The role of non-state actors in the enforcement of environmental laws




Nwanisobi, Chinwendu Chikaodinaka

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Weak enforcement of environmental laws is a global trend that worsens environmental threats, notwithstanding the prolific growth of environmental laws and organizations worldwide. A significant challenge to the enforcement of environmental laws is the state actor’s lack of political will, which has motivated the involvement of Non-State Actors (NSAs). This study set out to determine whether NSAs influence the enforcement of environmental laws and the conditions under which non-state action has led to better enforcement. The study had three objectives. First, to identify the strategies used by NSAs in effecting the enforcement of environmental laws. Second, to explore the impacts of non-state action on Canadian environmental law enforcement. Third, to discuss the possible application of these findings to a different jurisdiction. I adopted a qualitative analytical approach using data collected from documentary analysis and interviews to answer the research questions. The focal point of this research is a case study analysis of the Wood Buffalo National Park (Canada), where NSAs frustrated by domestic setbacks to enforcing environmental laws chose transnational circumvention as the next best option. The thesis establishes that NSAs have assisted in efforts leading to the enforcement of environmental laws in Canada, and the conditions for success vary on a case-by-case basis.



Environmental Law, Non-State Actors, Indigenous people, Transnational law, Transnational Advocacy Networks, Law