International conference of judges on access to environmental justice

September 18, 2023

Opening remarks by UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Alexandra Solovieva 


Salamarsyzdarby urmattuu jororku darajaluu konoktor (Good morning, Dear high level guests)

Your Excellency Mr. ecretary of State of the Kyrgyz Republic

Excellency Mr. Speaker of Parliament

Excellency Mr. Chief Justice of Supreme Court

Distinguished intenational and national guests and development partners

Ladies and gentlemen, 


Good morning, on behalf of UNDP it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this milestone event, the International Environmental Justice Judges Conference, organized by the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Association of Judges of Kyrgyzstan, with support from UNDP Kyrgyzstan and USAID.

Firstly, I would like to commend and thank our longstanding partner, the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic for initiating and hosting this timely event to promote environmental justice.

I would also like to thank our partners, UNECE, and the governments of the Netherlands and Finland for their technical and financial contributions. 

In my welcoming remarks, I would like to address three key messages:

          1. The Importance of Environmental Justice: Our world is currently grappling with a triple planetary crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. These crises go beyond just environmental concerns; they present challenges for sustainable development, justice, and human rights. We need to rethink how we address environmental issues, by integrating justice, human rights and the environment together for people centered solutions. 

          2. The Pivotal Role of the Judiciary: These gathering highlights the judiciary's pivotal role in upholding environmental justice. Judges play a crucial part in interpreting and enforcing environmental laws, ensuring regulatory compliance, holding violators accountable, and delivering justice to those affected by environmental harm.    

          3. Global and Regional Trends and National Initiatives: Worldwide, judiciaries are mobilizing to advance environmental justice. The coming together of judiciaries across Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, offers a unique opportunity to harmonize with these global trends, exchange invaluable insights, and collaboratively address the triple planetary crisis through a strengthened network of judges actively advancing environmental justice. 

As highlighted by UNDP Administrator Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP is increasingly emphasizing the rights of future generations, including through UNDP’s first-ever global strategy on environmental justice. It supports countries in implementing the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment at the national level.

This event responds to Kyrgyzstan's environmental policies and priorities in line with the National Development Program of 2026 and the Presidential Decree on "Environmental Security and Climate Resilience in Kyrgyzstan" from 2021. 

I would like to mention that UNDP, guided by its commitment to human rights based approach, actively supports environmental justice through many initiatives.

As an example of our work, we are working to provide access to safe and clean drinking water as a universal human right. We are also working to integrate environmental and human rights principles into mining sector governance, particularly raising awareness and access to information, in line with the Aarhus Convention.  

UNDP's Climate Promise operates in over 120 countries, representing one of the world's most extensive supports to countries' commitments to combat climate change. This transition towards a green economy must prioritize human rights to ensure a just transition away from fossil fuels to meet our climate targets. In addition, UNDP, in collaboration with 40 governments, including Kyrgyzstan, is developing National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights which aims to ensure the private sector advances, and doesn’t undermine, our human rights and environmental objectives.

I would like to emphasize that UNDP is committed to working with justice and environmental partners to strengthen environmental justice mechanisms and capacity-development for justice actors through our new initiative here in Kyrgyzstan, together with the Association of Judges and Aarhus centres which was launched in January this year. 

In conclusion, it is imperative to acknowledge that environmental justice is fundamental for sustainable development, with the judiciary playing a pivotal role. UNDP, as a committed partner, bridges global trends with regional and national contexts, placing people at the center of our approach to addressing environmental issues. Together, we can transform the principles of environmental justice into lasting and meaningful impacts on the lives of people.

Thank you for your kind attention and let us remain steadfast in our commitment to champion environmental justice, both on the international stage and here in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Choon rakhmant! (Thank you so much)