn to federalism and environmental regulation. It is conceivable that like other areas of governance and regulation, there exists scope for a degree of federalism in the area of environmental policy-making, regulation and management as well. Since the natural environment, national and international, is inherently variable with local geography and with physical distances measured from any point, it makes sense to postulate or hypothesize that federalism and the entire gamut of environmental management, regulation and preservation will go together. Let us now examine environmental federalism in India from constitutional, institutional, legislative and judicial perspective and then go on to scrutinize various elements of the international order to establish the degree, if any, of the linkage between federalism, deCentralisation and the environment.



Environmental Policy and Constitutional Provisions in India

Powers over environment are assigned to different tiers of Indian Government. The division of environmental policy-making and allocation of environmental functions amongst the Central, State and local Governments is regulated by the Indian Constitution. Let us see how the Indian constitution governs the relations between the Central, State and local Governments, especially with reference to environmental issues.



Union and State Governments

India, a Union of States, has a federal system of governance. The power of governance is shared between the Union Government and the State Governments. The Indian Constitution governs the legislative and administrative relations between the Union and the States. While the Union Parliament enjoys the power to legislate for the whole or any part of the country, the State legislatures are empowered to make laws only for their respective States. However, State legislatures, enjoying plenary powers, are not delegates of the Union Parliament. Both, the Union Parliament and the State legislatures, derive their powers from the Indian Constitution. The division of Governmental powers is made with reference to three lists given in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. List I or the Union List contains 97 subjects over which Parliament has exclusive power to legislate. These include defence, foreign affairs and environmentally relevant subjects such as atomic energy and mineral resources; regulation and development of interstate rivers and river valleys; highways; shipping and navigation in national highways; major ports; airways, aircraft and air navigation; regulation of mines and mineral development; development of oil fields etc. The State legislatures have exclusive power to legislate with respect to 66 subjects enumerated in List II or what is known as the State List.



