Environmental Law

 

The West African Region and the Right to a Satisfactory Environment

 

By Ojiaka Chigoziri, Lecturer at Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, Faculty of Law, ImoState University Owerri, Imo State Nigeria; LL.B(UNN) LL.M(Unilag), Ph.D researcher  at Imo State University; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Abstract

African states are being ravaged and swept off by environmental degradation and pollution which has health hazards that threaten livelihoods. Various environmental challenges reared their ugly heads and have contributed to insecurity and massive migration through West Africa. Environmental challenges like deforestation, desertification, flooding, erosion, drought, disappearance of coastal reeves, which affect fishing activities, low agricultural yields, abound in the world and in Africa. Some of these are as a result of human activities while some are natural. The African Charter had the foresight to provide for the right to a satisfactory environment in Article 24. The African Commission and the African Court are to give effect to this right through its interpretations and decisions. The Economic Community of West African States Court tried to give effect to this right in a number of cases.  This article examined the import of Article 24 of the Charter and how the Commission and the ECOWAS court gave effect to that provision. It concluded that more effort needs to be made to ensure that State Parties keep to their obligations towards the actualization of the provisions of the Charter. More importantly, democratic principles must be entrenched as a tool for good governance which will translate to the enjoyment of human rights in West Africa.

Key words: Environment, degradation, livelihood, health, pollution.

 

Introduction:

Environmental pollution and degradation have become a popular subject in global and regional discuss in recent times. It is estimated that about 70% increase in carbon dioxide[1] emissions will increase the surface temperature by 3 - 6 degrees centigrade by 2050 if no drastic measures are taken to stop environmental degradation.[2]The earth will be uninhabitable if this happens. Environmental pollution and degradation constitute harm to the climate which has led to climate change with its devastating effects. Climate change has altered the living environment and threatened livelihoods[3] which exacerbate poverty and underdevelopment; and has proven health hazards like cancer, pneumonia, lung infections, mental retardation, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases among others.[4]Research suggests that global warming could accelerate epidemics and diseases in the ecosystem.[5]Effects of climate change are experienced in West Africa and globally. Consequently, the globe has become warmer and has led to many challenges for Africa. There have been cases of drought in Africa where water became a scarce commodity and lead to loss of livestock and increased diseases for humans.[6]An estimated 9.5million livelihood was threatened.[7]South Africa’s Cape Town also experienced water shortage and drought in 2018, referred to as one of the world’s water crisis and attributed to population growth and climate change.[8]Some authors are of the view that though climate extremities were not the only cause of the drought, they were a major contributory factor to the droughts.[9] Niger in West Africa was not left out as it experienced drought that led to famine and refugee crisis for neighbouring countries.[10] Farmers now have low yields from their farms; many farmlands have become deserts;[11] cattle headers look for greener environment to pasture their flock; flooding has washed away some coastal communities and ravaged their farmlands; all these contribute to loss of livelihood and entrench poverty.

Christian Aid reiterates the relationship between poverty and climate change thus:

We hold a vision of a better world, free from poverty and climate change. Where everyone has enough to eat and live without fear of their homes being destroyed. But right now, millions of the world’s poorest people are feeling the worst impacts of climate change and experts predict more foods, drought and extreme weather patterns to come. For those living in poverty, this means more hunger, conflict and insecurity, and a more uncertain future for us all.[12]

The above observation succinctly encapsulates the ravaging poverty, hunger, food crisis, communal clashes, migration, conflict and insecurity arising from extreme weather conditions and climate change effect. Climate change no doubt exacerbates poverty and impedes human, economic and environmental development.[13] These and many other examples constitute the need for a ‘Save our souls’ call in Africa. According to Maathai, ‘Millions of Africans may become environmental refugees this century because of the effects of climate change.’[14]A European Commission – Joint Research Centre published a Report “World Atlas of Desertification – Rethinking Land degradation and Sustainable Management on June 21, 2018.[15] The report raised evidenced based alarm on land degradation and the need for urgent action. It confirmed that human activities have driven animal species to extinction, intensifies climate change and have led to internal displacement and food security issues. These examples and many more inspired the interest to share thoughts on the theme for this article and the need for African leaders to take environmental issues seriously.

The African region need to organise herself to surmount the challenges of climate change through strengthening the mechanisms for accountability and sustainable development. This will not be possible except the principles of good governance and lasting democratic principles are entrenched and sustained. On this note, this paper will analyse the extent of compliance with Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right; and explore the extent to which the African Commission and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)[16] Court have given effect to this lofty provision.

 

Conceptual and Theoretical clarification

Earth jurisprudence is an emerging legal philosophy proposed by Thomas Berry in 2001, based on the notion that the society has an outdated and harmful anthropocentric view rather than eco-centric.[17]This is known as an ecological theory of law and/or a critical legal theory.[18] Berry is of the view that the legal system remains exploitative of nature rather than being protective of the world from industrial economic destruction.[19]Man carries on recklessly without having regard to harmful destruction of the environment. This view is based on the fact that the law is meant to regulate human activities and protect from harm, but less effort is made to protect the environment.

Mugisha defined Earth jurisprudence as “a legal theory premised on rethinking law and governance to achieve the well-being of the earth and its inhabitants.”[20] This is based on a robust environmental ethics, regulation, earth justice and social justice.[21] The idea is to make laws that promote ecological integrity, prevent harm to man and its environment. Earth jurisprudence seeks a form of transition from human devastation of the earth to a mutually beneficial planet.[22]Earth jurisprudence is a legal philosophy comprising of the natural law and positivists law theories concerned about the interconnectedness of the ecosystem, the promotion of ecological integrity, towards the protection of all species in the earth community. The African Charter having made provision for enjoyment of the right to a satisfactory environment supports ecological integrity and a healthy environment. Environmental preservation is for the health of mankind and sustenance of the environment. The theoretical foundation for this work has been laid, the next paragraph will clarify some concepts.

