8. Legal Indicators


The objective of this programme is:

  • to study, at the national, international and comparative levels, the legalization of the rights of future generations, its forms and its theoretical and practical consequences on Environmental Law, on the objectives of Sustainable Development and on all human rights,
  • to develop a methodology for the scientific measurement of the implementation of the right of future generations using legal indicators to assess the effectiveness of this right,
  • experiment this new public policy evaluation tool in France, Africa and South America,
  • to contribute to international research on the refinement of the indicators of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or SDG 2030,
  • give civil society, regional and local authorities and the State the means to verify that existing national, regional and international legal texts effectively contribute to protecting the environment and the rights of future generations,
  • to enable States to better measure their progress and no longer make reforms “blindly”.

This programme is based on the unprecedented work of Professor Michel Prieur: “Legal Indicators, Tools for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Environmental Law” published online free of charge in 2018 by the IFDD, OIF, IUCN, CIDCE and CEDEOA and on the thesis of Julien Bétaille, lecturer at the University of Toulouse: The legal conditions for the effectiveness of the norm in domestic public law: illustrations in urban planning and environmental law  (“Les conditions juridiques de l’effectivité de la norme en droit public interne: illustrations en droit de l’urbanisme et de l’environnement“), Limoges, 2012.

A multidisciplinary working group of ten French and four foreign researchers representing three continents (Brazil, Spain, Portugal and Tunisia): jurists, legal historian, ecologist, sociologist, politician and mathematician, met at the MRSH in Caen in 2019 (January 9 and 30, February 6, and November 22-23) to present the origin and usefulness of legal indicators as well as the bases of their mathematical and graphical representation. A demonstration programme was adopted to test the drafting of two questionnaires setting out legal indicators and intended to be submitted to a panel of regional and national stakeholders representative of the persons and institutions concerned by the implementation of Environmental Law.

The legal leadership of this programme is provided by Professor Michel Prieur, President of the International Centre for Comparative Environmental Law (CIDCE), an international NGO with special consultative status alongside the United Nations, the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Organisation of the Francophonie. The Direction of the mathematical part of the measurement is provided by Christophe Bastin, Engineer and founder of the engineering and consulting company “SIC Nouvelle-Aquitaine”.

In order to address the legal indicators in both their national and international dimensions, the themes to be demonstrated in 2020 are -a national protected area and- the Sustainable Development Goal 14 concerning aquatic life and oceans. The demonstration takes place on the basis of a questionnaire for France that the three partners from Brazil, Portugal and Tunisia have to adapt to their national law and to the local modalities of implementation of the legal texts.

The protected area chosen in France is the National Reserve of the Forest of Cerisy (Normandy) managed by the national forest office. For Brazil: the Federal Ecological Reserve of Carijos in Florianopolis. For Portugal: the Ramsar and Natura 2000 Paul de Arzila nature reserve and for Tunisia: the Ichkeul National Park.

The discussion of the contents of the two questionnaires will take place by video conference on the following dates: April 20 and 27, May 4, 11, 18 and 25 2020.

The questionnaires will be submitted for France to regional and national stakeholders in June. Brazil, Portugal and Tunisia will make the answers to their questionnaires available at the end of October so that they can be analysed and measured by the end of 2020.

The programme will continue in 2021 with a second round of experimentation on other topics of national and international environmental law and on another SDG in order to improve the methodology used. The following themes are envisaged with a view to guaranteeing the rights of future generations: legal status of environmentally displaced persons, climate change, biodiversity loss, human right to the environment, sustainable cities, justice and peace. The implementation of legal indicators will also be illustrated in the special review of the effectiveness of a universal convention: the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and two regional conventions: the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols on the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and the Escazu Convention on Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice on Environmental Issues in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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