The environmental subjects over which State legislatures can legislate are public health and sanitation; agriculture; communication; preservation, protection and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases; water; land; etc. Under List III or Concurrent List, Parliament and State legislatures have overlapping, concurrent and shared jurisdiction over 52 subjects ranging from forests, protection of wild animals, and mines and mineral development to population control and family planning minor ports, factories and electricity. The State legislatures have full powers to legislate with respect to subjects specified in the Concurrent List. But this power is subject to an important limitation, namely that the provisions of the State law should not conflict with any of the provisions of the Union law on that subject. This is to say that if a State law relating to a concurrent subject is conflicting and therefore repugnant to a Union law relating to that very subject, then the Union law will prevail and the State law shall, to the extent of such inconsistency and repugnancy, be void. There is one exception to this rule. If a State law on a concurrent subject is inconsistent with a prior Union law on that same concurrent subject, then the State law shall prevail in that State and overrule the Union law in the applicability to that State only, if the State law has received presidential assent. Again, there are a few Articles in the Constitution where the legislative power is specifically and exclusively reposed in the Parliament. In such cases, the distribution of powers based on the three lists is not applicable. For example, Article 262 confers exclusive power on Parliament to enact a law providing for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of waters of, or in, any inter-state river or river valley. In exercise of the power conferred by Article 262, Indian Parliament enacted The Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956. And the jurisdiction of all Courts, including the Supreme Court, is barred with respect to such disputes, which are to be settled by the Tribunal set up under The Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956. Another important provision in the Indian Constitution, tilting the balance in favour of the Union, is Article 248. This Article confers the residuary power of legislation on Parliament. It grants exclusive power to Parliament to make law on any subject matter not covered by the State or Concurrent lists. In addition, under Article 249 of the Constitution, Parliament is also empowered to legislate in ‘national interest’ on matters covered by the State list. And, if there is any inconsistency between the law made by Parliament under Article 249 and law made by the State legislature, the law made by Parliament shall reign supreme. Further, Parliament can enact laws on State subjects for those States whose legislatures have consented to such Central legislation. Thus, though ‘water’ is a State subject, The Water [Prevention and Control of Pollution] Act of 1974 was enacted by Parliament, pursuant to consent resolutions passed by 12 State legislatures. In order to legislate on environmental matters, the Indian Parliament has relied upon yet two other constitutional provisions. These provisions are Article 253 and Article 51(c). Article 253 empowers Parliament to make laws for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country/countries or for implementing any decision made at any international conference, association or other body. Article 51(c) mandates that the State shall endeavor to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations. These two Articles, therefore, legitimize the Parliament to pry open List II and enact laws on any entries contained in it provided it is necessary for the purpose of implementing the treaty obligations of India. In fact, two major and vital Indian environmental laws, namely, The Air [Prevention and Control of Pollution] Act of 1981 and The Environmental [Protection] Act of 1986, have been enacted under these Constitutional provisions. The Preambles to both these laws State that the statutes are enacted to implement the decisions reached at the United Nations Conference on Human Environment held at Stockholm in 1972. Similarly, The National Environmental Tribunal Act of 1995, The National Environment Appellate Authorities Act, 1997 and The Biodiversity Act, 2002 were passed by the Indian Parliament pursuant to the Rio Summit of 1992. The United Nations Conference on Human Environment also gave rise to the Constitutional (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976. The Amendment expanded the list of concurrent subjects by introducing a new entry ‘Population Control and Family Planning’, and two entries ‘Forests’ and ‘Protection of Wild Animals and Birds’ were shifted from the State List to the Concurrent List. These changes have resulted in giving more powers to Parliament to legislate on environmental issues. Consequently, though the environmental powers are distributed between the Union and States, the Union does enjoy a dominant role in environmental policy making. The Constitutional (42nd Amendment) Act of 1976 also resulted in inclusion of Article 48A and Article 51A(g) in the Constitution. Article 48A casts an obligation on the Indian State not only to protect but, more importantly, to improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country. Article 51A(g) imposes a fundamental duty on the Indian citizen to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures. Therefore, the duty to protect and enhance the quality of environment in India is the duty of the Union, States and the citizens. The Division Bench of the Supreme Court directed the Central and State Governments and local authorities to introduce ‘cleanliness week’ when all citizens, including members of the executive, legislature and judiciary, should render free personal service to keep their local areas free from pollution.

Local Government

The Indian Constitution focuses mainly on Centre-State relations. Till 1992, it hardly talked about local Government, except in Article 40 in Part IV of the Constitution. This Article directs that State shall take steps to organize village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-Government. Local Government and village administration is a subject in the State list. Hence, it is the States which have to set up local Governments. Consequently, local Governments are completely under the jurisdiction and control of their respective State Governments. They derive their powers, functions and jurisdiction from their State Governments and not from the Constitution itself. This is to say that though Local Governments enjoy a statutory position and are an integral part of national Government, no specific powers have been conferred upon them by the Constitution. The constitutional allocation of functions/subjects is between the Union and the States and not amongst Union, States and Local Governments. The Seventh Schedule contains the Union List and State List but no Local List. In 1992, Constitutional (73rd and 74th Amendment) Acts were passed, inserting Parts IX and IX A in the Constitution. Part IX [Articles 243-243(0)] deals with panchayats17 and Part IXA [Articles 243(P)-243(Za)] relates to municipalities. The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments added XI and XII Schedules to the Constitution. While XI Schedule distributes powers between the State legislature and the panchayat; XII Schedule distributes powers between the State legislature and the municipality. Both Schedules contain environmental subjects. The panchayat can handle agriculture; land improvement and soil conservation; minor irrigation, water management and watershed development; animal husbandry; fisheries; social forestry; rural housing; drinking water; fuel and fodder; electricity and nonconventional energy sources. The municipality can undertake town planning; regulation of land-use and construction of buildings; roads and bridges; water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes; public health, sanitation, solid waste management; urban forestry, protection of environment and promotion of ecological aspects; slum improvement and up-gradation; provision of urban amenities and facilities such as parks and gardens; cattle ponds and prevention of cruelty to animals; and regulation of slaughter houses and tanneries. It warrants noting that the XI and XII Schedules merely list suggested environmental functions for panchayats and municipalities. The States are not obliged to devolve all or some of these listed functions on the panchayats and municipalities. However, local Governments do perform some environmental functions such as public health and sanitation, garbage collection and sewage. But there is considerable variation across Indian States in the range and nature of environmental functions discharged by the panchayats and municipalities. Hence, the Actual role of local Governments in environmental policy and management is very weak. Municipal Council, Ratlam v. Vardhichand is the first landmark Indian decision where a statutory obligation of a civic body towards protection of environment was categorically acknowledged. The Supreme Court compelled the municipality to either fulfill its obligation of providing a clean environment or face consequence of closure. Rejecting financial inability as a ground for avoiding statutory obligation, the Court reprimanded: “a responsible municipal council constituted for the precise purpose of preserving public health cannot run away from its principal duty by pleading financial inability. Decency and dignity are non-negotiable facets of human rights and are a first charge on local self-governing bodies”. Since then the Indian judiciary has risen to the occasion. Adorning the mantel of an ombudsman it has not hesitated in reminding the local authorities of their constitutional duty to provide an unpolluted environment, and on occasions has even chided them for dereliction of their duties. In Ganga pollution case, where the pollution of Ganga was affecting the life, health and ecology of the entire Indogangetic plain, the summit court admonished that although Parliament and State legislatures have enActed many laws imposing duties on the Central and State bodies and municipalities for preventing water pollution, many of these provisions have just remained on paper. Directions of this judgement were sent to all the municipalities of the towns situated on river Ganga. Hence, despite some unitary features, the Indian Constitution does reflect strong federal characters in matters relating to environment.