‘Environment’ is a word that is laden with pluralistic definitions as environmentalists define it according to their own perception and concept. The controversy over its definition may be borne out of the wide range of ecological issues around it. Environment is derived from the French word environia which means surround, encircle or encompass. It can be seen as surroundings where organisms live. Environment is the physical, biological and socio-cultural surroundings of the world. In fact, it is everything around humans, both living and non-living. One of the broad definitions is by Rau and Woodsten[23] who described environment as “the whole complex of physical, social, cultural, economic and aesthetic factors which affect individuals and communities and ultimately determine their form, character, relationship and survival.” Suffice to say that environment comprise of all aspects of human survival and existence. Annan,[24] the then Secretary – General of the United Nations, while speaking at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, talked about the need to protect the environment thus: “We look to the environment for food and fuel, and the medicines and materials that our societies depend on. We look to it as a realm of beauty, and of spiritual sustenance.” This suggests that the environment is very important to humanity as it provides all materials necessary for the existence of humans and organisms including aesthetics.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines environment “as the entire range of external influence acting on an organism both physical and biological.”[25]  The Black’s Law  dictionary defines environment as the totality of physical, economic, cultural, aesthetic, and social circumstances and factors which surround and affect the desirability and value of property and which also affect the quality of peoples’ lives.[26]. Section 37 of the National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency of Nigeria[27] defines the environment to include: water, air, land and all plants and human beings or animals living therein and the inter-relationships which exist among them. This relationship must be symbiotic and protected in other not to force any group into extinction. The natural environment must be protected from all forms of degradation by human activities.

However, Olugbenga and Cogwezzy have a contrary view when they posited that the environment should not be seen narrowly as an ecological interface between man and environment but includes national security and human rights protection.[28] They argued that insecurity may arise in the natural environment through natural disasters like hurricane and rainstorm; global warming and air pollution; which may affect enjoyment of peace, human rights and national security.[29] The point being made is that human development activities caused environmental degradation which has consequently caused environmental insecurity. The impact of deforestation and desertification has resulted in ‘herdsmen’ clashes with farming communities as a result of inordinate quest for green grass land for rearing cattle. This is a major security concern that has resulted to killings in Nigeria and other West  African states.[30]

All these positions testify to the multi-dimensional status of the environment. The concept of environment being dealt with is the gamut of ecological issues, resource depletion, global warming and climate change.  It refers mainly to ecological environment and resources within it which needs to be preserved and protected for the benefit of man, animals, organisms, both living and non-living things within planet earth.

Environmental degradation is the process of progressive contamination, over-exploitation and destruction of the environment.[31] Degradation could be ecosystem imbalance, forest deterioration, fresh water degradation, soil degradation, air pollution and global warming; caused by emissions of smoke, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and other dangerous chemicals. Environmental degradation is defined as any change or disturbance to the environment perceived to be deleterious or undesirable.[32] It is a process through which the natural environment is compromised in some way, reducing biological diversity and the general health of the environment which can be natural or accelerated by human activities.[33]

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction described environmental degradation as the reduction of the capacity of the environment to meet social and ecological objectives and needs.[34] There is the need for a healthy environment that will serve the ecological needs of society while increasing the capacity of the environment to regenerate itself.

Maathai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner in her book ‘The Challenge for Africa’[35]succinctly captured the fact that environmental issues have become critical thus:

… Protecting and restoring ecosystems, and slowing or reversing global warming, are matters of life and death. The equation is simple: whatever we do, we impact the environment; if we destroy it, we undermine our own ways of life and ultimately kill ourselves. This is why the environment needs to be at the center of domestic and international policy and practice. If it is not, we don’t stand a chance of alleviating poverty in any significant way. Nor will we create for the African people a continent where security and progress can be realized.

This is in fact the challenge before African leaders, environmental degradation resulting from human activities needs to be halted using constitutions and regional instruments. Access to a satisfactory environment is the ticket to alleviating poverty, ensuring maximum security and developmental progress in Africa. African leaders must be poised to provide good governance through stable democracy and environmental issues must be recognised as part of human rights. The African Charter kick started this process by its provision in Article 24 ahead of any other regional document. What is remaining is for the African Commission, the African Court and the ECOWAS Court to give teeth and life to that provision, to save the continent from unsustainable ways of living.

 

An Overview of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right and its Mechanisms:

The African charter is a regional instrument adopted by heads of states of the African region on the 27th of June 1981.[36] The Charter is ratified by fifty-four member states of Organisation of African Unity[37] while thirty Africa Union States ratified the Protocol on the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, with Chad depositing its instrument of ratification in February 2016.[38]The OAU and the Assembly of Heads of States on the 9th of June, 1998 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso adopted the Protocol to the African Charter which established the African Court as a supplement to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The African Charter is a major attempt and milestone towards the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa. It has unique provisions as it recognises rights and duties; civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; and individual and peoples’ rights. The African Charter in its Article 24 provided thus: “All Peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development.” This provision is not specific as to its content. Its import is vague, ambiguous and needs to be clarified through interpretations by the African Commission and the African Court. However the Charter is extolled for its preservation African culture and values of communal life. It is not as individualistic as the other regional documents.

