Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Some notes on Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy and Global Environmental law.

The Guyana Low Carbon development strategy has been hailed as an innovative mechanism by which developing countries might maintain their forest resources for the mitigation of the global environmental degradation whilst being compensated for their trouble by developed countries. While the plan seems simple enough, and the regulation of this model has been impressively written up and presented as viable. There has not been significant investigation or consideration of the legal regulation of this model with the intention of creating an holistic legal structure which accounts for the domestic and the international legal principles and regimen which will affect it. There is little understanding of the concept of traditional knowledge and Intellectual property , the interplay of the law of international trade and private international law , the domestic law requirements for the internal regulation of the scheme and the rules of global environmental law which will be applicable to the entire project.
Global environmental law has emerged as an amalgam of various concepts from different legal systems across the globe, from which it has shamelessly borrowed a number of principles. It may be described a set of legal principles developed by national , international and transnational environmental systems to protect the environment and to manage natural resources This has resulted in the universal application of several ideas about the regulation of the environment which are as widely recognized.
Global environmental law has its own body of substantive and procedural rules and mechanisms which are unique to the governance of environmental law across the world. In example, it comprises, public international environmental law, which nomenclature commonly refers to the treaties and customary international law principles governing the relations between nations .It includes national environmental law which of course describes the principles used by local legislation to govern the activities and behavior of persons within a nation’s borders. It extends to transnational law which describes the set of legal rules used to regulate the relations of private persons and organizations across nations.
It should be immediately obvious that a national economic strategy which promotes the controlled and innovative use of forest and forest products with the goal of lessening environmental impact and developing a new brand of commerce would immediately fall into the inextricable embrace of global environmental law. There seems however, to be little attention to this critical aspect of the legal regulation of the LCDS and there is yet significant ignorance about the value of this area of law to the Guyana situation.
Global environmental law has emerged as the result of a necessary interrelation of the practical experiences of regulation, the pragmatic needs of persons and the necessity of regulating national and international conduct. It is not the offspring of social scientists and intellectuals who have nothing better to do than create abstract legal concepts which they are afterward at pains to explain to both themselves and others. The discipline of law is as practical as it is academic, a combination which is exemplified in global environmental law. It is hardly fathomable that the Guyana LCDS which is a significant undertaking does not have the necessary legal research and resulting structure which will support it with a sound internationally viable legal structure. While Guyana seems to have something of an environmental policy, there is as yet no environmental legislation .This is perhaps significant from the point of view of the existing possibility of creating a substantial set of laws which will encompass some of the requirements of global environmental law ; it might also be seen as the result of an apathetic approach legal intellectual work , which does not acknowledge the value of sound , in-depth research, analysis and application, and which could not be bothered to invest in such work. It is the role of the University of Guyana to contribute to the development of the legal framework of the LCDS and to the discussion of the impact of global environmental law on our unique circumstances in Guyana. Our transnational legal relations (Guyana-South America and Guyana-Caribbean with reference to the CSME-Caricom Single Market and Economy) and international relations must also be addressed. As concerns national law, intellectual property must be addressed in a way which takes account of Guyana’s unique circumstances, the WIPO rules and the needs of producers and end users. Global environmental law also contains a significant component which requires intellectual property regulation and from which there is no escape.
It is to be hoped that legal regulators , academics and of course the Guyana government will consult seriously on this subject with the intention of acquiring the necessary knowledge and expertise to devise the supporting legal system for the LCDS. This is not a task for the faint hearted , but it is far easier than coping with the local and international legal issues which will develop in short order ,and for which there will be no scheme for redress. It can hardly be restated enough that the Guyana LCDS needs a robust, working, workable legal and regulatory framework if it is to succeed in the long term. The University of Guyana Department of Law, ought to lend its expertise to instigate the necessary critical research and reporting on this and other areas of law through the establishment of a research unit for the purpose. There is too much at risk , and there are too many challenges ahead to be laissez faire in approach to legal regulation.