ELA Newsletter 2021-12

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9 April 2021


Draft Public Service Amendment Bill, 2021 – Gen Notice 186 in GG 44415 of 6 April 2021 – for comment and explanatory summary

Draft Public Administration Amendment Bill, 2021 – Gen Notice 187 in GG 44417 of 6 April 2021 – for comment and explanatory


Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation 103 of 1994) – Proc 11 in GG 44416 of 6 April 2021 – Schedule 2 amended



National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 317 in GG 44421 of 7 April 2021 – Amendment Regulations regarding Plastic Carrier Bags and Plastic Flat Bags, 2021 

Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act 21 of 2007 – GN 316 in GG 44420 of 6 April 2021 – Notice of the proposed revised exempted radio frequency spectrum for the Karoo Central Astronomy Advantage Area – for comment

Petroleum Products Act 120 of 1977 – GN R313 in GG 44418 of 6 April 2021 – Regulations in respect of the single maximum national retail price for illuminating paraffin published with effect from 7 April 2021

Petroleum Products Act 120 of 1977 – GN R314 in GG 44418 of 6 April 2021 – Regulations in respect of the maximum retail price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas supplied to residential customers published with effect from 7 April 2021

Petroleum Products Act 120 of 1977 – GN R315 in GG 44418 of 6 April 2021 – Regulations in respect of petroleum products published and GN R161 in GG 44214 of 2 March 2021 substituted with effect from 7 April 2021

Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act 87 of 1993 – GN 318 in GG 44423 of 8 April 2021 – Declaration of certain missile technology and related items as controlled goods and control measures applicable to such goods published and GN 491 in GG 42337 of 29 March 2019 repealed

Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act 87 of 1993 – GN 319 in GG 44423 of 8 April 2021 – Declaration of nuclear-related dual-use equipment, materials, software and related technology as controlled goods and control measures applicable to such goods published and GN 492 in GG 42337 of 29 March 2019 repealed

Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act 87 of 1993 – GN 320 in GG 44423 of 8 April 2021 – Declaration of certain chemical goods as controlled goods and control measures applicable to such goods published and GN 495 in GG 42337 of 29 March 2019 repealed

Mine Health and Safety Act 29 of 1996 – GN 326 in GG 44427 of 9 April 2021 – Guideline for the Compilation of a Mandatory Code of Practice for the Prevention of Flammable Gas Explosions in Mines other than Coal Mines published with effect from 1 May 2021

Mine Health and Safety Act 29 of 1996 – GN 327 in GG 44427 of 9 April 2021 – Guidance note on the Management and Control of HIV in the South African Mining Industry published with effect from 1 May 2021

Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 – Gen Notice 191 in GG 44427 of 1 April 2021 – Legal Practice Council: Rules published in terms of ss. 95(1), 95(3) and 109(2) amended


Eastern Cape

Nature and Environmental Conservation Ordinance 19 of 1974 and Problem Animal Control Ordinance 26 of 1957 – PN 1 in PG 4534 of 5 April 2021 – Determination of hunting season, daily bag limits and hunting by the use of prohibited hunting methods, 2021

Nature Conservation Act 10 of 1987 (Ciskei) – PN 1 in PG 4534 of 5 April 2021 – Hunting Seasons: Former Ciskei and Transkei

KwaZulu Natal

Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 – MN 6 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – uMhlathuze Local Municipality – Review of the Spatial Development Framework (SDF) for 2017/2018-2021/2022 – for comment

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and Local Government: Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000 – MN 7 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – Harry Gwala District Municipality – Amended Municipal Health Services By-laws

KwaZulu-Natal Planning and Development Act 6 of 2008 – PN 19 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – Consultation period on the draft consultation paper and norms and standards for spatial imperatives for public service infrastructure published in PN 36 in PG 2177 of 26 March 2020 extended to 14 May 2021

National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 – PNs 20 & 22 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – Additions to an existing nature reserve – Karkloof and Ncandu Private Forest and Grassland Nature Reserves

National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 – PN 20 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – Declaration of a protected environment – Central uMngeni Conservancy Protected Environment

National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 – PN 20 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – Declaration of a nature reserve – Cumberland Nature Reserve

KwaZulu-Natal Planning and Development Act 6 of 2008 – PN 21 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – Consultation period on the draft consultation paper and norms and standards for spatial imperatives for public service infrastructure published in PN 36 in PG 2177 of 26 March 2020 extended to 21 May 2021

KwaZulu-Natal Planning and Development Act 6 of 2008 – PN 23 in PG 2267 of 8 April 2021 – Consultation period on the draft consultation paper and norms and standards for spatial imperatives for public service infrastructure extended to 31 May 2021

Western Cape

Errata for Allocations to municipalities as reflected in the 2021 budget – PN 36 in PG 8413 of 9 April 2021



Ramah Farming v Great Fish River Water Users Association 2021 (2) SA 547 (ECG)
Water—Water rights—Trade in—Whether abolished by statute—Interpretation of provisions of statute dealing with retention and sale of water use entitlements—National Water Act 36 of 1998.

Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries v B Xulu & Partners Incorporated and Others (6189/2019) [2021] ZAWCHC 59 (30 March 2021)
“[1]  The matters requiring determination at this stage are an application for my recusal by Mr Barnabas Xulu, the fifth respondent in these proceedings, and B Xulu & Partners Incorporated (‘BXI’), the first respondent – a law firm at which Mr Xulu is a practising attorney, and, in the event of that application being refused, an application for leave to appeal against an order granted by me on 27 November 2020 confirming an anti-dissipation order made by Smith J, provisionally albeit with immediate interim effect, on 12 and 15 October 2020.
[2]  The anti-dissipation order is an interlocutory injunction in proceedings currently pending against Mr Xulu (‘the principal proceedings’) in which he has been required to show cause why he should not be declared jointly and severally liable with BXI to pay R20 242 472.90 to the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries (‘the applicants’). The anti-dissipation order was sought on the basis of evidence that Mr Xulu was disposing of assets in order to frustrate the ability of the applicants to execute any judgment they might obtain against him in the principal proceedings. As is usually the case in such matters, the application for the anti-dissipation order was brought without notice to the respondents.”


Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, et al v. United States of America, et al Case No. 6:15-cv-01517-AA Filed 6 April 2021
“After the Ninth Circuit denied rehearing en banc of its decision that youth plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their constitutional climate change claims against the federal government, the plaintiffs filed a motion in the federal district court in Oregon seeking leave to amend their complaint. The plaintiffs argued that the amended complaint cured the redressability issue that formed the basis for the Ninth Circuit’s decision. The plaintiffs contended that their amended complaint sought “only relief … that is traditionally granted and well within this Court’s Article III authority.” Specifically, the proposed amended complaint sought relief pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act and omitted requests for “specific relief,” including a remedial plan, that the Ninth Circuit determined would be outside the authority of Article III courts. The defendants opposed the motion, arguing that it was barred by the Ninth Circuit’s mandate, which included “unambiguous” instructions to the district court to dismiss the case, and that amendments would be futile.” [April 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

City of New York v. BP p.l.c., No. 18-2188 (2d Cir. Apr. 1, 2021)
“The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of New York City’s lawsuit seeking climate change damages from oil companies. The Second Circuit’s decision largely followed the reasoning of the district court’s 2018 decision. First, the Second Circuit held that federal common law displaced the City’s state-law public nuisance, private nuisance, and trespass claims because the lawsuit would regulate cross-border greenhouse gas emissions, albeit “in an indirect and roundabout manner,” and because state law claims “would further risk upsetting the careful balance that has been struck between the prevention of global warming, a project that necessarily requires national standards and global participation, on the one hand, and energy production, economic growth, foreign policy, and national security, on the other.” The Second Circuit then held that the Clean Air Act, in turn, displaced federal common law claims related to domestic emissions. The Second Circuit cited American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, 564 U.S. 410 (2011), as establishing “beyond cavil” that the Clean Air Act displaced federal common law nuisance suits to abate domestic transboundary greenhouse gas emissions, and found that Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., 696 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2012), provided “sound reasoning” for determining that the Clean Air Act also displaced federal common law damages claims. The Second Circuit also rejected New York City’s contention that the Clean Air Act’s displacement of federal common law claims resuscitated its state law common law claims. Finally, the Second Circuit held that although the Clean Air Act did not displace New York’s federal common law claims addressing emissions outside the United States, foreign policy concerns foreclosed such claims. The Second Circuit said holding the oil companies liable for “purely foreign activity” would “sow confusion and needlessly complicate the nation’s foreign policy, while clearly infringing on the prerogatives of the political branches.” [April 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, No. 2:19-cv-00256 (D. Utah Mar. 24, 2021)
“The federal district court for the District of Utah found that BLM failed to adequately consider greenhouse gas and climate change impacts of a proposed coal lease authorizing the expansion of a coal mine. Although the court rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that BLM performed only a “bare arithmetic emissions calculation” of greenhouse gas emissions, the court agreed with the plaintiffs that BLM could not set forth the project’s potential economic benefits in the socioeconomics section of the environmental impact statement (EIS) without analyzing the socioeconomic costs of greenhouse gas emissions together with climate change. The court did not, however, direct BLM to use the social cost of carbon in this analysis, finding that BLM was “owed some deference on the tools it uses.” The court also said it was not adopting a “categorical test that if economic benefits are quantified then economic costs always must be too, because, among other things, some costs may not accurately be reduced to numbers.” In addition, the court found that BLM failed to take a sufficiently hard look at cumulative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions because it did not substantively analyze present and reasonably foreseeable future sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The court declined, however, to impose a requirement that all federal or Department of Interior mining approvals be included in the cumulative impact analysis, leaving the determination of the scope to the agency’s discretion. The court rejected the argument that BLM did not take a hard look at mercury emissions. The court remanded to BLM but did not vacate the EIS or record of decision.” [April 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