Institutional Framework for Environmental Management in India

It is only during the 70s that environmentalism emerged as an organized movement in India. And the credit for this goes to the Stockholm Conference of 1972. The Government of India, while preparing for India’s participation in the Stockholm Conference, set up a National Committee on Environmental Planning and Co-ordination. Consisting of 14 Members picked from diverse fields of environment management, the Committee’s main function was to advise and recommend to the Central Government the improvement of environment. It was entrusted with the task of planning and coordinating national environmental policies. The Actual implementation of these policies was left to the Ministries and Government agencies. Then in January 1980, the Central Government appointed a Committee, known as Tiwari Committee, to recommend legislative measures and administrative machinery for ensuring environmental protection. A direct result of the recommendations of the Tiwari Committee was the birth of Department of Environment on 1st November 1980. The Department was to Act, both as a coordinating as well as an administrative body. It had not only to co-ordinate national policies for environmental protection and management but also to shoulder administrative responsibilities for regulating and monitoring environmental pollution. In 1985, the Ministry of Environment and Forests was created, subsuming the Department of Environment. Since then, the Ministry of Environment and Forests is the apex body of the Central Government responsible for the planning, promotion and coordination of environmental and forestry programme. At the State level, environmental Boards were set up at the behest of the National Committee on Environmental Planning and Coordination. These Boards were subsequently converted into environmental Departments. Yet another class of institutions for environmental management is the Central and State Pollution Control Boards. These Boards were first established under The Water Act of 1974, to implement the provisions of the Water Act, when they were known as the Central/State Water Pollution Control Board(s). With the enactment of the Air Act in 1981, these Boards had also to monitor air pollution along with water pollution. They were, therefore, re-named as Central/State Pollution Control Board(s). The State Boards implement and enforce the pollution control laws. They lay down standards of pollution as well as make consent orders for discharging sewage or trade effluent into the water and air. They enjoy the powers of closure and stoppage of supply of electricity and water to the offending industry. They can also initiate litigation by filing a complaint in the Court. But they cannot punish the violators of environment.



Legal Framework for Environmental Protection in India

Ancient Indians worshipped nature. Their love and profound respect for environment finds expression in ancient Indian literature. The Vedas are replete with hymns in praise of nature: “I worship the Lord of Air and Water...I worship these again and again”. Few know that world’s first recorded conservation measures, especially for wildlife, were enacted in India around 2300 years ago. Emperor Asoka’s stone edicts on protection of birds and animals survive even to this day. Environmental statutes in modern India date back to mid-nineteenth century. Some of these laws deal with natural resources such as the forests and others cover water and air pollution.



