By Johnson Adebowale

Leading scholars and stakeholders in the judicial system have been pouring accolades on an energy law expert and global vice-chair of the International Law Association, Professor Damilola Olawuyi, SAN, who recently unveiled a book: “Environmental Law in the Arab States.”

The book provides a simplified toolkit for lawyers, investors, planners and policymakers to understand the emerging innovative and bottom-up approaches to environmental regulation across the 22 countries of the Arab region.

The 400-page book examines the essential features of environmental law and regulation in the oil and gas-rich Arab region. It fills a gap by providing a comprehensive account of the guiding principles and rules relating to environmental protection in the Arab region, taking an international and comparative approach.

It introduces readers to the latest developments of environmental law across the Arab region, including the applicable legislation and institutions on environmental protection, green finance, and climate technologies.

The impact is assessed in each of the major areas of environmental regulation, air pollution, water pollution, biodiversity, conservation of nature and cultural heritage, infrastructure development, and Islamic ecology. It also gives consideration to participatory and bottom-up legal strategies – focusing on transparency, accountability, gender justice, and other human rights safeguards.

Commenting on the book, the director of the law division of the United Nations Environment Programme, Prof. Patricia Kameri-Mbote, commended the author for providing a rare glimpse into a region where not many have information. She noted that: “The book will be valuable for comparative environment and development law scholars and for policymakers interested in the tractable questions of resource stewardship, sustainable development, and citizenry well-being.”

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Similarly, director, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, Prof. Bassam Fattouh, described the book as “a must-read for academics, practitioners and policymakers interested in the sustainable development of the Arab world.”

On his part, senior resident scholar, Arab Gulf States Institute, in Washington, United States of America, Dr. Robert Mogielnicki, said that: “The writer’s clear-eyed study on environmental law in Arab states is essential reading for those interested in environmental pressures facing the Arab region.

“In this expansive and comprehensive book, Olawuyi elucidates the key legal frameworks and institutions underlying environmental issues and his original work serves not only as an authoritative guide to environmental protection today but also a roadmap toward a brighter future.”

While reacting, Olawuyi thanked those who assisted him at Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), for their dedication and support, without which the publication would not have been possible.

He stated that “like Nigeria, many oil and gas-rich countries of the Arab world are introducing new legal requirements and standards on climate change, integrated waste management, energy transition and green infrastructure development and planning and failure to understand and comply with such emerging standards could pose significant legal and business risks for clients, and their lawyers alike, and may result in complex litigation.

The author also noted that: “This book provides a simplified toolkit for lawyers, investors, planners, and policymakers to understand the emerging innovative and bottom-up approaches to environmental regulation across the 22 countries of the Arab region.

“The book is prepared in a user-friendly style to enhance its utility among its primary audience, namely, students, corporations, energy ministries, law firms, arbitrators, courts and international tribunals before whom arguments over environmental requirements and standards often come for resolution.”