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The Hague Environmental Law Facility

Experts debate on Satellite Monitoring for Environmental Law Enforcement
21 April 2010

The Hague Environmental Law Facility - ImageOn April 20th the Institute for Environmental Security and the T.M.C. Asser Institute organised a meeting on The Hague Environmental Law Facility (HELF) to discuss the application of satellite monitoring for environmental law enforcement. Around 40 experts took part in the event, including practitioners from the ?remote sensing community?, the legal sphere and enforcement agencies.

The meeting started with a thorough introduction by Prof. Dr. Frans von der Dunk on the legal aspects of satellite monitoring for environmental law highlighting the challenges and opportunities.

The first expert panel focused on the regulation of hazardous waste shipment. Representatives from the European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL), NEO Earth Observation and Asser Institute, provided an interesting overview of the international legal framework, focusing specifically on the development of the ?EU Waste Shipments Regulation?. Examples of remote sensing in criminal investigations were further discussed, as well as the question of open source data.

During the second expert panel, participants discussed the regime of monitoring-reporting-verification (MRV) related to the non-compliance mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. The panel presented concrete examples of carbon storage and sequestration monitoring, including in Indonesia, where law enforcement on illegal logging is effectively supported in certain areas.

The event proved a useful setting for participants from the worlds of geospatial technology and environmental law to meet each other and share their views on the benefits of applying remote sensing technology for monitoring environmental law. Many participants also emphasized the added value of setting up a facility (HELF) that will propose educational activities and facilitate access to justice for victims of international environmental crimes. One of the main outcomes of the meeting was the agreement between the Institute for Environmental Security and other attending organisations to further collaborate and share skills and know-how with the aim to develop one or more pilot projects on hazardous wastes, climate change, deforestation and illegal trade in natural resources.

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