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Conference “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment” at the European Parliament

Bruxelles, Belgique

The 6th of February 2019 the Conference ‘Toward a Global Pact for the Environment’ took place at the European Parliament.You can read here the complete program of the event.  Here is a little summary with pictures.

Click on the name of the person to see the video of their intervention during the conference.

Europe has to adopt a united position to support the Pact.

The conference was organized by several members of the European Parliament : Pascal Durand, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Jo Leinen and Sirpa Pietikaïnen.

Laurent Fabius, in his quality of former president of the COP21, gave the opening speech with Daniel Calleja, the Director General for the Environment of the European Commission, and Jo Leinen, Member of the European Parliament.

For Laurent Fabius the success of the Pact is highly dependent of Europe’s support, according to him ‘Europe is one of the few actors that can save the environment’. Europe has to adopt a united position to support the Pact.

Daniel Calleja fully shared Fabius’s opinion and strongly support the project. He said as a joke that this Pact ‘is such a good idea I am surprised it is not coming from the European commission’.

This conference gathered prominent speakers from the jurist community, but also from the economic sector and from civil society.

Panel 1 : Using the Pact’s principles to reinforce the legal framework

The first round table gathered Yann Aguila – Chair of the Environment Commission of the Club des juristes, Lord Robert Carnwath – Justice at the UK Supreme Court, Juliane Kokott – Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union and Luc Lavrysen – Judge at the Belgium Constitutional Court. It was moderated by Maria Magdalena Kenig-Witkowska, Professor of legal sciences, University of Warsaw.

To sum it up in one sentence, they all expressed their support by explaining why and how such a Pact would be useful for judges. According to Lord Carnwath it would make this principles more accessible for judges.  Juliane Kokott underlined that these changes wouldn’t be ‘ground breaking’ for European environmental laws hence it should be easy for Europe to ratify the Pact when adopted.

The participants emphasized the importance of having general principles in all legal systems because it helps to ensure the coherence of the system.

Panel 2 : Strengthening environmental right to create new opportunities

The second round table gathered Nicolas Beaumont – VP Sustainable development and Mobility – Michelin, Montserrat Mir Roca – Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Patrizia Heidegger – Director of Global Policies and Sustainability – European Environment Bureau, Manoella Wilbaut – Head of Global Commercial Developments – Sustainability – DHL and was moderated by Marie Toussaint, Former President of the NGO Notre Affaire à Tous.

Their interventions made it clear that the economic sector and the civil society are also demanding a Global Pact for the Environment. Nicolas Beaumont, by detailing Michelin’s engagements for the environment, illustrated that creating level-playing field is key to support business’ efforts. All the participant in this round table, although coming from different background agreed on that a unique legal tool gathering all the guiding principles for the environment protection is a necessity.

‘We can’t afford to miss this opportunity’

Pascal Durand concluded the conference by saying that this Pact is an opportunity for everyone to take their responsibilities, and it’s an opportunity Europe can’t afford to miss (« Nous n’avons plus le droit de passer à côté de ces enjeux »). He also made a comment about the importance to take in consideration animal’s welfare, a topic that is central to our relation with the Nature. Watch Pascal Durand’s intervention here.

Participants expressed great enthusiasm for the project, but the Pact is not adopted yet and there is still a long way to get there.

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Conference 'Toward a Global Pact for the Environment'

More pictures of the event can be found on the website of the European Parliament here : https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/conference-towards-global-pact-for-environment_20190206_EP-082782A_DHO_174_p#ssh