Constitutional Environmental Law: Giving Force to Fundamental Principles in Africa

Environmental Law Institute
Publication date:


Over the past decades, and especially since the 1992 "Earth Summit," many African countries have incorporated environmental provisions into their constitutions. But to date these tools have gone largely underutilized in Africa. Opening courts to citizens to enforce their constitutional rights strengthens the judiciary, empowers civil society, and fosters an atmosphere of environmental accountability. This volume-updated and expanded from the original 2000 publication-analyzes African constitutional environmental law provisions. It also examines cases from Africa and elsewhere around the world that interpret and apply such provisions. It explores how constitutional provisions of African states can be used to create real, enforceable environmental rights. A unique component of Constitutional Environmental Law is a CD-ROM that presents the full text of the various constitutions of 52 African states (excluding the territories of the Canary Islands, the Madeira Islands, and Reunion). The book highlights the provisions that may be used to protect the environment-as well as cases from around the world that illustrate opportunities for implementing constitutional environmental rights. Additionally, given the recently concluded, ongoing, and proposed constitutional reforms in various African countries-such as Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Swaziland-the book examines the opportunities that such provisions present for improving environmental governance, addressing issues of environmental and participatory rights, and ensuring implementation and enforcement.

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