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ASEAN Chief Justices talk about environmental issues

Update: December, 15/2014 - 09:07
President Truong Tan Sang meets delegates attending the fourth ASEAN Chief Justices's Roundtable yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Khang

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam hopes to learn from other countries' experiences in protecting the environment, President Truong Tan Sang said on Saturday to delegates attending the fourth ASEAN Chief Justices' Roundtable.

Chief justices and senior judiciary members said they applauded Viet Nam's organisation of the roundtable, which focused on the role the courts should play in protecting the environment. The event allowed member countries to exchange expertise and share their laws on environmental protection, Sang said.

ASEAN, which has a population of more than 600 million, will become even more united and supportive when a common community is formed in 2015, Sang said.

Close co-operation among member countries will strengthen their ability to handle environmental challenges in the future, he said.

The two-day event, which closed yesterday, was organised by the Supreme People's Court of Viet Nam and the Asian Development Bank.

In his opening remarks at the event, Truong Hoa Binh, chief judge of the Supreme People's Court, said the negative impacts of environmental pollution are worsening in many countries around the globe. Leaders must combine their efforts to cope with these serious challenges, he said.

The roundtable took place at a very important time, as Viet Nam has recently increased its number of environmental protection regulations. The newly updated Environmental Protection Law is seen as an important legal tool for protecting the environment and boosting sustainable development.

Recognising its responsibility to the environment, the Vietnamese court system has started gradually improving its judgment skills on cases related to pollution.

Binh said the Supreme People's Court of Viet Nam has established a specialized group of judges in charge of the environment, organized seminars and participated in international forums to learn about other countries' experiences resolving environmental disputes.

He said he hopes participants will offer ideas for strategic co-operation on environmental protection and other fields so ASEAN can build a prosperous future.

Attendees also discussed how ASEAN countries' courts could work together to balance the rights of indigenous peoples with environmental protection, through programmes such as the Jakarta Common Vision on Environment for ASEAN Judiciaries and the Ha Noi Plan of Action.

Discussion also focused on deforestation, illegal logging and wildlife trafficking.

The ASEAN Chief Justices' Roundtable was established by Harafin Tumba, the chief judge of the Supreme Court of Indonesia. The first meeting was held in Jakarta in 2011. — VNS

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