The African Commission was established by virtue of Article 30 of the Charter. It is a quasi-judicial body with a mandate to promote and protect human rights using the African Charter provisions. Article 45 provides for the promotion, protection and interpretation of the Charter and any other task assigned to it by the OAU Assembly. The Commission has the powers to sensitise and disseminate information on human rights; collect documents, undertake studies and research, organise seminars, symposia, conferences and encourage institutions to give views and recommendations to governments.[39]

The mandate to protect requires the Commission to take adequate measures to ensure that states do not violate citizen’s rights and adequate compensation for victims are provided when there is a breach.[40]The mechanism to actualise this is through the communications procedures which empowers individuals , Non-governmental Organisations or groups to write a petition to the Commission  complaining about the violations.[41] State parties may also complain to the Commission about another state party. The Commission on receiving the complaint communications studies it and if it complies with the provisions, accept it for consideration. They may invite other relevant parties to send comments on the issue. Where a violation is found, recommendation is made to the Assembly of Heads of States for redress. They may also settle disputes amicably.

The Commission may be called upon to interpret the Charter provisions at the request of a state party, an AU institution or organisation recognised by the AU. To this end, non-governmental organisations have over the years obtained resolutions on interpretation of some provisions of the charter.[42] The Commission is yet to adopt a laid down procedure for monitoring the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.

Authors described the African Commission and its relevance in diverse ways. Umozuruike was of the view that the African Commission was greeted with an array of criticisms right from its inception.[43] Udombana described it as a toothless bulldog that cannot bite; [44] while Ebobrah described the African human rights system as an eventful journey from doom and gloom. All these criticisms and expressions portray the uncertainty, the disappointment and yet message of hope characterizing the perception of people about the Commission. In a way, the lack of a court at some point and the non-implementation of the recommendations of the commission all lay credence to the above testimonies. The fact that the Commission will have to depend on the AU Assembly of heads of states for implementation may amount to depending on an abuser to bring succour to a victim.

 

How has the African Commission fared with the interpretation of Article 24 of the African Charter?

Article 24 provided thus: “All Peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development.”[45] This provision has been given both expansive and narrow interpretation. The charter did not explain the purport of the ‘satisfactory environment’. It did not also define the concept of environment in question. The environmental concept of ecological environment and resources that needs preservation and protection for the benefit of man, animals, organisms within planet earth, is hereby adopted as the simple meaning of environment. This concept therefore is concerned about not only human beings who may devastate the earth through unsustainable use of resources; but is also about the preservation of ecological symbiosis which exist between man and the natural environment, and protection from pollution and other harmful effects.

This symbiotic significance was acknowledged by Pope Francis in his Encyclical, where he called for an “integral ecology” and acknowledged an ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew who restated that human beings commit sin when they destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; stripe the earth of natural forest; destroy wetlands; contaminate water and air; degrade the integrity of the earth; all of which cause climate change.[46] This in fact is a moral burden on all humans, individuals and government to preserve God’s creation and not to destroy them. Illegal cutting of trees, pollution of water and stream and other forms of human activities that degrade the environment should be avoided.

Attempt is made to decipher the meaning of satisfactory environment. According to the Chambers 21st dictionary, satisfactory means being adequate or acceptable; something that gives satisfaction. Satisfy which is a verb from where the adjective satisfactory came from, means to fulfil the needs, desires or expectations; to meet the requirements or fulfil the conditions of and/or to compensate and atone for something. It can therefore be deduced that a satisfactory environment is adequately equipped to fulfil the needs of the people, their desires and expectations. That environment ought to make those around there comfortable. They need to progress and live harmoniously with nature. That invariably will abhor all traces of unhealthy texture or degradation.

Satisfactory environment has been interpreted to connote healthy environment. The question that comes to mind is, how does satisfactory environment translate to healthy environment? This question arises because an environment with aesthetics may look satisfactory without being healthy. It is also seen as a right to clean healthy environment. The attachment to health no doubt is reflective of the health implications of a polluted environment and not really about the aesthetic appearance or value of the environment. This brought about the linkage to right to healthy environment.[47] Also human dignity demands that a minimum standard of healthy environment is required for life to be preserved. Enjoyment of an environment that is healthy contributes to enjoyment of human rights and there is no disputing the fact that every human should have access to an environment that is conducive to health.[48]

For Akumah the right to a satisfactory environment ought to include sound environmental management and conservation as a way of maintaining environmental integrity.[49] The phrase ‘satisfactory environment’ is vague and not defined, so the help of the Commission and the African Court are required to give guidelines on the purport of the Article. This provision could be compared with the American Convention which additional Protocol of San Salvador in its Article II provides that “Everyone shall have the right to live in a healthy environment and to have access to basic public services.” ‘Healthy environment’ is easier to interpret than ‘satisfactory environment’ but the bottom line is that there is a protection for environmental rights whether satisfactory or healthy.

