The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) need be cognizant that to expect international environmental justice in our life time without an International Court of Environmental Justice is in fact a pie in the sky. There can be no guarantee of intergenerational equity on the ownership of natural resources without a legally binding environmental policy among nations, backed by an authoritative enforcement regime to adjudicate the protection of forests.

The reasons to make the United Nations environmental policies legally binding and to create an International Court of Environmental Justice are infinite. According to the World Bank, “in developing countries alone the net loss of forests area for 2000-2007 was 80,000 square kilometres per year”. Without strong supranational environmental court systems and effectively enforced policies, climate change and desertification will deny future generations both eco-services and the forest as we know it. The World Bank also estimates that “by 2100, the mean annual temperature is projected to increase by 1 to 5°C, with the poorest countries expected to bear the marginal surplus of the burden. Furthermore, the United Nations Water estimates that by 2025 180 million people in the world will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity”. This is no doubt a humanitarian threat for future generations which stems from our combined levels of current water consumption and pollution against the backdrop of international resource anarchy and the absence of legally binding policy and an international environmental court.

It is in the absence of an international court of environmental justice, intensification of the effects of climate change and dwindling levels of public awareness that the United Nations Association-Pretoria Chapter (UNAS-PTA), took up roles of volunteers, environmental activists and environmental educators during their Green Week so as to serve the only planet in the universe that can sustain life. Such movements are not only reflective of active citizenship but they are also crucial steps towards securing international environmental justice.

However organizations such as UNASA-PTA can only do so little in the world. The whole world owes it to future generations to make UN environmental policies legally binding, create an International Court of Environmental justice, and to eliminate the condition of absolute poverty and destitution which is an enemy to the spirit of greenness that sustains our natural environments so that we ensure that the commons will benefit even the unborn.

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