Chief Justice, Irene Mambilima has commended the United Nations Environmental Protection (UNEP) for the continued fostering of programmes aimed at enhancing environmental justice in Zambia.
Justice Mambilima notes that such programmes are inevitable and an important aspect to the environment, as they are designed to ensure that persons responsible for polluting the environment are taken to task.
The Chief Justice also stated that it is for this reason that UNEP working in collaboration with the Zambia Environmental Protection Authority (ZEMA) and the Justice System in Zambia, are working together in coming up with laws that best address pressing environmental concerns, in order to protect Zambia’s natural resources.
The Chief Justice said this in a speech read on her behalf by Justice Anne Sitali during the official opening of the Training of Trainers workshop for Judges, on the proposed guidelines on sentencing in Environmental, Crimes and award of Environmental damages and compensation.
And Justice Mambilima further said there is need to ensure that the environment is restored to its pristine state, in as much as offenders were taken to task for going against laws that bind environmental protection.
She reminded the judges to ensure that they remain proactive and use the guidelines to be formulated to aid them during their course of duty, when determining environmental disputes and crimes.
“Your invaluable contributions will go a long way in promoting environmental justice and sustainable development,” Justice Mambilima said.
The two day training workshop sponsored by UNEP is being done virtually with officials from the United Nations in collaboration with High Court Judges from across the country.
And UNEP Regional Coordinator, Robert Wabunoha has expressed optimism that the partnership between the environmental management authorities and the Zambian Justice system will enhance the execution of environmental justice in Zambia.
Mr Wabunoha appreciated the efforts from all the players, adding that there was need to strengthen capacities in Zambia, which he believed would be achieved once the proposed guidelines in environmental protection were officially formulated.
Meanwhile, ZEMA representative, Karen Banda also echoed the need for all stakeholders to ensure that laws binding the environment are tightened and persons responsible for going against the laws are taken to task.