Center for Biological Diversity v. de la Vega, No. 4:20-cv-00075 (D. Ariz. Mar. 17, 2021)
“Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society agreed to a settlement resolving their claims that federal defendants failed to take actions to protect the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service agreed to certain steps to inspect, maintain, and repair a boundary fence, and also to inspect riparian fencing and exclosures within jumping mouse critical habitat and to remove horses and cattle when they are found within exclosures. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to prepare a draft recovery plan for the jumping mouse by the end of January 2022, and to finalize the plan by the end of January 2023. The plaintiffs alleged that the jumping mouse’s habitat was threatened by drought and wildfires, both exacerbated by climate change; the Forest Service viewed climate change effects as part of the baseline, not as a result of the management plan for the national forest.” [April 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Forest Service, No. 2:17-cv-00372 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 8, 2021).
“A year after finding that the U.S. Forest Service and BLM failed to take a hard look at the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in the Wayne National Forest, the federal district court for the Southern District of Ohio remanded without vacatur the environmental assessment, finding of no significant impact, and consent to lease for additional analysis of surface area disturbance, cumulative impacts on the Indiana Bat and Little Muskingum River, and air quality impacts. The complaint alleged failure to consider climate change effects on the forest and protected species, but the court’s decisions did not address those issues.” [April 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, No. 1:21-cv-00791 (D.D.C., filed Mar. 25, 2021)
“Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in federal court in the District of Columbia challenging the reclassification of the American burying beetle from “endangered” to “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. CBD alleged that the reclassification “eliminates key substantive protections” while the species faces the “same dire threats” it faced when it was listed in 1989, and that the species was now “at even greater risk of extinction due to climate change.” The complaint alleged that the beetle was at most risk from climate change in the Southern Plains due to increased average soil temperatures that will make large areas of potential habitat uninhabitable, and that there were also threats to other geographical populations, including the New England population, in the longer term. The complaint asserted claims under the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.” [April 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

Association for Protection of Democratic Rights v. The State of West Bengal and Others (Supreme Court of India)
“On March 25, 2021, the Supreme Court of India issued an order establishing an expert committee to “[d]evelop a set of scientific and policy guidelines that shall govern decision making with respect to cutting of trees for developmental projects.” The order came in response to a petition challenging the government of West Bengal’s plans to cut hundreds of trees, some up to 150 years old, in order to construct roads over bridges and widen roads. In considering whether the plan was in accord with the constitutional right to a healthy environment and India’s sustainable development commitments, the Court emphasized the need to consider the impact of such projects on carbon sequestration and climate change. The Court noted “that the issue assumes significance from the perspective of climate change as a growing national and international concern” and noted India’s climate commitment to increase tree cover from 23% to 33%. The Court then constituted the committee, comprised of seven members, and instructed it to produce the guidelines within four weeks of its first meeting.” [April 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

Union of Swiss Senior Women for Climate Protection v. Swiss Federal Council and Others (European Court of Human Rights).
“In 2016, a group of senior women filed suit against the Swiss Government, alleging that the government had failed to uphold obligations under the Swiss Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights by not steering Switzerland onto an emissions reduction trajectory consistent with the goal of keeping global temperatures below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. On November 27, 2018, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court dismissed the case on the basis that Swiss women over 75 years of age are not the only population affected by climate change impacts. On November 26, 2020, the Swiss senior women filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the ECHR communicated the case to the Swiss government on March 26, 2021. According to Greenpeace, who are supporting the plaintiffs, the ECHR gave the case priority status and called on Switzerland to submit a response by July 16, 2021.” [April 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]



SACN “Profiling Intermediate Cities in South Africa” (Report April 2021) [provided by Anel du Plessis CLES]


Aidun Hillary, Li Julia, and Pereira Antonio “The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s Environmental Justice Promise” (Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Report April 2021)

UNEP “Neglected: Environmental Justice Impacts of Plastic Pollution” (Report UNEP 2021)

Blogs, Discussions, Websites, Videos, ETC

South Africa

Biodiversity, protected areas, culture

The Conversation:  Schoville B et al “Ancient southern Kalahari was more important to human evolution than previously thought” 31 March 2021

The Conversation: Helm C “Graffiti threatens precious evidence of ancient life on South Africa’s coast” 31 March 2021

Climate change and energy

Lexology ENS: Christie L and Lawrence Z “Companies must reach net zero emissions to stay relevant to investors” 6 April 2021

Climate Home News: “Emerging economies share ‘grave concern’ over EU plans for a carbon border tax” 9 April 2021

Daily Maverick: Yelland C “Powerships are right for South Africa, insist energy department and its Independent Power Producer office” 31 March 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 6 April 2021]

Biznews: Yelland C “Why powerships over renewables in emergency power programme?” 7 April 2021

Bizcommunity: Pines L “Climate change will be more disruptive than the Covid-19 pandemic” 8 April 2021

Bizcommunity: Zollner E “2 vital tools for carbon tax compliance” 7 April 2021

allAfrica: Planting S “South African Companies Scramble to Comply With the New Carbon Tax” 7 April 2021