An assessment of the African Commission’s communications and interpretations will throw more light on the intent of the drafters of the African Charter relating to Article 24 provision. The Socio-Economic Rights Action Center[50] and the Center for Economic and Social Rights[51] sent a communication against Nigerian government to the African Commission at its 20th Ordinary session in 1996.[52] The allegation amongst other issues was a violation of right to a satisfactory environment contained in Article 24 of the ACHPR. They alleged that the Federal government failed to fulfil its obligation to protect the people of Ogoni in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria when it allowed the Oil companies to devastate the lands and sea with pollution from exploration and oil drilling without sanctions or monitoring. These pollutions posed a great health risk to the Ogoni people and affected livelihoods and economic activities of fishing, farming etcetera. It was alleged that the government condoned and facilitated the activities of oil companies when it failed to regulate and monitor the oil companies operating in Ogoni land. They also claimed that the government failed to protect the people from environmental harm and damage when they failed to conduct environmental impact assessment to ascertain the potential and actual risk to the environment and the health of the people.[53]

In its decision, the African Commission emphasised the government’s obligation to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights contained in the African Charter.[54] The Commission tried to clarify and interpret the right to a satisfactory environment to include the obligations of the government to provide access to information on adverse environmental impact or impending impact; an obligation to promote sustainable development and environmental conservation; to undertake environmental impact assessment before projects are embarked on; to encourage public participation in development process and a duty to prevent ecological degradation through pollution.[55]The Commission tacitly recognised the need for sustainable development that is not at the expense of or that does not sacrifice the need to protect the environment from harm. The Commission therefore found the Nigerian government in violation of the right to satisfactory, clean environment in Ogoni land of the Niger Delta region.

Though the Commission did not fully analyse the reasons for its decision logically, yet the   above communication remains a milestone in the attempt to throw more light on the import of Article 24 of the African Charter. The jurisprudence of the ‘rights’ content in African human rights system is further enriched and keeps developing. What can be deduced from the decision is that the Commission reiterated the indivisibility of human rights which encourages right to dignity of human person, right to life, right to peoples’ participation in decision making and of development. Also, the linkage to a healthy and clean environment is interconnected to other basic human rights. The African Charter somehow did not draw a demarcation between Civil and political rights, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and right to Development rather it adopted the interconnectedness of human rights.

 

The ECOWAS Court and right to satisfactory environment

The ECOWAS Treaty of 1975 established the ECOWAS for the purpose of Economic and regional integration of the states that make up the ECOWAS. The court is an organ of the treaty which was revised in 1993 to change the nomenclature of the court from an inter-state court that settled disputes between member states and their institutions; to include corporate bodies and organisations.  The ECOWAS Court of justice was established by Article 15 of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty.[56] The judgement of the court is binding on member states, institutions of the community and on individuals and corporate bodies.[57] The court’s decisions are final and have immediate enforcement status.[58] The Treaty mandated member states to protect, preserve and enhance the natural environment by adopting policies, strategies and programmes at the national and regional level.[59] Member states are required to establish institutions that will preserve and enhance the environment, control deforestation, erosion, desertification and other pests; and to cooperate with other states in event of natural disaster.[60]   

In 2012, the ECOWAS Court had the opportunity to take a decision relating to the protection of the right to a satisfactory environment in the case of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) v. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.[61] The applicants alleged that Shell Petroleum Development Company’s oil spillages amounts to violations of the right to health and adequate standard of living of the Niger Delta people. They alleged, among other things, that Nigeria has failed to protect and enforce the laws against perpetrators and therefore violates the right to satisfactory environment. The ECOWAS Court made a declaration that every state is required to take measures to maintain the quality of environment that satisfies human beings and enhance their sustainable development under Article 24 of the African Charter. The Court mandated Nigerian government to take appropriate measures to restore the Niger Delta environment and prevent further damage through oil spill.[62] The Court reiterated that the environment is essential to every human being; and the quality of the environment determines the quality of human life.   

The ECOWAS court’s recognition of environmental pollution as a threat to the attainment of a healthy environment is in tandem with the General Comment on the right to the highest attainable standard of health which stated that a healthy environment is a determinant of a healthy life.[63] That recognition applies to a community and not individuals which alludes to the fact that the right to Satisfactory environment is a collective right and not an individual right. This issue arose in the case of Osaghae et al v. Federal Republic of Nigeria[64] where the ECOWAS court was requested to assess the violation of Article 24 of the African Charter arising from environmental degradation and damage from oil spills, which is a violation of the rights of the Niger Delta people. The defendants raised a preliminary objection that the applicants lacked locus standi to represent the Niger Delta people since they applied as individuals. The court dismissed the case for want of locus as the right is a collective right not individual right. The right to a Satisfactory environment is concluded as a a Peoples’ right which must be claimed collectively.[65]

The implementation of the decisions of the ECOWAS court remains a great challenge just as that of the African Commission which stands as a testimony to the level of democratisation of the countries in the African region.[66]  Obedience to court orders forms a true test of democratic governance. The provision of welfare and protection of lives and property for the benefit of the people is the basic tenets of good governance and the whole gamut of the dividend of governance cannot strive if the environment is not conducive for good health.

The Court ought to develop an active strategy that ensures the implementation of its decisions. Part of such mechanism shall be encouraging environmental provisions as constitutional rights of member states; that will encourage internal mechanisms and effective institutions for the enforcement of human rights especially environmental rights within states. The above decisions are expected to open a flood gate of environmental demands flowing from the effect of climate change and the continual depletion of the ozone layer which has adverse effects on human activities and have left the world with desertification, drought, extreme weather conditions and food shortage leading to migration and its problems.

Advocacy has begun towards promoting an eco-friendly constitution known as ‘Eco Constitutionalism.’ This is based on the fact that many countries’ constitutions made no provision for ecological protection or rendered it unconstitutional as in the case of Nigeria that made Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria non- justiciable. This is a welcome development as such advocacy is required for a robust constitutional amendment that will make economic, social and cultural rights; development and environmental rights justiciable.[67]

The Commission has taken other steps to ensure that climate change and its effects are combated by its Resolution ACHPR/Res 153 (XLVI) 09 on Climate Change and Human Rights and a further action of setting up a Working group on Economic and Social Rights.[68] This group is to work with the Working group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations to undertake a study on impact of climate change on human rights in Africa which they were expected to present within two years.[69]Unfortunately, nothing has come out of this working group.

