The side event to the 2024 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development addressed the key trends, gaps and opportunities related to environmental rule of law, including those identified in the UNEP’s second environmental rule of law report and the work on environmental justice under auspices of the UNECE Aarhus Convention and UNDP.

About this Event

The world is facing the triple existential threats of climate change, catastrophic loss of biodiversity, and pollution. This is compounded by structural injustices, inequalities and emerging human rights challenges. Efforts to attain SDGs, in particular Goals 13 and 16, and efforts to address environmental degradation can mutually reinforce and complement each other.

In the face of this challenge, environmental rule of law has never been more important or relevant. Environmental rule of law provides an essential toolbox of approaches for strengthening the implementation and enforcement of and compliance with environmental law. It empowers us to fortify the application, strengthen enforcement, and ensure better environmental actions for the planet for both present and future generations.

The event addressed the key trends, gaps, and opportunities related to environmental rule of law, including those identified in the UNEP’s second environmental rule of law report, Environmental Rule of Law: Tracking Progress and Charting Future Directions, and the work undertaken under auspices of the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) and UNDP on Environmental Justice.

The event brought together environmental law experts and senior judiciary from the region to discuss access to justice as one of the cornerstones of environmental rule of law contributing to the region’s efforts in achieving SDGs 13 and 16 through addressing environmental and climate change challenges, reducing inequality, building trust and strengthening accountability of institutions.


By order of intervention.


Director, Europe Office, UN Environment Programme

Soo-Young HWANG

Legal Officer, UN Environment Programme


President, Constitutional Court of Belgium; Chair, Aarhus Convention Task Force on Access to Justice & President, European Union Forum of Judges for the Environment

Christina VOIGT

Chair, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law; Professor of Law, University of Oslo & Co-chair of the Paris Agreement´s Compliance and Implementation Committee


Judge of the Supreme Court of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina


Advocacy and Policy Coordinator, Youth and Environment Europe and the European ECO Forum


Rule of Law, Security, and Human Rights Policy Specialist, UN Development Programme | Moderator



Live via Webex

RFSD 2024

The Regional Forum for Sustainable Development 2024 will take place in Geneva on 13 and 14 March 2024, preceded by pre-meetings on 11 and 12 March. While taking place at a time of multiple crises, including the triple planetary crisis, in recognition of the strong affirmation of the 2030 Agenda at the SDG Summit, Governments and Stakeholders across the UNECE region are now looking for impactful, innovative and crisis-resilient policies and solutions to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Against this background, the theme for the 2024 Regional Forum is: Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Economic Commission for Europe region in times of multiple crises: The effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions”.