Environmental enforcement

Bizcommunity: “Environmental plan for construction of SKA published” 6 April 2021

Local government

Daily Maverick: Shoba S “Pietermaritzburg: My city, my shame” 9 April 2021


Mining Weekly: Creamer M “Exploration industry has tight deadline to comment on controversial draft regulations” 9 April 2021



Bizcommunity: Francis M “’Sacred forests’ in West Africa capture carbon and keep soil healthy” 9 April 2021

allAfrica: Kairu P “Africa: Elephants Occupy Less Rangelands Due to Poaching, Human Pressure” 9 April 2021

allAfrica: Harris P “Africa: Greenpeace Africa Welcomes New Law On the Rights of Congolese Indigenous Peoples” 9 April 2021

allAfrica: “Namibia: Forest Conservation a Global Priority” 8 April 2021

allAfrica: Shigwedha A “Namibia: National Bio-Economy Strategy in the Works” 8 April 2021

Climate Change and Energy

allAfrica: “African Presidents and Global Leaders Back Bold Action On Climate Change Adaptation for Africa” 8 April 2021

allAFrica: Nittin KS and Geerts S “Africa: Climate Mapping Can Point to Danger Spots Where New Pest Threatens Africa’s Cycads” 7 April 2021

Environmental enforcement

Thomas Reuters Foundation: Blomberg M “Why Cambodia’s environmentalists fear new internet firewall” 6 April 2021

The Witness: “Six found guilty of animal cruelty after trying to smuggle donkeys to Lesotho” 8 April 2021

Local government

allAfrica: Ojok S “Uganda: Seven Villages Face Water Shortage” 9 April 2021


Lexology: Burnell M “Ensuring sustainable exits from African mining” 5 April 2021

Lexology: “African mining 4.0: An innovative sunrise for African miners” 5 April 2021

Extractives Baraza: Battersby A “Qatar Petroleum Pairs Up with Shell in African Ultra-Deepwater Blocks” 6 April 2021

Mail & Guardian: Hanlon J “Frelimo gambled everything on gas – and lost” 8 April 2021

Bizcommunity: “Eni makes light oil find in Angola’s Cuica prospect” 8 April 2021

Water, sanitation, oceans, and chemicals

Daily Maverick: Iyorah F “Waterpreneurs cash in on Nigerian government’s failure to deliver clean water to islanders” 8 April 2021

allAfrica: “Ghana: Caritas Ghana Builds Recycling Plant in Tamale” 9 April 2021

allAfrica: Mupesa C “Zimbabwe: ‘Name and Shame’ Corporates Violating Waste Management Policy – Media Told” 9 April 2021

allAfrica: Mutando A “Africa: Ethiopia, Egypt Disagreement Frustrates African Search for Nile Solution” 8 April 2021


Thomas Reuters Foundation:  Harrisberg K “Young Africans go online to preserve local languages, fight COVID-19” 1 April 2021

Thomas Reuters Foundation: Adesina A and Verkooijen P “Opinion: African agriculture is ready for a digital revolution” 6 April 2021

Thomas Reuters Foundation: Chandran R “Indonesia’s tourism mega-project ‘tramples’ on human rights, U.N. says” 2 April 2021

allAfrica: “Nigeria: Bayelsa’s New Grazing Law Seeks to End Herders/Farmers Clashes” 9 April 2021


Biodiversity, protected areas, and culture

Thomas Reuters Foundation: Chandran R “Indonesia’s map project ignores indigenous land, risks conflicts” 31 March 2021

Thomas Reuters Foundation:  Chandran R “India’s digital IDs for land could exclude poor, indigenous communities”  1 April 2021

New York Times: Olsen E “The Ocean’s Youngest Monsters Are Ready for Glamour Shots” 30 March 2021

Lexology: “Making peace with nature – Implications of a recent United Nations report on Canadian businesses, communities, and ESG” 6 April 2021

Lexology: “Colorado Department of Revenue Adopts Revised Conservation Easement Tax Credit Regulations” [USA] 5 April 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “Webinar Explores Trade Policy Mechanisms to Reduce Deforestation, Enhance Forest Conservation” 5 April 2021

Carbon Pulse: Streck C and O’Sullivan R “Ecosystem Marketplace – Shades of REDD+: The Risk of Diverting Carbon Finance from Nature to Technological Carbon Removals” 9 April 2021

Climate change and energy

d.i.e: Urban Decarbonisation Survey – for completion should you be interested

Climate Attribution: This database contains 311 scientific resources organized under four thematic umbrellas.