Forest Laws

The Forest Acts of 1865 and 1878 were pieces of colonial legislation. Both the Acts restricted the access of the tribal communities to forest resources and gave exclusive ownership and control over the forests to the colonial masters. In 1927, The Forest Act was passed, repealing the Forest Acts of 1865 and 1878. The Forest Act of 1927 too vests the ownership and control over forest resources in the Government and not in the village communities. The Act empowers the Government to notify any forestland or wasteland as ‘reserved forests’ and certain forests and trees as ‘protected’. Further, the Government can prohibit the breaking up of land for cultivation, pasturing of cattle or clearing of vegetation. Though the Act purported to prevent deforestation, in reality it led to further degradation of environment, as it advanced the cause of forest-based industries.

The rapid drift towards deforestation during the Second World War and the post- independence developmental Activities further aggravated environmental degradation. So, in 1952, the national policy laid down that one third of the total geographical area in India should be brought under tree cover. Pursuant to the Stockholm Conference in 1972, which adopted that natural resources, including forests, should be safeguarded, the subject of forests was deleted from the State list and included in the Concurrent List by the Constitutional (42nd Amendment) Act of 1976. To arrest ecological imbalance and to provide for the conservation of forests by checking indiscriminate diversion of forestlands for non-forest purposes, The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 was passed by Indian Parliament, increasing the control of the Central Government over the forest resources. This Act makes it necessary for the State Governments to seek prior approval of the Central Government for de-reserving forests, using forestlands for non-forest purposes or leasing of forestlands. In 1988, pursuant to IX World Forestry Conference, the Indian Government amended the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 and also formulated a 22 Vedas literally means ‘knowledge’. They are the first records of the ancient Indians on history, law, economics, religion, philosophy, ethics, environment, aesthetics and other subjects. There are yet other laws that deal with wildlife protection such as The Elephants’ Preservation Act of 1879; and The Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act of 1912.

The objective of the new Forest Policy is to preserve forests as a national resource and to put them to their best use. It envisages social forestry with the help of forest-dwellers and local communities.



Laws preventing water pollution

In pre-independent India, several statutes were enacted to solve the problem of water pollution. The earliest statute addressing water pollution was The Shore Nuisance (Bombay and Kolaba) Act, 1853. This was followed by The Orient Gas Company Act 1857, The Serais Act of 1867, The Indian Penal Code 1872, The Northern Indian Canal and Drainage Act 1873, The Obstruction in Fairways Act 1881, The Indian Ports Act 1908 and The Indian Steam Vessels Act. After independence in 1947, laws such as The River Boards Act 1956 and The Merchant Shipping Act 1958 were enacted. These laws were found practically ineffective in preventing water pollution because they merely touched one or the other aspect of water pollution. After the Stockholm Conference, Indian Parliament passed The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, to prevent and control water pollution and to maintain and restore the wholesomeness of water. As Stated earlier, ‘water’ being a State subject, the State legislatures could have enacted their own laws. But the Water Act is a Central Law. It is a classical example of voluntary surrender of legislative power to Central Government by the State Governments. The Act is a typical command-and-control legislation, comprising a set of “dos” and “don’ts” that are backed by fines and imprisonment. The Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants into water bodies beyond a given standard, and lays down penalties for non-compliances. The responsibility for the enforcement of the Act lies primarily with the State Pollution Control Boards. The Central Pollution Control Board, on the other hand has the mandate to advise the Central Government, co-ordinate the Activities of the State Pollution Control Boards, and to provide them with technical assistance. The Central Pollution Control Board therefore has no real regulatory powers. In other words, while emission/effluent standards are set at the national level, the responsibility for monitoring and enforcement rests with the State Governments. But, from the view point of environmental federalism, the 1988 amendment of the Water Act is quite significant in the sense that it increases the power of the Central Board vis a vis the State Boards. After the amendment the Central Government is empowered to decide that a State Board has failed to comply with the directions of the Central Board and that the functions and powers of the State Board to be taken over by the Central Board. The Water Act does not provide for the funding of the Pollution Control Boards despite the innumerable functions they have to discharge. Hence, The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act of 1977 was enacted to enable the Boards to meet their expenses.