 

Conclusion

The right to clean, healthy and satisfactory environment is still evolving and must be sustained for the benefit of humanity and ecological integrity. The indivisibility and interdependence of human rights must be amplified to protect environmental rights. The African Commission has taken the initiative to ensure the protection of a healthy environment that is satisfactory but a lot more work is required to actualize that dream and give effect to the true intents of the drafters of the African Charter. Climate change is real and ravaging and must be taken seriously by the African states and the commission in other to protect the interest of the future generations.  The ECOWAS Court and African Union Court are expected to help out in the same direction whenever the call to duty arises. Concrete strategies must be mapped out on the implementation and enforcement of the Commission’s recommendations and the court decisions, for the right to a satisfactory environment to be realisable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References-

Articles

Akumah, E., ‘The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right: Practice and Procedure [1996] 168.

Berry, T., ‘Legal Conditions for Earth’s Survival’ in Mary Tucker (ed), Evening Thoughts: Reflecting        on       Earth as a Sacred      Community [2006] 106.

Bratspies, R., ‘Do We Need a Human Right to a Healthy Environment? 13 Santa Clara J. INT Law

Burdon, Peter D., ‘A Theory of Earth Jurisprudence’ [2012] Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy (37) 28       – 60.    

Johnson, D. L., Ambrose, S. H., Bowen, M. L. et. al., ‘Meanings of Environmental terms,’ [1997] Journal of Environmental Quality, 26,       581-589.

Kwede, F. M., and others, ‘Legal Challenges Arising from Continuously Emerging Insecure Environment,’      Law, Security and National     Development, NALT Conference [2017] 120. op.cit.

Matraeva,  L. V. & Goryunova, N. A (eds) ‘Methodological Approaches to Estimation of Energy Efficiency     within the Framework of the Concept of Green Economy and Sustainable Development’, vol. 7 [2017]       Intl.     Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, 231-239.

Morne Van der, L.,  ‘Considering the Interpretation and Implementation of Article 24 of the African  Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Light of the SERAC Communications’ (2003) 3 African Human  Rights Law Journal, 178;

Olugbenga, O. and Cogwezzy, M. ‘Legal Challenges Arising from Environmental Insecurity,’ Law, Security and National Development         [2017] Proceedings of the 50th Conference of the Nigerian Association of Law Teachers (NALT) held 11-16 June 2017 at Nnamdi     Azikiwe University, Awka, 99.

Sian, A. N., and others ‘Towards a Theoretical Framework for Studying Climate Change Policies: Insights from the Case Study of Singapore,’ [2017] Sustainability MDPI, Switzerland, 1.

Wondalem, H. A., ‘The Environment Under African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights ,’ Universal Multidisciplinary Research Institute Ltd, 220.      

 

 

Books and chapters in books

Akumah, E., ‘The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right: Practice and Procedure [1996] 168.

Berry, T., ‘Legal Conditions for Earth’s Survival’ in Mary Tucker (ed), Evening Thoughts: Reflecting        on       Earth as a Sacred Community [2006]

Bratspies, R., ‘Do We Need a Human Right to a Healthy Environment? 13 Santa Clara J. INT Law

Fitzmaurice, M.,  ‘Contemporary Issue International Environmental Law (Edward Elgar Publishing limited, 2009)170.

Kwede, F. M., and others, ‘Legal Challenges Arising from Continuously Emerging Insecure Environment,’      Law, Security and National Development, NALT Conference [2017] 120.

Maathai, W., ‘The Challenge for Africa: A new Vision’ (London, William Heinemann, 2009) 252.

Nnabue, U.S.F.,  Thematics on the Law of Development, (Applause Multi Sectors Ltd . 2017) 443.

Olugbenga, O. and Cogwezzy, M. ‘Legal Challenges Arising from Environmental Insecurity,’ Law,      Security and National Development [2017] Proceedings of the 50th Conference of the Nigerian         Association of Law Teachers (NALT) held 11-16 June 2017 at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, 99.

Rau, J. G. and Wooten, D. C. ‘Environmental Impact Analysis Handbook (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1980)

Sian, A. N., and others ‘Towards a Theoretical Framework for Studying Climate Change Policies: Insights     from the Case Study of Singapore,’ [2017] Sustainability MDPI, Switzerland.

Udombana, N., ‘Human Rights and Contemporary Issues in Africa,’ (Lagos, Malthouse Press Limited, 2003)       125.

Wondalem, H. A., ‘The Environment Under African Charter on Human and          Peoples’ Rights ,’ Universal Multidisciplinary Research Institute Ltd.

 

Cases

SERAC and anor v. Nigeria, Communication No. 155/96 ,

The Registered Trustees of THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) V. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ECW/CCJ/APP/08/09.

Oseghae and others v. Federal Republic of Nigeria, ECW/CCJ/JUD/03/17. Para 12.

 

Reports

Energy Access Outlook: ‘From Poverty to Prosperity,’ World Energy Outlook Special Report [2017

 

Statutes

National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency (Establishment Act of 2007) NESREA Act.

 

Regional and International Treaties and Conventions

African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right, 1982.

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Treaty  1975

The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

 

 

Thesis

Zarma, R. ‘The Role of ECOWAS in Addressing the Challenges of Ineffective Regulation of Transnational Oil Corporations in Nigeria.’[2017] A Thesis submitted to the College of Law, University  of Saskatchenam, Saskatoun, in partial fulfilment  of the degree of Master of Laws.

