CSE's Work on Draft Legal Framework for Conservation and Protection of Inland Wetlands in South Asia
CSE has been researching on the state of waterbodies in India and South Asia. The research findings from India have been published in Excreta Matters: The Seventh State of Environment Report. It is clear from the research studies that there is no clear law for the protection of waterbodies, catchments and the feeder channels in South Asian countries including India. Recently CSE has also conducted a research study on restoration of cascading tanks in Anuradhapura district of Sri Lanka. CSE had organised several knowledge sharing seminar on the state of wetlands and lakes in different countries like Bangladesh (Dhaka and Khulna), Sri Lanka and Nepal and it was clear that there is a need of a legal framework for the protection of waterbodies in the South Asian countries.
CSE worked jointly with the Enviro Legal Defence Firm (ELDF) to come up with a draft framework legislation which may be presented to different law making authorities in the South Asian countries (including India). The framework has taken care of the loopholes of the existing laws and policies related to the protection and conservation of wetlands. The legal framework is the starting point for a set of activities that will include recommendations to the central and state governments about appropriate institutional and technical measures for wetland protection.
The process of finalisation of the draft involved the following steps:
Research on the existing policies and acts related to conservation, use and protection of wetlands in South Asia and other parts of the world
Development of questionnaire for getting inputs on the existing laws, policies and acts from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka
Review of the laws, policies and acts from the respective countries
Detailing of the case laws and its analyses
Development of the structure of the legal framework on the basis of structured advice from South Asian countries
Detailing of the framework following best practices and case laws
Consultation meeting with representatives from South Asian (including India) partners to analyse each section of the draft
Incorporation of the suggestions and comments in the draft and finalisation of the draft
CSE's consultation meeting was held on December 17-18, 2013, where eminent lawyers, legal advisers, prominent NGOs from different South Asian countries attended to scrutinise the framework and share their comments. The following persons attended the meeting:
Harsha Fernando , Attorney at law, Battaramulla, Srilanka
Sanjay Upadhyay, Advocate Supreme Court and Managing Partner, Enviro Legal Defence Firm, New Delhi, India
Saima Amin Khawaja, Progressive Advocates and Legal Consultants, Lahore, Pakistan
Leo F. Saldanha, Environmental Support Group, Bangalore, India
Bhargavi S. Rao, Environmental Support Group, Bangalore, India
Chakradhar Samineni, Save our Urban Lake, Hyderabad, India
Dr. Jasveen Jairath, Save Our Urban Lake, Hyderabed, India
Mukesh Dhungana, Assistant Professor in Kathmandu School of Law, Kathmandu, Nepal
Syed Mahbubul Alam, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Kameshwar Rai, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, New Delhi, India
Archana Vaidya, Indian Environmental Law offices, Gurgaon, India
Pratishthe Singh, Enviro Legal Defence Firm, New Delhi, India
Ridhima Pabbi, Enviro Legal Defence Firm, New Delhi, India
Suparna Jain, Enviro Legal Defence Firm, Delhi, India
Nitya Jacob, CSE, New Delhi, India
Sushmita Sengupta, CSE, New Delhi, India
Amandeep Kang, CSE, New Delhi, India
Hina Khan, CSE, New Delhi, India
CSE is putting up this draft as a working draft and inviting comments from NGOs, legal advisers, practitioners and researchers from South Asian countries.
We also request researchers, legal experts and NGOs or any one related to wetland from South Asian countries to fill up the questionnaire so that a detailed analysis of the laws/acts/policies/case laws related to wetlands can be made.