Lexology: “Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of New York City’s Climate Suit” 6 April 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “IRENA Presents Measures Necessary to Drive the Energy Transition” 7 April 2021

Lexology: “Spotlight: climate change law, regulation and policy in Germany” 4 March 2021

Lexology: “National direction and guidance under the resource management system on greenhouse gases out for consultation” [New Zealand] 8 April 2021

Lexology: “Spotlight: climate change law, regulation and policy in Colombia” 27 February 2020

Lexology: “Oil Industry Scores Big Win in Second Circuit Greenhouse Gas Litigation” [USA] 4 April 2021

Lexology: “New bill limits greenhouse gas emissions in another step in the decarbonisation of the Russian economy” 2 April 2021

Environmental enforcement

Lexology: “Recourse for USMCA Environmental Issues” [USA, Canada and Mexiko] 5 April 2021

Lexology: “Looking Ahead: Sustainability Opportunities in International Arbitration” 19 March 2021

Lexology: “In review: environmental protection regulations in USA” 27 February 2020

Lexology: “In review: environmental protection regulations in United Kingdom” 27 February 2020

Local government

Thomas Reuters Foundation: Graham J “Analysis – As U.S. cities embrace tech, cyberattacks pose real-world risks” 7 April 2021

Thomas Reuters Foundation: Heroy S “Opinion: What can cities learn from Colombia’s lockdown?” 7 April 2021

ICLEI: “Local governments are having a say in how their nations revise climate goals ahead of COP26” 7 April 2021

ICLEI Europe: “One year of COVID-19: ensuring green and just recovery” 30 March 2021

ICLEI City Talk: “How Belo Horizonte is educating on agro-ecology and urban agriculture” 1 April 2021

Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement: “Global Factsheets Exploring How Procurement can tackle the Climate Crisis” 25 March 2021

Lexology: “Het Schone Lucht Akkoord en de industrie: de overheid zet in op strengere emissie-eisen” [The Clean Air Accord and industry: government set stricter emission goals] [The Netherlands] 6 April 2021

Lexology: “Superior Court Decision Creates Uncertainty Concerning Municipal Harbor Plans” 5 April 2021

Water, oceans, waste, and chemicals

Lexology: “PFAS: Expected Litigation Trends” [USA] 5 April 2021

Lexology: “Plastics Waste Reduction Bill is Flawed, Says Industry” [USA] 6 April 2021

Lexology: “India Proposes Phase Out of Single-Use Plastic Items by 2022” 5 April 2021

Lexology: “Legal Environmental Insights: Episode 10 | Bringing New Disinfectants to Market: A Primer on FIFRA Dos and Don’ts” 7 April 2021

Lexology: “NSW the latest state to ban PFAS in firefighting foam” [Australia] 7 April 2021

Nature: Prentice A and Van der Perre C “Shrinking sea meadows store more carbon than forests. Scientists are racing to track what’s left” 8 April 2021

Lexology: “EPA Announces Important New Assumptions on Reviewing Chemical Use Under TSCA” [USA] 2 April 2021

Lexology: “Supreme Court to Again Consider the Interplay Between a CERCLA Cost Recovery and Contribution Action” 2 April 2021


World Health Organisation: “Call to Action: Vaccine Equity Declaration”

Lexology: “ESG Frameworks: Taking Green Bonds and Social Bonds Off the Shelf” [USA] 6 April 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “Governments Discussing Declaration on Recovering Better in Decade of Action for SDGs” 7 April 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: Chapman P and de Langen M “SDG 16 and the 2021 Voluntary National Reviews: An Opportunity to Advance Justice for All” 7 April 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “WTO Committee on Trade and Environment Discusses Efforts to Address Climate Change, Improve Sustainability” 7 April 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “ESCAP Forum Calls for Regional Cooperation to Avoid Greater Economic Divergence” 7 April 2021

Nature: “The world must learn from COVID before diving into a pandemic treaty” 6 April 2021

Lexology: “FSOC Considers Pandemic and Climate-Related Risks to the Financial System” 1 April 2021

Lexology: “How to comply with the Belgian regulator’s requirements in the context of SFDR (Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation)” 6 April 2021

Lexology: “United Kingdom: Human Rights Act Review: Signalling a rollback of regulation and judicial oversight post Brexit?” 31 March 2021

Lexology: “ESG Reporting as A Genesis of Fiduciary and Other Legal Obligations” [Singapore] 5 April 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “SDGs Could Be Pushed 10 More Years without Immediate Action: Financing Report” 5 April 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “CSOs, Member States Discuss Lessons Learned for 2020 VNRs” 5 April 2021

Conferences, Workshops, Study Opportunities


ELA Screening Club Event: The Adonisi judgment and issues of spatial apartheid surrounding the judgment
Date: 25 May 2021
More information 

IMBEWU’s Environmental Law Update Workshop
Online course: To book, email or call us on 011 214 0660
For more information about the course consult the website.