 

Websites

 ACHPR, ‘Resolution 402: Resolution on the interpretive and Protective mandates of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’      Rights, ACHPR/Res.402(Lxiii) 2018. <http://www.achpr.org>

 African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights [2016] ‘Chad Becomes 30th AU Member state to ratify the Protocol on the      Establishment of the African Court.’ <http://www.en.african-court.org-press-releases>

Akumah, E., ‘The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right: Practice and Procedure [1996] 168.

Amnesty International: Ground Breaking ECOWAS Court Judgment Orders Government to punish Oil       Companies over Pollution,” Press Release, 16 Dec. 2012 < https://www.amnesty.org-2012-12>.

Annan, K., A Speech by United Nations Secretary – General at the World Summit on Sustainable             Development in Johannesburg,       2 September, [2002] <https://www.un.org>

Berry, T., ‘Legal Conditions for Earth’s Survival’ in Mary Tucker (ed), Evening Thoughts: Reflecting        on       Earth as a Sacred      Community [2006] 106.

 Bosselman, K., ‘When Tow Worlds ‘Collide: Society and Ecology [1995]  http://www.globalecointergrity.net.

 

 

Burdon, P. and Maloney, M., Introduction to Wild Law [2015] 13 New Zealand Journal of Public and       International      Law,<http://www.earthlaws.org.au>.

Communication No. 155/96 , SERAC and anor v. Nigeria, Fifteenth Annual Activity Report <          http://www.achpr.org>

Energy Access Outlook: ‘From Poverty to Prosperity,’ World Energy Outlook Special Report [2017].   <http://www.ies.org>

Environmental degradation concept <http://www.wisegeek.com/what is environmental-degradation.htm.>       

European Union, ‘New World Atlas of Desertification Shows Unprecedented Pressure on the Planets natural resources’ [2018] EU       Science Hub<http://www.ec.europa.eu>

Fung, M. ‘The Right to a Healthy Environment: Core Obligations under the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural               Rights,’ Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution vol. 14, No. 1  (2006)  97 - 131 <https://www.jstor.org-stable>        

Mugisha, R., ‘An Introduction to Earth Jurisprudence in the African Context;’ being a presentation at the       Regional Symposium on       Public Interest Environmental Litigation titled, ‘Earth Jurisprudence: Emerging       Trends in Earth Law and Advocacy’, [2007]       Greenwatch Uganda <http://www.greenwatch.or.ug.files>.  

Otto, F. and Aalst, M. V., ‘Droughts in East Africa: Some Headway in Unpacking What’s Causing them’ [2017] The Conversation       <https://www.theconversation.uk> accessed 28/03/2019.

Pope Francis Encyclical, ‘Laudato Si’: On Care of Our Common Home, Vatican Releases of 18th June 2015. < https://www.ilcatholic.org-      vatican-releases.

Sharma, P. D., Concept of Environmental Degradation: Keeping World Environment Safer and Greener <       https://www.safeenvironment.wordpress.org>

The Economic Community of West African States was established by  a multilateral treaty signed by 16 member states  of West Africa       in  1975  in Lagos Nigeria, Treaty Economic Community of West African States < https://www.ecowas.int > 

The United Nations office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), hereinafter referred to as UNISDR.       UNISDR was created in       December 1999. It is part of the United Nations Secretariat and its functions       span the social, economic, environmental as well as      humanitarian fields. <https://www.unisdr.org>      

Umozuruike, U. O., ‘The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Suggestions for More Effectiveness,’ Annual Survey of      International and Comparative Law, Vol. 13,(1) Article 8 < http://www.digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/ann/survey/vol13/iss1/8>

UNFCCC:  ‘A guide to Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol’ [2002] United Nations; Institute of          Medicine (US) Forum on Microbial Threats. Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events:       Understanding the Contributions to Infectious Disease Emergence: Workshop Summary. Washington(DC):       National Academies Press; 2008, 2 Climate, Ecology and Infectious Disease.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Eastern African Drought Humanitarian Report No.3’ [2011] Relief       Web <https://www.reliefweb.archive.org>

VanderBerg , K., ‘A Harvest of Hope in Drought-Stricken West Africa,’ World Renew, 2012. < http://www.worldrenew.net-       westafricadrought >

Welch, C., ‘Why Cape Town is Running Out of Water and Who’s Next’ [2018] National Geographic, <        http://www.relay.nationalgeographic.org>

Wondalem, H. A., ‘The Right to Environment under African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right.’ [2015] Journal of International Law,       Vol. 2 (1) Universal Multidisciplinary Research Institute Ltd, 206 – 222; < https://www.ijoil.com/the-right-to-environment-under-      african-charter-on-human-and-peoples-right/ >  

Yakupitiyage, T., ‘A Triple Threat in Africa,’ [2018]Inter Press Services <http://www.ipsnews.net-2018-08>        

 



[1]  Carbon dioxide is known as C02 and will hereinafter be referred to as C02.

[2]  Matraeva,  L. V. & Goryunova, N. A (eds) ‘Methodological Approaches to Estimation of Energy Efficiency     within the Framework of the     Concept of Green Economy and Sustainable Development’, vol. 7 [2017]       Intl.     Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, 231-239;     invariably, this may lead to human extinction     from planet.

[3] Sian, A. N., and others ‘Towards a Theoretical Framework for Studying Climate Change Policies: Insights     from the Case Study of     Singapore,’ [2017] Sustainability MDPI, Switzerland, 1; Many lives are lost directly      and indirectly through flooding, tsunami,     deforestation and other natural disasters arising from climate      change.

