IUCN Academy of Environmental Law



The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law is an autonomous non government organization (NGO) incorporated under Canadian law that uses IUCN’s name under the terms and conditions of an annual license granted by IUCN, which includes provisions regarding its ongoing relationship with the IUCN Environmental Law Programme.

The Academy was created to serve and support the IUCN Environmental Law Programme in the area of academic endeavor, and under the terms of the license its research programme must be coordinated with, and support the activities of, the IUCN Environmental Law Programme.

To obtain a copy of the license agreement click here.

The launch of the Academy at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China in November 2003 was supported by IUCN, and in particular by its Environmental Law Programme, through substantial financial and administrative support.

The IUCN Environmental Law Centre, Bonn agreed to serve as the Secretariat for the Academy up until January 2005 in order to enable the Academy to establish itself.

Background to the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law

In November 2003, the Commission on Environmental Law (CEL) of IUCN launched a new scholarly network of environmental law faculties and professors: the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.

The field of environmental law is now so complex that it has become hard for IUCN's several hundred volunteer lawyers and modest full-time staff of legal specialists to sustain both the demands for their expert services and the academic study and elaboration of new concepts for refining and advancing environmental law. It has been increasingly difficult for CEL to both provide expertise to the Union, and to respond to requests to build the environmental law capacity in developing countries and economies in transition.

Recognising these difficulties, CEL began consultations around the world on how to strengthen independent scholarly and professional research into environmental law. CEL has determined that the most efficacious way to sustain the Union's contribution to building environmental law is to become more closely allied with the university community's expertise in environmental law. After eight years of study, experimentation with capacity building programs, and dialogue with university faculties of law on a world-wide basis, the Commission announced at the 50th Anniversary of IUCN in 1998 that it was undertaking to establish an international Academy of Environmental Law. Besides the extensive discussions that were held with legal scholars from more than 240 universities, CEL convened conferences, workshops and meetings in every region of the world between 1997 and 2002.

The IUCN Academy is a consortium of specialised research centres in university law faculties. Each centre may nominate a member of the Academy's Academic Collegium. The Collegium directs the research and other programs of the Academy. It also elects the Bureau of the Collegium, which functions as an executive committee of between five to nine persons, from among the representatives of university centres represented in the Collegium. The Bureau is responsible for defining and undertaking the projects and cooperative programs and operations of the IUCN Academy. It elects its Chairman and selects a Director for the Academy. The Chair of CEL and Head of the IUCN Environmental Law Programme serve on the Collegium and Bureau in an ex officio capacity.

The IUCN Academy serves CEL and cooperates with IUCN's Environmental Law Programme, but does not require financial support from IUCN and is autonomous of IUCN in its decision-making and studies. The Academy's program will consist of (a) an annual conference to critically review environmental law and reflect on new concepts needed to make the field more effective, (b) an annual scholarly publication of the conference proceedings, (c) research projects on the conceptual development of environmental law, and (d) teaching and university-level capacity building in environmental law world-wide, with special attention to developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Membership in the IUCN Academy will be open to all universities that meet the admission criteria; there will be no limitation on the numbers of universities per region or per country. Membership is intended for universities that have already made a significant commitment for study and teaching of environmental law. Universities that wish to cooperate with the Academy, but do not yet meet the Academy's membership criteria, may be added to a roster of "cooperating universities." Only full membership entitles a university to be a Member of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, and send a representative to the Academy's Collegium. Individual professors distinguished in the field of environmental law will be invited to be named Fellows of the Academy. Also, a distinguished Advisory Council will be established, composed of individuals, also including non-academics, who are acknowledged and renowned for their environmental law expertise.

The Bureau will arrange for the preparation and publication a set of instructional material on environmental law for each region. These will constitute the basis for comparative law instruction in the regions, and between regions. The objective of this endeavour is to ensure that each university has the teaching and reference materials for providing the core courses on environmental law. Once the comparable teaching and reference materials are compiled in each region, comparable capacity building activities with universities can be undertaken. The Bureau will facilitate exchanges of teaching and research faculty among and between universities that are members of the Academy.

The IUCN Environmental Law Centre, Bonn agreed to serve as the interim Secretariat for the IUCN Academy from its inception to January 2005, at which time the Secretariat moved to the University of Ottawa Law Faculty.


The IUCN Academy was launched by founding universities at the first of the Academy's Colloquia, a conference on 'The Law of Energy for Sustainable Development', hosted by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in November of 2003.

IUCN Media Release
Statement from the UN Secretary General
Statement from IUCN Director General
First Colloquium Programme
First Colloquium Brochure
Summary of the First Colloguium
IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Research Studies


The Second Colloquium of the IUCN Academy on 'Land Use and Environmental Law' was held at the University of Nairobi from 4-7 October, followed by a meeting of the Academy Collegium on 8 October and a research workshop on 9 October.