CBSS Training Courses in Water Governance scheduled for 2021

  • 17 – 19 August 2021, in Pretoria
    • Refresher (for those who attended previous courses): 19 August 2021
    • Early Bird discount applicable until 6 July 2021
    • Registration closes 20 July 2021
    • Only TWO (2) seats still available
  • 7 – 9 September 2021, near Stellenbosch
    • Refresher (for those who attended previous courses): 9 September 2021
    • Early bird payment before 20 July 2021
    • Registration closes 3 August 2021
    • Nine (9) seats still available
  • Mpumalanga, KZN and Eastern Cape: date and venue to be confirmed, depending on interest

You can register here

NWU: Unit for Continuing Education Short Courses

  • CEM-05.1.1 Environmental Impact Assessment: 10 – 14 May 2021
  • CEM-02.1.1 Environmental law: 24 – 28 May 2021
  • CEM-05.3.1 Environmental Risk Assessment: 7 – 11 June 2021
  • CEM-03.1.1 Environmental Management Systems: 5 – 9 July 2021

Contact Rosy Moloto: 018 299 2725 / Nonzuzu Seleka: 018 299 1470 for more information

South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law (SAIFAC):  10-part series on Climate Change Leadership: Bringing Science, People and Policy Together
Date of first topic: 15 April 2021
Time: 17:30-18:30 – Prof Francois Engelbrecht (Distinguished Professor of Climatology at the Global Change Institute of the University of the Witwatersrand)
Please RSVP to to receive the Zoom link
Additional dates and topics:

  • 6 May 2021: Topic 2: The discomfort of uncertainty and the certain uncertainty of scientific research
  • 27 May 2021: Topic 3: How do people and societies respond (or not) to climate change? Navigating the complexities of human behaviour.
  • 17 June 2021: Topic 4: Looking back, looking forward – can law change the climate change trajectory?
  • 29 July 2021: Topic 5: Who produces CO2 and why? What are the options and technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
  • 19 August 2021: Topic 6: Increasing pressure, increasing implications for businesses?
  • 2 September 2021: Topic 8: Jobs or the environment? How can climate change responses address the interests of labour?
  • 30 September 2021: Topic 9: Preparing for COP 26 – What does South Africa want from the COP negotiations?
  • 14 October 2021: Topic 10: Where to from here? The role of the next generation and their views on a safe and human world for all

More information available on the SAIFAC Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SAIFAConline

Enterprises @ University of Pretoria Online Short Course in Environmental Law
Date: 21 June to 2 July 2021 led by Dr Melanie Murcott
More information

Nelson Mandela University: 2021 Private Law and Social Justice Conference
Dates: 16 and 17 August 2021 via Zoom (login details to be sent the week before the Conference).
Details regarding the call for papers and registration may be found on the departmental website.

ASSAf: Finding the Balance: Public Health and Social Measures for COVID-19 in the DRC and South Africa
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), in collaboration with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Academy of Sciences and Technology, and the United States National Academies of Sciences (US NAS) cordially invites you to a webinar on Public Health and Social Measures for COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.
Date and time: Apr 15, 2021 02:00 PM


Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center 16th Annual Norman Williams Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Planning and the Law
Date:  Thursday 14 April 2021
Time:  from 4 to 5:15 p.m. Tune in at vermontlaw.edu/live.

Human Rights and the Environment: Perspectives from India, hosted by Monmouth University’s Institute for Global Understanding (IGU).
This panel will be held on April 14 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. It features scholars from three universities in India, and a recent master’s degree graduate from Monmouth University, who will address cutting-edge issues at the intersection of human rights and the environment in India.
The panel program is available here
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
The panel program and registration page is available here.

Call for Papers: 13th Annual Lesley K. McAllister Symposium on Climate and Energy Law
Date: 12 November 2021
Proposals due: May 31, 2021
On Friday, November 12, 2021, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law will host its Thirteenth Annual Lesley K. McAllister Symposium on Climate and Energy Law. With this Call for Papers, you are invited to submit a title and abstract of an article that you can present at the Symposium and publish in the Thirteenth Volume of the SAN DIEGO JOURNAL OF CLIMATE & ENERGY LAW. If we select your proposal, the University will pay for all travel expenses to and from the Symposium. This event is typically held at the USD campus but depending on the status COVID-19 may be held remotely via webinar format. Also, you must submit your completed article to the Journal’s editors by October 4, 2021, for consideration in the Thirteenth Volume.
The theme of our 2021 Symposium on Climate and Energy Law relates to whether our energy infrastructure can handle the impacts of and solutions to climate change. The U.S. is seeing an increase in extreme weather events, including heat waves, heavy rains, droughts, and ice storms. These events affect our energy system’s ability to keep lights on, air conditioners cold, and space heating systems hot. The August 2020 rolling blackouts in California due to a prolonged heat wave and the more recent multi-day outage due to extreme cold and ice in Texas illustrate this challenge.
At the University of San Diego School of Law’s Thirteenth Annual Lesley K. McAllister Symposium on Climate and Energy Law, academic and policy experts will discuss many aspects of this important topic. We invite proposals on this broad theme, including but not limited to, the following topics.
Protectionist Actions – What legal issues arise from actions that protect existing industry and markets or create new industries and markets to address climate impacts? For example, the Texas Governor’s moratorium on exporting natural gas and local government natural gas bans raise both constitutional issues related to the Commerce Clause and international issues with Mexico. California’s numerous policies (e.g. Cap-and-Trade) have been challenged on similar protectionist grounds. How will states and the federal government grapple with the impacts on the grid from renewables or more extreme weather?
Electrification – At the same time the energy system is adapting to extreme weather events, it is being called on to provide key strategies to reduce GHG emissions, including increased use of renewable sources, phasing out natural gas use, fueling a growing fleet of electric vehicles, and powering the transition to electric buildings. Will large scale electrification create supply and reliability pressures on the grid? What are the land use and other implications of potential increased transmission needs? Are the current infrastructure and regulatory schemes sufficient to respond? What are the equity implications of an electrified future?
Role of Markets – What is the role of markets to ensure grid reliability and resilience? What market structures could provide proper incentives for “right-sizing” the electric resources and transmission facilities to meet extreme weather needs without overbuilding the system?
All article proposals related to these broad issues in climate and energy law are welcome and due Monday, May 31, 2021. If you are interested in participating, please submit the following materials to Hayley Zech, Editor-in-Chief of the SAN DIEGO JOURNAL OF CLIMATE & ENERGY LAW, at :  (1) The proposed title of your article and a brief 300-word abstract; (2) Your CV; and (3) Written acknowledgment that you will attend the Symposium on Friday, November 12, 2021, and submit a complete draft of your article to the SAN DIEGO JOURNAL OF CLIMATE & ENERGY LAW by October 4, 2021.

