As more democracies emerge and advance in Africa, they are forced to confront the environmental impacts caused by economic and social forces. The first step in this process is designing and establishing carefully constructed laws and administrative agencies to handle the mounting pressures on natural resources. These authorities can extend from the country’s constitution to the smallest enforcement agency. But, for these efforts to have a real effect, the public must become familiar with the rules and structure and have a legitimate means of enforcing them through the courts. Environmental organizations, local lawyers, and scholars need to understand the laws and, more importantly, how they can use them to advocate for environmental protection and the health and well-being of the country’s people. Judges must be trained in the policies and the science behind them so that they can make intelligent and well-informed decisions. Perhaps most critically, the public should be allowed to participate in the political and enforcement process, including access to learn about the issues and forums to express their opinions, because cooperation and voluntary responsibility can be far more effective than artificial incentives and punishment.
Click on the following links to explore ELI’s work in Governance in Africa:
Please also see ELI’s work on Creating a Sustainable Legal Framework for Forestry in Liberia.