2019 has ended off on a high note for the Natural Resources Law students, as they attended a case hearing brought by the Philippi Horticultural Area against the government, under the #SaveThePHA campaign. The Philippi Horticultural Area is famously known as Cape Town’s food basket, therefore any developmental threat to the area threatens the City’s food security. In the Western Cape High Court, the students experienced first-hand how South Africa’s agricultural resources get impacted by local planning decisions, and saw the law at play.
Olivia Rumble recently attended a workshop of legal experts on marine plastic pollution, hosted by the IUCN Environmental Law Centre in Bonn, Germany. The workshop and related country studies were undertaken as part of the IUCN's MARPLASTICCs project in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam.
Building on her work in the development of national climate change framework laws, Olivia Rumble recently visited Thailand to assist the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment with the development of a possible national climate change law for the country.
The first field trip for the Natural Resources Law students this year related to their study of South Africa’s biological resources. Naturally, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town provided the ultimate backdrop in which to engage the students on emerging debates in biodiversity laws.
The Institute, together with the Environmental Law Association of South Africa, were fortunate to host a seminar by Dr Fred Soltau, a Senior Sustainable Development Officer currently working at the United Nations in New York, on 17 July.
Land-Use Planning Law is a very complicated and practical subject. In order to enable students to grapple with this complexity, students spent the day visiting Scarborough and Soetwater near Cape Point. At Scarborough, they were introduced to the site which forms the focus of their course assignment - a proposed development in the Schusterskraal wetland.
The Institute of Marine and Environmental Law was very fortunate to arrange for Prof Ben Richardson, from the University of Tasmania, to visit the University of Cape Town in April through an NRF Visiting Scholars Grant. Whilst in Cape Town, Prof Richardson met with members of the Institute and presented an open lecture titled ‘Time and sustainability: What is missing and what does environmental law need to do?’. Arranged in partnership with the Western Cape Branch of the Environmental Law Association, Professor Richardson explored how time is fundamentally important to sustainability and its governance.
We are pleased to let you know that all our postgraduate programmes and courses are on offer in 2019. We have also determined the provisional block-teaching week dates. Please further note that Prof Alexander Paterson (Alexander.Paterson@uct.ac.za) will be the IMEL Programme Convener in 2019, and should you have any queries, please do be in touch with him in the new year.
Professor Alexander Paterson was recently selected as an international trainer for the ADB-IUCNAEL Strengthening Capacity for Environmental Law in the Asia-Pacific Developing Environmental Champions: Train-the-Trainers Program. This involved him travelling to Kathmandu in Nepal in late November 2018 to present a four day Train-the Trainers Program aimed at advancing the teaching and practice of environmental, climate change and sustainability law across Asia.
Land-use planning frameworks have traditionally focused on developing settlements and related infrastructure. Climate change and biodiversity conservation have not historically always been considered in the formulation and implementation of land-use planning frameworks. Even if they are considered, the focus and impact of land-use planning frameworks is often localized rather than ecosystem wide. While countries are increasingly recognising and making the connection between land-use planning, biodiversity and climate change, in many countries these considerations are not yet adequately reflected in domestic laws and policies. There is accordingly often an absence of effective legal tools in place to practically facilitate improved integration of land-use planning, biodiversity and climate change issues and concerns.
After almost 34 years of service to UCT generally, the Law Faculty and IMEL in particular, Professor Jan Glazewski retires at the end of 2019. Having joined the Institute shortly after its formation, Jan has over the years inspired many to become fascinated in and study environmental law. The breadth of his influence and impact was evidenced by the audience at his Valedictory Lecture held in the Oliver Tambo Moot Court on 14 November 2018, following which he was presented with a box of selected “Jan’s Valedictory Wine”.
The Environmental Law Association recently held its Annual Conference and Student Conference at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth from 26-27 September 2018. The theme of this year’s conference was “Links between Environmental Protection and Justice”. Several of IMEL’s postgraduate students presented papers at the Student Conference on topics including water resource management, mining in protected areas and creating equitable and efficient access and benefit sharing regimes.