On 23 October 2019, the IMEL Pollution law LLM class went on a class outing to the Astron Energy petroleum refinery in Cape Town (what used to be the Chevron refinery). Students had an interactive meeting with the environmental experts on site to discuss air quality, waste, water, coastal discharge and contaminated land management, including legal compliance at the site.
Every year IMEL convenes a course titled Environmental Law for Non-Lawyers, on offer to postgraduate students registered in other Faculties at UCT. The course is convened by Sandy Paterson. Students enrolling in the course typically come from the Faculties of Science, Engineering and the Built Environment, and Humanities.
The final seminar week for the International Environmental Law Course came to a close in early October. In the second seminar week students were introduced to the international legal framework relevant to hazardous substances, activities and waste; biological diversity (both in the terrestrial and marine context); freshwater resources; and finally the Antarctic and Arctic regions.
Amanda Mkhonza, Olivia Rumble and Sandy Paterson all attended and presented papers at the Annual Environmental Law Association’s Conference held near Durban in September. The theme of this year’s conference was “25 Years of Environmental Law under a New Constitution”.
IMEL partnered with the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit and the Judicial Institute for Africa to run a week-long course in August for thirty judges selected from 11 countries in Southern Africa on environmental law.
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.
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.