Laws preventing air pollution

The earliest State enactments controlling air pollution by smoke are The Bengal Smoke Nuisance Act 1905, The Bombay Smoke Nuisance Act 1912 and The Gujarat Smoke Nuisance Act 1963. These State enactments were enacted to abate the nuisance arising from excessive smoke from furnaces in cities. The Indian Boiler Act 1923 and The Factories Act 1948 contain some provisions regulating air pollution within the factory. Then in 1981, closely following on the heels of the Water Act, came The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act. In 1987, the Air Act was amended to bring its provisions on par with The Environment (Protection) Act of 1986. The provisions of The Air Act are similar to The Water Act. The functions and the enforcement powers of the State Pollution Control Boards are also similar to those under the Water Act. Under this Act all industries, new as well as old, have to obtain consent orders from the State Boards to operate within air pollution control areas, delineated by the Boards. In practice, all States in India have declared themselves entirely as air pollution control areas. Thus, the whole country is de facto a pollution control area.



The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

The Water and the Air Acts are piecemeal legislations. Their approach to environment is sectoral, as they focus on only one specific type of pollution. Though they were consistent with the limited objectives of their times, they failed to regard environment as a whole. The need for a general legislation for environmental protection, therefore, led to the enactment of The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. While this Act provides the Central Government with greater powers to set environmental as well as effluent and emission standards, the enforcement powers have been delegated entirely to the States. Rule 3(2) of The Environment (Protection) Rules tilts the balance firmly towards the centre. It clearly specifies that the States can have more but not less stringent standards than the centre.



The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991

As a response to the Bhopal gas tragedy, the worst industrial disaster in the world, Indian Parliament enacted The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991. This Act makes mandatory for all hazardous chemical industries to ensure themselves so as to provide immediate relief to persons, when affected by accidents occurring while handling hazardous substances exceeding the quantity specified in the Act. It also provides for the establishment of an environment relief fund.



The National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995

Pursuant to The Rio Summit of 1992, Indian Parliament passed The National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995. This Act provides for strict liability for damages arising out of accidents occurring while handling hazardous substances exceeding the quantity specified under The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991. It prescribes stringent penal provisions (fines and imprisonment) for abuse of environment. It also provides for the establishment of a national environment tribunal for expeditious and effective disposal of cases arising from such accidents.



International Framework for Environmental Regulation

Environment is immune to political boundaries. This is because of the inherent global nature of environment itself. Our planet is one. Our globe is one. All nations are just components of it. Often environment problems, with essentially local impact, have global implications as to qualify for international concern. Thus, although social and economic development is essentially a national issue, its advancement can be a global concern. Further, environmental disasters are not local in their consequences. The sulphur emissions from the American steel mills come down in the form of acid rains destroying the Canadian forests. The toxic industrial effluents discharged into the Rhine by the chemical units in Switzerland poison the drinking water in Holland. The radioactive waste in the Ukraine contaminates the vegetables in Sweden. Power stations in England and Germany pollute the Norwegian lakes and trees. Tree felling in Nepal leads to flooding in Bangladesh. The Chernobyl blast made undrinkable the milk of the cows in Scotland. And the CFC emissions in the north cause skin cancer in the southern hemisphere. International concern for environment dates back to the 19th century. In the 20th century, after the Second World War, environmental concerns appeared on the agenda of a wide variety of international organizations. There were landmark international efforts to protect birds, fish, wildlife and wetlands; to prevent pollution of sea by oil; to ban testing of all kinds of weaponry; dumping of nuclear waste in Antarctic etc. These categories reflect a broadening of the environmental agenda from purely national issues, where single State jurisdiction was apparent, to concerns for the wilderness and wildlife, high seas and nuclear pollution, which are outside the ambit of national jurisdiction and which affect the mother earth as a whole. The future of the earth depends on adopting a model of sustainable development and this was enunciated in Agenda 21 of the Earth Summit in 1992. Protection of ecology, on which depends the survival of mankind, is therefore a common task.



