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Keeping Them Honest

It is essential that a country put in place sound environmental policies and a suitable legal framework in a bid to tackle environmental challenges.

However laws and policies serve no purpose at all if compliance is lacking.

Monitoring whether or not environmental laws are complied with is a crucial element of environmental protection, though it be a mammoth task.

Compliance is quite important because environmental laws are primarily preventative, they basically constitute rules formulated such that environmental damage is either minimised or prevented if possible.

It is unimaginable that a state can trust that subjects will comply willingly, like all other fields of the law, monitoring is required to ensure that even the most unwilling gets a nudge in the right direction, if you will.

For compliance to be monitored effectively, the administrative make up of the executive division responsible for the environment should be sound. There should be the capacity required to set up committees, commissions of enquiry, and investigative measures. Proper monitoring may also involve mobilising communities to work in co- operation with authorities by reporting suspicion of non-compliance.

To further this course, there must also be laws that protect the identity and the general safety of whistleblowers. Lastly, the political philosophy of the government in place is very important. Unfortunately, in the developing world elections are not won on promises of environmental promotion.

Heavy reliance on foreign aid is increasingly being frowned upon by developing nations and developed nations alike. However this is one area where it is necessary, and should thus trump sovereign pride.

Progressive laws and policies are meaningless without compliance, likewise compliance can never be enforced effectively nor accurately measured if not monitored.


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