[4]   Nnabue, U.S.F., Thematics on the Law of Development, (Applause Multi Sectors Ltd . 2017) 443.

[5]   UNFCCC:  ‘A guide to Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol’ [2002] United Nations; Institute of          Medicine (US) Forum      on Microbial Threats. Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events:       Understanding the Contributions to Infectious Disease      Emergence: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC):       National Academies Press; 2008, 2 Climate, Ecology and Infectious Disease.

[6]    In 2011 and 2012, East Africa experienced drought that led to food crisis in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and other countries in East African       regions.

[7]    United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Eastern African Drought Humanitarian Report No.3’ [2011] Relief       Web <https://www.reliefweb.archive.org> accessed 30/03/2019.

[8]    Welch, C., ‘Why Cape Town is Running Out of Water and Who’s Next’ [2018] National Geographic, <        http://www.relay.nationalgeographic.org> accessed 30/03/2019.

[9]    Otto, F. and Aalst, M. V., ‘Droughts in East Africa: Some Headway in Unpacking What’s Causing them’ [2017] The Conversation       <https://www.theconversation.uk> accessed 28/03/2019.

[10]  VanderBerg , K., ‘A Harvest of Hope in Drought-Stricken West Africa,’ World Renew, 2012. < http://www.worldrenew.net-       westafricadrought > accessed 15/04/2019.

[11]   Desertification has led to migration and instability in the African Continent. About 35% of lands within West Africa are under threat of       desertification which affects livestock, food basket, water and energy. See        Yakupitiyage, T., ‘A Triple Threat in Africa,’ [2018]Inter       Press Services <http://www.ipsnews.net-2018-08>        accessed 28/03/2018

[12]   Energy Access Outlook: ‘From Poverty to Prosperity,’ World Energy Outlook Special Report [2017].   <http://www.ies.org> accessed      20/01/2018.

[13]   An example is the wanton destruction of property and disruption of livelihoods arising from the devastatinghurricanes that rendered       people homeless in New Orleans, Texas and the desertification that led to       migration      outside some parts of Northern Nigeria.

[14]   Maathai, W., ‘The Challenge for Africa: A new Vision’ (London, William Heinemann, 2009) 252. 

[15]   European Union, ‘New World Atlas of Desertification Shows Unprecedented Pressure on the Planets natural resources’ [2018] EU       Science Hub<http://www.ec.europa.eu> accessed26/03/2019.

[16]  The Economic Community of West African States was established by  a multilateral treaty signed by 16 member states  of West Africa       in  1975  in Lagos Nigeria, Treaty Economic Community of West African States < https://www.ecowas.int >  accessed 19/4/2019. This       treaty shall hereinafter be referred to as the ECOWAS treaty.  The member states of ECOWAS are as follows: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape         Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

[17]   Bosselman, K., ‘When Tow Worlds ‘Collide: Society and Ecology [1995]  http://www.globalecointergrity.net accessed 10/01/2018.

[18]   Burdon, Peter D., ‘A Theory of Earth Jurisprudence’ [2012] Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy (37) 28       – 60.

[19]  Berry, T., ‘Legal Conditions for Earth’s Survival’ in Mary Tucker (ed), Evening Thoughts: Reflecting        on       Earth as a Sacred             Community [2006] 106.

[20]   Mugisha, R., ‘An Introduction to Earth Jurisprudence in the African Context;’ being a presentation at the       Regional Symposium on       Public Interest Environmental Litigation titled, ‘Earth Jurisprudence: Emerging       Trends in Earth Law and Advocacy’, [2007]       Greenwatch Uganda <http://www.greenwatch.or.ug.files>       accessed 2/03/2018.

[21]   Ibid.

[22] Burdon, P. and Maloney, M., Introduction to Wild Law [2015] 13 New Zealand Journal of Public and       International            Law,<http://www.earthlaws.org.au> accessed 12/5/2018.

[23]   Rau, J. G. and Wooten, D. C. ‘Environmental Impact Analysis Handbook (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1980)

[24]  Annan, K., A Speech by United Nations Secretary – General at the World Summit on Sustainable             Development in Johannesburg,       2 September, [2002] <https://www.un.org> assessed 13/11/2017.

[25]   Encyclopedia Britannica, op. cit., 354.

[26]   Garner, B. A., Black’s Law Dictionary (Thomas Reuters, 9th edition, 2009)

[27]  National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency (Establishment Act of 2007)      hereinafter referred to as       NESREA Act.

[28]   Olugbenga, O. and Cogwezzy, M. ‘Legal Challenges Arising from Environmental Insecurity,’ Law,      Security and National Development          [2017] Proceedings of the 50th Conference of the Nigerian         Association of Law Teachers (NALT) held 11-16 June 2017 at Nnamdi             Azikiwe University, Awka, 99.

[29]   Ibid. at 100.

[30]   Kwede, F. M., and others, ‘Legal Challenges Arising from Continuously Emerging Insecure Environment,’      Law, Security and National           Development, NALT Conference [2017] 120. op.cit.

[31] Sharma, P. D., Concept of Environmental Degradation: Keeping World Environment Safer and Greener <       https://www.safeenvironment.wordpress.org> accessed 11/09/2018.

[32]   Johnson, D. L., Ambrose, S. H., Bowen, M. L. et. al., ‘Meanings of Environmental terms,’ [1997] Journal       of Environmental Quality, 26,       581-589.

[33]    Environmental degradation concept <http://www.wisegeek.com/what is environmental-degradation.htm.>       accessed 02/03/2018.