Stockholm Conference of 1972

The UN Resolution for establishing the United Nations Conference on Human Environment of 1972, stated that there was a dire need for intensified Action at national and international level to limit, and where possible to eliminate, the impairment of the human environment. The Stockholm Declaration of 1972 has gone down in history as that global instrument which for the first time formally brought international focus on to ‘Sustainable Development’, a vital concept that remains fundamental to contemporary environmental regulation. The Declaration, consisting of 7 preambular paragraphs and 26 non-binding principles on human environment, linked environment inseparably with economic development. The first two principles together capture the principle of sustainable development. Principle 10 of the Stockholm Declaration states that “for developing countries, stability of prices and adequate earnings for primary commodities and raw materials are essential to environmental management, since economic factors as well as ecological processes must be taken into account”. Such taking into account of economic factors will necessarily involve local Government participation, because control of the factors of economic production, even in centrally planned economies, is definitely and necessarily shared across various levels of Government, i.e. such control is to be found across multiple levels of a federal regulatory structure. Again, Principle 21 states that countries are responsible to ensure that Activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other countries or of areas beyond the limits of their national jurisdiction. This responsibility cannot be discharged by a centralized regulatory structure, and only decentralisation and federalism can effectively bring about true compliance with this principle, for the simple reason that cross-border environmental disasters will necessarily happen at significant distances away from the immediate control of a Central Government, and only locally-empowered sub-levels of Government “on the ground” can help prevent or manage such events. On the other hand, Stockholm Declaration also states (vide principle 13) that countries “should adopt an integrated and coordinated approach to their development planning so as to ensure that development is compatible with the need to protect and improve the environment for the benefit of their population”. This is clearly recommendatory of a unitary or centralized approach to environmental regulation, as opposed to a federal one. Further, Principle 17 says that appropriate national instruments must be entrusted with the task of planning, managing and controlling the environmental resources of countries with a view to enhancing environmental quality. This too is a pro-unitary principle.



Period between 1972-1992

The period between 1972 and 1992 witnessed a number of tragedies such as the Bhopal gas leak in India (1984), Chernobyl blast resulting in radioactivity-related injuries in 21 countries spread in Europe (1986), the dioxin leak at Seveso in Italy (1986), the oil spill caused by the oil tanker Amoco Cadiz (1978), the Sandoz tragedy in which tons of toxic chemicals were washed into the Rhine river in Europe as a result of a fire at the Sandoz warehouse in Switzerland. All these and other heart rendering accidents highlighted the dangers of unregulated industrialization as well as the fact that environmental pollution knows no national boundaries. So there was further centralisation of environmental regulations, and the Governments decided to adopt a number of environmental protection agreements, especially to control transboundary environmental degradation.



The Rio Declaration of 1992

The Rio Declaration followed the Stockholm Declaration after an interval of 20 years. It was proclaimed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. This Conference, popularly known as the ‘Rio Conference’, had a very wide-ranging mandate, with one of its most important objectives being the promotion of the development of international environmental law. The Rio Declaration has 27 Principles, aimed at guiding Governments in their pursuits of sustainable development. The thread of sustainable development runs right through most of the Principles in the Rio Declaration. Of direct relevance to this paper, however, are Principles 10, 13, 16, 17 and 22, each now briefly analysed to see whether it is pro-federalism or pro centralisation. Principle 10 points out that environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level, and that environment related information shall be accessible to all individuals at the national level. Communities (i.e. local units of society and Government) are highlighted in this Principle from the participation as well as information-access perspective. Clearly, this is a pro-federalism principle. Principle 22 says that indigenous people and their communities and other local communities have a vital role in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices, and that countries should recognize and support their identity, culture and interests and enable their effective participation in the achievement of sustainable development. Implementation of this Principle (which would hinge on a ‘grassroots level’ understanding of local/indigenous communities and the winning over of their participation) would be impossible in the absence of a decentralised or federal regulatory structure. Again, therefore, this principle too is tilted towards federalism. Principle 13 States that countries shall develop national law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of pollution and other environmental damage. This Principle reflects central characters. In fact, not very long after the Rio Conference, India enacted a national law on this very subject of liability and compensation for victims of pollution, being the National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995. This is a live example of a Union or Central regulatory instrument that is based on an internationally accepted principle. Principle 16 emphasizes that national authorities should endeavour to promote the internalization of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution. (This is the classic “polluter pays” principle). This stress on National Authorities indicates pro-centralisation or non-federal nature of the principle. Principle 17 urges that environmental impact assessment shall be undertaken for proposed Activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment; such assessment to be undertaken as a national instrument. Further, such assessments are to be subject to a decision of a competent national authority. This principle also favours centralisation.