Gowling WLG:  A New Era for Environmental Law | Thinkhouse Foundations
Date: 11 May 2021, 10:30 – 11:30 BST online
More information





Yeld J “Environment group goes to court to block wetland road project” GroundUp 7 April 2021

Dugmore H “Calling all creatives: Biodiversity needs a global advertising campaign” Mail & Guardian 7 April 2021

Farber T “How thousands of stowaway pests are hitching a free ride into SA” TimesLive 10 April 2021

Philips T “Are our initiation rituals getting too hot to handle?” Mail & Guardian 2 April 2021

Agriculture: Livestock sea transport guidelines proposed
“With the aim of promoting adherence to ‘evidence-based animal welfare standards’ throughout the export process, transporting sheep, goats, cattle and buffalo by sea could soon be subject to standards outlined in draft guidelines released last week for comment. Among other things, they refer to a requirement in terms of which every export consignment of live animals transported by sea should be accompanied by ‘an independent monitor’, who should be a registered veterinarian or animal scientist. The document is underpinned by provisions in the 1962 Animals Protection Act and the World Organisation for Animal Health code.” Read full report in Legalbrief Policy Watch 6 April 2021

Climate change and energy

“Watch: What is at stake in the Eskom-Oracle contractual dispute” BusinessLive 8 April 2021

Local government

Damons M “Homeless people challenge Cape Town by-laws in court – City by-laws are unconstitutional and discriminatory says Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre” GroundUp 8 April 2021

Malematja S “Municipalities are creating arbitrary requirements for “permission” to protest – Gatekeeping officials are stopping people from exercising a constitutional right” GroundUp 7 April 2021

Nicholson G “Court judgment ignites political firefight over Joburg’s critical fire engine shortage” Daily Maverick 8 April 2021


Burton M and Mishra S “South32 to Pay Clean-Up Costs to Close South African Coal Unit Sale” Extractives Baraza 6 April 2021

Stoddard E “Powder keg at Gauteng’s Blyvoor mine: Management and union ask for state intervention” Daily Maverick 8 April 2021

Bloom K “Mordor at the gates: The ploy to strip-mine Selati Game Reserve” Daily Maverick 8 April 2021

Joffe H “Mining helps Sars collect R38bn more than expected” TimesLive 4 April 2021

Seccombe A “Anglo forges ahead to carbon-neutral future by exiting SA coal” BusinessLive 8 April 2021

Seccombe A “De Beers warns of more diamond market ructions” BusinessLive 7 April 2021

Steyn L “Seriti’s R400m Eskom bet may go up in smoke” BusinessLive 1 April 2021

Steyn L “Inside Sibanye’s ‘zombie mine’” BusinessLive 1 April 2021

“Anglo American to separate SA coal mines into new business, Thungela Resources” Biznews 8 April 2021

Water, waste, oceans and chemicals

Bega S “SA will miss UN’s clean water targets” Mail & Guardian 9 April 2021

Kretzmann S “Report shows dangerous levels of pollution in Cape Town’s rivers, vleis and estuaries – Quality of water bodies has declined over 40 years” GroundUp 9 April 2021

Legislation: Marine Spatial Planning Act commences
Aimed at facilitating improved ocean governance in keeping with international obligations, the 2018 Marine Spatial Planning Act came into effect on 1 April. It provides for the development and implementation of an environmental management system that will apply across SA’s territorial waters; the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf; and to zones around the Prince Edward Islands. Provision is also made for the institutional arrangements necessary for a co-ordinated approach to activities that will include documenting and mapping physical, chemical and biological ocean processes, as well as associated threats and opportunities.” Read full report in Legalbrief Policy Watch 7 April 2021