[34]  The United Nations office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), hereinafter referred to as UNISDR.       UNISDR was created in       December 1999. It is part of the United Nations Secretariat and its functions       span the social, economic, environmental as well as      humanitarian fields. <https://www.unisdr.org>       assessed 10/10/2018.

[35]   Maathai, W. ‘The Challenge for Africa” op. cit.

[36]  African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 Rev. 5 21. I.L.M 58 (1982), entered into force on the 21 of      October 1986. This shall hereinafter be referred to as the African Charter.

[37]  The Organisation of African Unity shall hereinafter be referred to as OAU.

[38]  African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights [2016] ‘Chad Becomes 30th AU Member state to ratify the Protocol on the      Establishment of the African Court.’ <http://www.en.african-court.org-press-releases> accessed 25/03/2019.

[39]  African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ‘Establishment’ Information Sheet  No. 1, ACHPR Secretariat, 8.

[40]  Article 45 (2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, op. cit.

[41]  Article 56 of the Charter, ibid.

[42]  ACHPR, ‘Resolution 402: Resolution on the interpretive and Protective mandates of the AfricanCommission on Human and Peoples’      Rights, ACHPR/Res.402(Lxiii) 2018. <http://www.achpr.org> accessed 26/03/2019

[43] Umozuruike, U. O., ‘The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Suggestions for More Effectiveness,’ Annual Survey of      International and Comparative Law, Vol. 13,(1) Article 8 < http://www.digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/ann/survey/vol13/iss1/8> accessed      26/03/2019.

[44]  Udombana, N., ‘Human Rights and Contemporary Issues in Africa,’ (Lagos, Malthouse Press Limited, 2003) 125.

 [45]  Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right, op. cit.

[46]   Pope Francis Encyclical, ‘Laudato Si’: On Care of Our Common Home, Vatican Releases of 18th June 2015. < https://www.ilcatholic.org-      vatican-releases. > accessed 2/3/2018. The Pope in the same encyclical alsostated that “The human environment and the natural         environment deteriorate together, we cannotadequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to             human and social degradation.”

[47]   Fung, M. ‘The Right to a Healthy Environment: Core Obligations under the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural               Rights,’ Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution vol. 14, No. 1  (2006)  97 - 131 <https://www.jstor.org-stable>        accessed 8/4/2019.

[48]   Bratspies, R., ‘Do We Need a Human Right to a Healthy Environment? 13 Santa Clara J. INT Law

[49]   Akumah, E., ‘The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right: Practice and Procedure[1996] 168.

[50]   The Socio Economic Rights Action Center will hereinafter be referred to as SERAC; SERAC is a non- governmental Organization in       Nigeria with the objectives of conducting research, educating the public and        documenting violations of Socio-Economic rigts and       human rights in general. dedicated to 

[51]   The Center for Economic and Social Rights shall hereinafter be referred to as CESR; CESR is a non-        governmental Organization

[52]    Communication No. 155/96 , SERAC and anor v. Nigeria, Fifteenth Annual Activity Report <          http://www.achpr.org> accessed       20/6/2018.

[53]    See Paragraph 50 of SERAC decision

[54]    Paragraph 41 ibid.

[55]    See Morne Van der, L.,  ‘Considering the Interpretation and Implementation of Article 24 of the African         Charter on Human and        Peoples’ Rights in Light of the SERAC Communications’ (2003) 3 African Human         Rights Law Journal, 178; Wondalem, H. A., ‘The       Environment Under African Charter on Human and          Peoples’ Rights ,’ Universal Multidisciplinary Research Institute Ltd, 220;        Fitzmaurice, M.,         ‘Contemporary Issue International Environmental Law (Edward Elgar Publishing limited, 2009)170.

[56]   Article 15 of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty, (ECOWAS Doc: ECW/LEX/IV/2A/REV.3) ECOWAS Commission Abuja (2010) <       http://www.ecowas.int > accessed 18/4/2019.

[57]   Article 15(4) ibid.

[58]   Article 19 (2) of the ECOWAS Court supplementary Protocol A/P/1/7/91 of July, 6, 1991

[59]   Article 29, ibid.

[60]   Ibid.

[61]   Judgement No: ECW/CCJ/JUD/18/12

[62]   Amnesty International referred to this decision as ground breaking for holding the Nigerian government accountable for pollution       arising from oil spillage; Amnesty International: Ground Breaking ECOWAS Court Judgment Orders Government to punish Oil       Companies over Pollution,” Press Release, 16 Dec. 2012 < https://www.amnesty.org-2012-12>   accessed 20/4/2019.

[63]   See International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) General Comments No. 14 (2000) on the Right to the       highest attainable standard of health.( Article 12 of ICESCR, e/c/2/2000/4) para. 4.

[64]   Oseghae and others v. Federal Republic of Nigeria, ECW/CCJ/JUD/03/17. Para 12.

[65]  Wondalem, H. A., ‘The Right to Environment under African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right.’ [2015] Journal of International Law,       Vol. 2 (1) Universal Multidisciplinary Research Institute Ltd, 206 – 222; < https://www.ijoil.com/the-right-to-environment-under-      african-charter-on-human-and-peoples-right/ > accessed 20/04/2019.

[66]   Morne Van der, L., op. cit., note 55.

[67]   Already countries like South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, Burkina Faso and   Ethiopia made provisions for right to a healthy       environment in their constitutions. This will definitely make it easier for enforcement using local legal regime.

[68]   Resolution on Climate Change <https://www.achpr.org-sessions-resolutions> accessed 28/3/2019.

[69]   Resolution –ACHPR/Res. 342(LV111) 2016: Resolution on Climate Change and Human Rights in Africa