Agenda 21

Agenda 21 is a non-binding international instrument, intended to set out a detailed plan of Action for implementing the principles of the Rio Declaration, and for achieving sustainable-development. Agenda 21 consists of four broad sections, covering the following areas:

i. Social and economic dimensions (including demographic trends and factors),

ii. Environmental issues,

iii. Major groups (of people and various associations) and

iv. Means of implementation.

An analysis of these various sections to establish the inclination of Agenda 21 towards competing regulatory structures (federal/decentralised v. unitary/centralized) now follows.

On the front of social and economic dimensions, Agenda 21 mandates a particular means of implementation as follows:

“The capacity of national, regional and local structures to deal with issues relating to demographic trends and fActors and sustainable development should be enhanced ... cooperation among Government, national research institutions, non-Governmental organizations and local communities in assessing problems and evaluating policies should also be enhanced”. The stress on cooperation with and building capacity in local structures, local communities and NGOs is a clear indication of pro-federalism. Further, Agenda 21 says that development programmes should be implemented at the local level. For developing a framework of Action for this purpose, “an effective consultative process should be established and implemented with concerned groups of society where the formulation and decision-making (of environment and development programmes) are based on a nationwide consultative process drawing on community meetings, regional workshops and national seminars, as appropriate”.

The broad basing of the consultative process and decision-making and localisation of implementation are a clear indication of pro-federalism. In the area of land resources planning and management, Agenda 21 mandates that Governments, at the appropriate level, should pay particular attention to the role of agricultural land. To do this, “they should:

a) develop integrated goal-setting and policy formulation at the national, regional and local levels that takes into account environmental, social, demographic and economic issues, and

b) develop policies that encourage sustainable land use and management of land resources, and take the land resource base, demographic issues and the interests of the local population into account”.

The above is again clearly indicative of a pro-federalism approach to environmental policy-making.

Again, in the area of land resources, Agenda 21 recommends that “Governments at the appropriate levels should establish innovative procedures, programmes, projects and services that facilitate and encourage the active participation of those affected in the decision-making and implementation process, especially of groups that have hitherto often been excluded, such as women, youth, indigenous people and their communities, and other local communities”. Yet again, this is indicative of Agenda 21’s inclination towards federalism in the field of environmental decision-making. However, Agenda 21 is not without its pro-centralisation leanings. Take the text of Agenda 21 on energy and sustainable development, which says that “Governments at the appropriate level ... should promote the development, at the national level, of appropriate methodologies for making integrated energy, environment and economic policy decisions for sustainable development, inter alia, through environmental impAct assessments”. Here, the focus is on the national level and an integrated approach, clearly pro-centralisation. Again, going back to land resource management, Agenda 21 recommends that “Governments at the appropriate level should facilitate an integrated approach, and to do this, they should, inter alia,

i) adopt planning and management systems that facilitate the integration of environmental components such as air, water, land and other natural resources, and

ii) adopt strategic frameworks that allow the integration of both developmental and environmental goals”.

Agenda 21, therefore, does tend to be pro-centralisation, at least as regards the above issues of energy and land resources.

