Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

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Law, Environment and Development: the case of dumping in Panama Bay

Felix WING SOLIS student laureate

°1971 Panama
Licence in law and political sciences, Universidad de Panamá, 2002

Derecho, Ambiente y Desarrollo: El caso de los rellenos sobre la Bahía de Panamá

This work describes and analyses general principles of environmental law and the Panamanian Constitution and thus touches on Panamanian environmental law in its very first phases of formation. Central to this are the framework law for the environment and the associated rules for environmental impact assessment. This initial environmental legislation is a reflection of an equally initial environmental policy. The author links such things as the structure of environmental administration and the wider context of environmental legislation (including the advisory council) to this legal framework. The last chapter contains a prototypical example of “concessionary companies” which do not consider themselves constrained by the environmental laws of the countries in which they operate. A detailed case study in Panama Bay demonstrates in an almost dramatic way how little effect the regulations of environmental impact assessment have in the protection of the essential “commons” – public properties in Panamanian law.
In this thesis a concise but fair and critical examination of the concept of sustainable development is given. In particular the section dealing with sustainable development in Panama provides an interesting image that is recognizable in South America. The situation in Panama is also almost typical of many developing countries.
The work concludes with a list of 15 decisions and 11 recommendations aimed at improving the present situation. Conspicuous among them are the plea for internalisation and the role of NGOs, the demand for an integrated environmental administration and a more positive role for international funding mechanisms

report by Prof. Dr L. Hens, Department of Human Ecology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium