MENA Environmental Law Conference in Oman Focuses on Sustainable Economy Goals


Held under the patronage of H.E. Prof. Mahad bin Said bin Ali Ba Awain, Minister for Labour of Oman, the conference featured a keynote lecture by H.E. Dr Abdullah bin Ali Al Amri, Chairman of Environment Authority, Oman...reports Asian Lite News

Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) College of Law collaborated with Sohar University and the Association of Environmental Law Lecturers in Middle East and North African Universities (ASSELLMU) to jointly host the 5th MENA Environmental Law and Policy Scholars’ Conference from February 19-20, 2024, in Sohar, Oman.

Organized under the theme “Environmental Law and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Legislation Towards a Sustainable Economy in the MENA Region,” the conference brought together leading environmental educators, administrators, and legal practitioners to exchange knowledge, experience, and learn from each other on how to advance the attainment of the SDGs in the MENA region by the global target date of 2030.

Through workshops and seminars, the participants highlighted national, regional, and international aspects of accelerating the SDGs, including the status of teaching and practice of environmental law and the green economy in MENA countries, as well as domestic and regional approaches to environmental law and practice.

Held under the patronage of H.E. Prof. Mahad bin Said bin Ali Ba Awain, Minister for Labour of Oman, the conference featured a keynote lecture by H.E. Dr Abdullah bin Ali Al Amri, Chairman of Environment Authority, Oman. Several prominent figures also gave conference keynote addresses, including Dr. Hamdan Sulaiman Al Fazari,Vice Chancellor, Sohar University, H.E. Dr. Leila Chikhaoui, Minister of the Environment of Tunisia; Patricia Mbote, Director of the Law Division, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Philipp Bremer,  Director of the Rule of Law Programme Middle East & North Africa, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and Professor Attiya Waris, United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt, other international financial obligations and human rights.Speakers from HBKU College of Law included Dean Susan L. Karamanian,  Dr. Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, Professor of Law and UNESCO Chair on Environmental Law and Sustainable Development at HBKU, and Chair of ASSELLMU, and Tasniem Ahmed Elyass Hussain, third year Juris Doctor (J.D.) student and Research Fellow to the UNESCO Chair at HBKU. 

Speaking after the conference, Dean Karamanian noted: “The ASSELLMU conference at Sohar University was the 5th international conference organized by the College of Law  and ASSELLMU. Attendees came from Morocco, Iran, and many places in between. The support of Sohar University was outstanding, as faculty, students, and staff there welcomed international guests. The University venue enabled an open discussion about pressing issues related to environmental law.  We are deeply indebted to Sohar University and my colleague, Dr. Damilola Olawuyi, for their dedication to helping build and sustain a network of MENA legal academics and lawyers who are committed to improving capacity in environmental law.”  UNEP and SADER Legal Publishing sponsored the conference, while the UNESCO Chair on Environmental Law and Sustainable Development, HBKU, and the Rule of Law Programme Middle East & North Africa, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung served as partners.“This year’s landmark conference has greatly highlighted the important roles of environmental education and research in accelerating the SDGs and  addressing the urgent ecological threats facing the world. As new and cleaner technologies emerge, a talented and environmentally-aware workforce will be required to leverage them in all key economic sectors.

We commend Sohar University for their exceptional commitment to education and innovation in this regard and we look forward to working with them and other partners in promoting environmental law education and implementation across the region.” said Dr. Olawuyi, SAN.A significant outcome of the conference was the official adoption of a work plan of environmental training and education which will include focused research in five thematic areas: Technology and the Green Economy; Business, Human Rights and the Environment; Environmental Dispute Resolution; Food, Agriculture and Water Security; and Energy and Natural Resources. A scientific committee was inaugurated to prioritize this mandate. ASSELLMU’s next conference is scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia in 2025.HBKU’s College of Law continues to work closely with top-tier local and international partners to help build expertise and research capacity in Qatar and beyond. Carefully designed auxiliary programs reflect the College’s relevance to government and corporate leaders, locally and globally.

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