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Environmental Dispute Resolution


The PCA’s Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to the Environment and/or Natural Resources ("Environmental Rules") were adopted in 2001. The rules were drafted by a working group and committee of experts in environmental law and arbitration. The Environmental Rules seek to address the principal lacunae in environmental dispute resolution identified by the working group. The Optional Rules for Conciliation of Disputes Relating to the Environment and/or Natural Resources were adopted in 2002. These Rules provide the most comprehensive set of environmentally tailored dispute resolution procedural rules presently available.

The PCA also provides guidance on drafting environmentally related dispute settlement clauses. See the Guidelines for Negotiating and Drafting Dispute Settlement Clauses for International Environmental Agreements for detailed information.

Panels of Environmental Experts
The Environmental Arbitration Rules provide for the establishment of a specialized list of arbitrators considered to have expertise in this area. The Rules also provide for the establishment of a list of scientific and technical experts who may be appointed as expert witnesses pursuant to these Rules.

Parties to a dispute are free to choose arbitrators, conciliators and expert witnesses from these Panels. However, the choice of arbitrators, conciliators or experts is not limited to the PCA Panels.

Multilateral Environmental Agreements
The Environmental Rules were drafted, inter alia, to serve as procedural rules for the resolution of disputes between States parties to multilateral environmental agreements (“MEAs”). To assist with the incorporation of references to the PCA’s Environmental Rules in the dispute resolution clauses in these instruments, the PCA participates regularly in negotiations facilitated by United Nations convention secretariats, such as Conferences of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Recourse to arbitration administered by the PCA is also among the dispute settlement options recommended in the draft International Covenant on Environment and Development, a model agreement developed by non-governmental organizations with the purpose of facilitating treaty negotiations in the environmental sector.


Emissions trading
In the field of climate change, the PCA actively promotes the use of its Environmental Rules in dispute resolution clauses in emissions trading contracts. The International Emissions Trading Association ("IETA") recommends the PCA Environmental Arbitration Rules in its various Model Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreements.

The PCA’s Specialized Panels, established pursuant to the Environmental Arbitration Rules, include emissions trading experts who are available for appointment to arbitral tribunals or conciliation commissions. The Secretary-General also maintains his own list of emissions trading experts. 


UNEP/PCA Advisory Group
Following on from previous work undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1998-1999, an Advisory Group convened by UNEP and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) met at the Peace Palace in The Hague on 2 and 3 November 2006, to consider recent developments, including the work of PCA, in the field of dispute avoidance and settlement concerning environmental issues. The working group issued a report dated November 2-3, 2006.