Waste: Algoa Bay oyster farmer sues metro for polluting seawater
“Algoa Bay oyster farmer Zwembesi Farms is suing the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality for R34m for loss of income after its oysters were polluted by sewage that, the company alleges, was negligently discharged by the metro. The Herald reports that Acting City Manager Mandla George has sought approval from the council to defend the matter at the Gqeberha Magistrate’s Court. George’s report was discussed behind closed doors and approved by the council. The Department of Environmental Affairs has also opened a criminal case against the municipality and the matter is due to be heard on 12 April. Zwembesi Farms, part of the Knysna Oyster Company, specialises in fresh and cultivated oysters. It has been running its Algoa Bay oyster operation, 1km north of the Port Elizabeth Harbour since 1998. The oyster cultivator claimed in an affidavit that the municipality had wrongfully breached its duty of care by dumping human waste into the ocean between November 2011 and January 2013. ‘In so doing, the mortality rates of the plaintiff’s oysters to significantly increase above acceptable levels.’ The company claimed the municipality had repeated its transgressions between July 2017 and August 2017, ‘causing the E. coli levels of the Bay around and in the plaintiff’s oyster beds to increase above acceptable levels,’ the affidavit read.” Full report in The Herald (subscription needed) Legalbrief Environmental 6 April 2021


Govender S “Malnourished South Africans may be hit hardest by third wave, warns Operation Hunger” TimesLive 7 April 2021

Maughan K “’BRPs destroying our businesses’: Guptas go to war with business rescue practitioners” News24 7 April 2021


Biodiversity, protected areas, animal rights, and culture

Stephenson SK “Fish and Wildlife Service sued for failing to act on endangered species proposals” The Jurist 5 April 2021

“Quebec hoping to complete draft forestry protocol this spring” Carbon Pulse 7 April 2021

“Shell invests $90 mln in nature-based activities over past year” Carbon Pulse 7 April 2021

Wahlquist C “Farmer sorry for damaging Aboriginal site says he did not know it was heritage-listed” The Guardian 7 April 2021

Climate change and energy

“The Nature Conservancy discloses portfolio review of forestry offsets, while developer defends practice” Carbon Pulse 5 April 2021

“Court extends timeline for US DOJ challenge to California-Quebec cap-and-trade linkage” Carbon Pulse 2 April 2021

“Manure spill prompted California investigation at Wisconsin-based offset project, documents show” Carbon Pulse 5 April 2021

“Australia Market Roundup: Savanna burning project dominates latest ACCU issuance, as voluntary cancellations continue to increase” Carbon Pulse 7 April 2021

“‘Green’ to beat costs of ‘blue’ hydrogen, rival natural gas by 2030 –analysts” Carbon Pulse 7 April 2021

Duffy N “Britain’s electricity grid had ‘greenest ever’ day on Easter Monday” i News 6 April 2021

Clark A, Wu Ji and Devnath A “Mysterious Plumes of Methane Gas Appear Over Bangladesh” Bloomberg 7 April 2021

Taylor K “Europe risks €87 billion in stranded fossil gas assets, report reveals” EurActiv 9 April 2021

“World’s first dedicated clean hydrogen investment fund launches” Envirotec 8 April 2021

“Tesla criticises Germany’s drawn-out approval process for Berlin factory” Biznews 9 April 2021

Stephenson SK “Exxon sues Dakota Access Pipeline operators over disputed fines and fees” The Jurist 7 April 2021

Cockburn H “Climate crisis: Third of Antarctic ice shelf area ‘at risk of collapse’ if emissions aren’t rapidly reduced” The Independent 8 April 2021

Environmental enforcement

“Two US men sentenced in carbon credit investor fraud scheme” Carbon Pulse 7 April 2021

“Thousands protest in Belgrade, demand government action to stop pollution” Reuters 10 April 2021

Local government

Meza E “Berlin continues to lead German cities with most e-car charging stations” Clean Energy Wire 9 April 2021


Ndlovu N “Govt coaxes Hwange villagers to accept Chinese miners” Mining Index 1 April 2021

Smee B “Gas consortium seeks approval to drill 7,700 wells in Queensland, including near national parks” [Australia] The Independent 9 April 2021

“Investors oppose Rio Tinto pay report over rock shelter outrage” Mining Weekly 9 April 2021

Water, waste, oceans and chemicals

Gill V “Ocean noise: Study to measure the oceans’ ‘year of quiet’” BBC 9 April 2021


Burger S “Bank of America triples environmental funding goal to $1tr by 2030” Engineering News 9 April 2021

Vacancies, Bursaries, Funding, Opportunities, etc.


ELA Student essay competition
Closing date: 31 May 2021
More information


SEI Headquarters vacancies
We are recruiting four research candidates to work with sustainability and trade, sustainable finance, and industry and energy transitions.

Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Deadline: 2 May 2021
More information

Carbon Offset Portfolio Manager, Climate Neutral Group – Utrecht – more information

Project Manager, Nature-Based Solutions in Europe, ClimatePartner – Munich – more information

Manager, Natural Climate Solutions, Land Life Company – Amsterdam/Remote – more information




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