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The world is facing existential threats of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. In the face of this triple planetary crisis, climate and environmental rule of law is fundamental to inclusive and sustainable development. Legal frameworks need to be modernized to tackle 21st century challenges including by improving the scientific soundness and technical adequacy of laws and reflecting appropriate governance arrangements that take into account multiple stakeholders. Furthermore, the implementation and enforcement of laws need to be strengthened through capacity building programs.


Our Impact

ADB's Law and Policy Reform Program has been prioritizing its work with legal and judicial systems and other stakeholders to help support low carbon transition, promote and invest in nature and environmental sustainability, and increase disaster resilience. We do this by:

Mobilizing Private Climate Finance and Investments

  • Modernizing legal frameworks to attract private climate finance
  • Addressing legal barriers to climate investments for better risk management and decision-making processes
  • Increasing the capacity of private sector on climate risks and opportunities
  • Increasing knowledge about different types of carbon markets, fundamental building blocks and other crucial issues
  • Creating robust voluntary carbon markets through the development of a carbon legislative options framework and implementation guidelines 

Strengthening Climate and Environmental Legal Education

  • Mainstreaming climate change and environmental legal education at the national and institutional levels across Asia and the Pacific
  • Developing model syllabi and innovative teaching methodologies for teaching climate change and environmental laws
  • Strengthening the capacity and networks of climate and environmental legal educators and institutions
  • Producing e-learning courses and supporting hybrid and online education

Drafting Transformative Climate Change and Disaster Management Laws 

  • Framework climate change law applying to the whole of economy and providing clear policy direction and net zero targets and setting out clear governance arrangements
  • Disaster management law setting out coordination mechanisms among national and sub-national entities involved in disaster response and recovery efforts
  • Sectoral laws and regulations, for example, in energy, transportation and building

Supporting Green Courts and Benches and Judicial Networks

  • Establishing and operationalizing green courts and benches and drafting environmental rules of procedures
  • Creating judicial certification programs on climate change and environmental laws
  • Supporting the Asia and the Pacific Judges Network on the Environment and Global Judicial Institute on the Environment

"If you want to change mindsets, you have to start with the law students, the science students, because they will become politicians someday, they will become officials of government. This [Developing Climate and Environmental Law Champions] technical assistance program is critical."

Attorney Gerthie Mayo-Anda
Founder, Environmental Legal Assistance Center

"As the first publication of its kind, with a focus on judges...I offer my effusive congratulations to ADB’s extraordinary team and the distinguished co-authors of this innovative report series."

Justice Antonio Benjamin

Honorable Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, National High Court of Brazil (STJ) and President of the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment

Environment and Climate Change Law Judicial Training in Cambodia Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 2023

Environment and Climate Change Law Judicial Training in Cambodia Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 2023

Judicial Capacity Building on Environment:


  • Supports judges to interpret and enforce environmental and climate change laws
  • Develops influential jurisprudence
  • Contributes to sustainable development goals



Success Stories

ADB Presents at Oslo International Environmental Law Conference

ADB General Counsel Thomas Clark, ADB Law and Policy Program team, and leading Asian judges and academics were invited to the Oslo International Environmental Law Conference to showcase significant innovations in jurisprudence and environmental law education in the Asia-Pacific region. 

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ADB Convenes Global Environmental Leaders at Stockholm+50 Symposium

Thomas Clark, General Counsel of the Asian Development Bank addressed global environmental leaders on the need to strengthen the environmental rule of law to accelerate action in addressing the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution during the Symposium on Judges and the Environment at the Stockholm+50 Conference.

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ADB Co-Organizes Second ASEAN Environmental Law Conference

Over 4,500 participants attended the three-day conference covering 15 sessions on the myriad of environmental and social challenges facing the ASEAN region. The conference brought together development partners, civil society organizations, judges, academia, lawyers, private sector and other interested stakeholders from 66 countries to discuss legal, policy and community-based actions to transform principles of environmental law into practice.

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In Action

The Model Forest Act Initiative Philippine Multistakeholder Consultations

ADB hosts Model Forest Act Initiative stakeholder consultations with civil society organizations, government agencies, academe, and the private sector united in collective expertise and knowledge to safeguard the future for our forests.

Judicial Capacity Building on Environmental and Climate Change Law

ADB launches judicial capacity building training for judicial officers on environmental and climate laws in Cambodia.

Launch of the Model Forest Act Initiative

Launch of the Novel Model Forest Act Initiative (MoFAI), a global partnership safeguarding the future of forests


Knowledge Resources



ADB Hosts Legal Indicators for Measuring the Effectivity of Environmental Laws and Sustainable Development Event

How can we measure the effectivity of environmental laws to ensure their effectiveness? ADB hosts expert panel to learn about a groundbreaking and innovative method of measuring the effectivity of national and international environmental laws based on evidence-based legal indicators created by the renowned Professor Michel Prieur.

ADB Spearheads the Model Forest Act Initiative

ADB convenes the launch of the Model Forest Act Initiative (MoFAI) with the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, UN Environment Programme, UN Forum on Forests, UN Development Programme and the World Bank in New York.

Regional Symposium on Forest and Protected Areas Legislation and Jurisprudence: Bridging Law and Science

The Capacity Building Symposium on Forest and Protected Areas Legislation and Jurisprudence is aimed at the decision takers and change makers in the fields of judiciary, executive and legislature to acquaint them with the intricacies of forest and protected areas laws while giving them a penumbral overview of the science behind the same.