Environmental protection legislation is often conflicting, a problem heightened by the fact that often a number of government departments are jointly responsible for enforcing compliance with environmental regulations and also charged with promoting the activities that they are supposed to regulate. This situation has resulted in calls for national norms and standards to be set and regulated outside of the departmental structure promoting the activity. Various mechanisms have been suggested to accomplish this, including the establishment of independent inspectorates. Critical is the need to obtain clarity on the roles and responsibilities of the different agencies. Such clarity should be forthcoming from refined national environmental policy.
A major gap in most country's existing legislation relates to the conservation and use of biodiversity outside of protected areas, and specifically to landscapes and ecosystems outside of protected areas. Where legislation does exist, it is often fragmented, poorly applied and enforced. The approach advocated by the Convention on Biological Diversity is one which is holistic and integrated, requiring the adoption of legal measures to ensure the protection of identified species, ecosystems and habitat types outside of protected areas. This is considered fundamental to achieving the goals and objectives of biodiversity conservation.