The World Trade Organization (WTO)

The WTO, which came into being on 1 January 1995, succeeded GATT (the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) as the global institutional structure governing the field of international trade and commerce. While the WTO regulatory regime contains binding multilateral agreements in various specific fields, such as trade in goods and services, trade-related investment measures, and trade-related intellectual property rights, the regulation of economic Activity in relation to the environment is not provided for by a separate WTO agreement, like the aforementioned fields. However, the WTO Agreement does refer to environmental issues. To begin with, the preamble to the Agreement Establishing the WTO itself says that the parties to the Agreement (i.e. Members of the WTO) recognize that trade and economic relations should, inter alia, allow for the optimal use of the world’s resources in accordance with the objective of sustainable development, seeking both to protect and preserve the environment. Apart from this preambular reference to the environment, other WTO Agreements, specific to individual areas of trade, such as the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, the Agreement on Agriculture, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the General Agreement on Trade in Services and the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights, all provide for, explicitly or otherwise, either protection of the environment or support of or favourable treatment to WTO Members desirous of protecting the environment. In the context of federalism, the various WTO Agreements do not contain any explicit Statements as such that favour or oppose federalism when it comes to environmental issues. However, an analysis of a report released on 14th October, 1999 by the WTO’s Secretariat (i.e. “the Trade and Environment Report”) shows that:

a) The WTO is of the view that international economic integration and growth reinforce the need for sound environmental policies at the national and international level. This view held by the WTO is necessarily indicative of the need for a centralized or unitary regulatory structure for environmental issues.

b) The WTO is of the view that since environmental measures are sometimes defeated because of competitiveness concerns (i.e. market forces), Governments must do their part by regulating polluting and resourcedegrading Activities appropriately. This creates a difficult political dilemma. If policy-makers and voters think that domestic industry is crumbling under environmental regulations at the expense of domestic investment and jobs, it may be difficult to forge the necessary political support for new regulatory initiatives. Such ‘job concerns’ would necessarily be local concerns, both raised at and addressable at essentially local or community levels. Accordingly, then, the WTO’s thinking in this area is such that only a federal or decentralised structure would work well for matters of environmental regulation.

c) The WTO is of the view that accountability and good governance are critical to up gradation of environmental policies. The WTO’s proposition is that pollution tends to be worse in countries with skewed income distribution, a high degree of illiteracy, and few political and civil liberties. Further, institutional and democratic reforms are necessary for allowing ordinary citizens to articulate their preferences for environmental quality and for them to influence the political decision-making process. This line of thinking by the WTO necessarily leads to the conclusion that for people to succeed in the economic sphere, with good environmental management, there has got to be empowerment of citizens in decisionmaking, i.e. their political empowerment. This is indicative, therefore, of the WTO’s inclination towards a federal or decentralised regulatory structure for protection and management of the environment.

International Court of Environment Foundation

The effectiveness of international conventions and principles depends entirely on voluntary compliance. There is no judicial authority with mandatory jurisdiction and no monitoring or enforcement authority. Therefore, the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 contemplate some kind of specialized judicial forum, actively engaged in environment-related litigation, providing redressal and remedy to aggrieved parties, including at an international level. According to International Court of Environment Foundation, having its headquarters in Rome and headed by its Director, the objective of the Foundation is to promote the establishment of an International Court of Environment as a new, specialized and permanent institution on a global level with the right of access not only for the States but also for individuals, NGOs and environmental associations.



International Court of Environmental Arbitration and Conciliation

The International Court of Environmental Arbitration and Conciliation is an association registered under Mexican laws. Its functions are two-fold: one, to facilitate, by conciliation and arbitration, the settlement of environmental disputes between States, natural or legal persons and submitted to it by agreement of the parties to the dispute and two, to give consultative opinion on questions of environment.

The above research leads us to the conclusion that by and large, federal or decentralised approach is followed in India in the areas of environmental policymaking, decision-making and regulation. The same conclusion holds good in the international sphere too. Nonetheless, simultaneously, the relevance of centralisation or unitary structures in these areas cannot be underestimated. If any nation intends to keep pace with the international order (and which intention is likely, given the current pace of globalization of various national economies), it ought to adopt a federalist-cum-unitary approach to matters of environmental policy and regulation, in order to attain effective environmental protection and successful sustainable development.


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