Statement from the UN Secretary General
Summary of the Second Colloquium

Celebrating Prof. Wangari: Reflections on the Nobel Peace Price Laureate
Second Colloquium Programme
Second Colloquium Brochure
Logistical Arrangements for Second Colloquium


To obtain more information on membership of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law click here.

To obtain a membership application form click here.

IUCN invites interested university law faculties, individual professors of environmental law, organisations and institutions concerned with the progressive development of environmental law and legal education, and donors to participate in the IUCN ACADEMY OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW.

To register your interest in the Academy contact: jbenidi@uottawa.ca



11 October 2004

The importance of land use for sustainable development has been addressed by leading academics from around the world at the 2nd Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, hosted by the University of Nairobi from 4-7 October. The Keynote address by Dr Ali Mekouar, FAO, set the scene for a highly successful colloquium by analysing the new Africa Convention and its potential for advancing sustainable land use approaches in Africa. Speakers from the Government of Kenya, the City of Nairobi, the University of Nairobi, UNEP, UN-HABITAT, and IUCN, were joined by academics representing 45 Universities from 35 countries, with the 2005 distinguished lectures on environmental law being delivered by Prof. Akio Morishima. Edited papers from the Colloquium will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2005, in the Second Edition of the Environmental Law Research Studies series.

Message from the UN Secretary General

9 March 2004

On 8 March 2004, the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law signed a publishing agreement with the Syndicate of the Press of the University of Cambridge, to publish the research works of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. Prof. Nicholas A. Robinson, Chair of the IUCN Commission of Environmental Law, signed on behalf of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, with John Berger representing the Cambridge University Press, at the Pace University School of Law Center for Environmental Legal Studies. "Cambridge University Press has an outstanding set of publications in the field of environmental law," said Prof. Robinson at the signing ceremony. The IUCN Academy's first volumes, which Cambridge expects to publish in October of 2004, will be results of the Academy's pioneering research into the Law of Energy for Sustainable Development. These works were peer reviewed and presented at the 1st Colloquium of the Academy at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, in Shanghai, China, on 4-8 November 2003.

Full story.

16 December 2003

"Plans for the Second Colloquium of the IUCN Academy to be held at the University of Nairobi from 4-10 October 2004 on 'Environmental Law and Land Use' are well advanced", said IUCN Commission on Environmental Law Chair, Professor Nicholas Robinson, following a meeting in Bonn with Professors Isaac Mbeche and Charles Okidi, University of Nairobi, Professor Lee Paddock, Pace University and staff of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre. The meeting dealt with all aspects of the event, including an exciting and forward looking programme, one that will address critical land use issues such as agriculture, ecosystems and human settlements. Ethical issues will also be a feature. A draft programme will be released early next year, and a call for papers has already been distributed. While in Bonn, the University was presented with a complimentary set of IUCN ELP and other publications for the Universities Centre for Advanced Studies on Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP) Library.

27 November 2003

After the highly successful launch and inaugural colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law in Shanghai, China, a 'ribbon launch' will take place in Singapore, on November 30th. The launch will be hosted by the Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental law of the National University of Singapore (APCEL), an IUCN Member. Following the Academy's 'ribbon launch', APCEL, the first 'centre of excellence' recognized by the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, will also hold a Conference on Intellectual Property and Biological Resources from 1-3 December. The Academy's launch and the Conference bring together a distinguished panel of speakers to address the complex issues arising from the conflict between the protection of biodiversity and the ownership of biodiversity-related knowledge. The topics at the Conference seek to bring to the participants the full range of the influences upon the two areas of the law and the challenges faced in the attempt to bridge the gap between them.

For more information on the IUCN Academy click here and APCEL click here.

11 November 2003

Following a highly successful launch and first colloquium of the IUCN Academy, professors from 35 countries representing 75 universities, gathered in Shanghai to institutionalize the Academy and its rules and procedures. By including the apologies extended to the meeting from many universities, this number increases to over 100 universities from 50 countries. There were constructive and fruitful discussions on many issues, such as the location and theme for the Annual Colloquia for 2004-2008, Academy membership, and the development of its research and teaching programmes. Several committees were created to take issues forward to the next IUCN CEL Steering Committee Meeting in Brazil in late May 2004, and from there to the first meeting of the IUCN Academy Executive Committee. The meeting agreed that the 2004 Colloquium will be held at the University of Nairobi, Kenya from 4-8 October 2004 on the topic of Environmental Law and Land Use.

For more information on the IUCN Academy click here

4 November 2003

The initiative of IUCN to establish the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law has been welcomed by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan in a message sent to the inauguration of the IUCN Academy being held in Shanghai. "Agenda 21 recommended strengthening the law for environment and development, and called on universities in particular to cooperate in building capacity in the realm of environmental law. That call was repeated last year in the Plan of Implementation adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg…I would like to congratulate all academic leaders assembled at Shanghai Jiao Tong University for their role in making possible the launch of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. IUCN's Commission on Environmental Law has rendered an important service in implementing Agenda 21's recommendations…" said Annan. See full story below.

Full Statement from the UN Secretary General here.

4 November 2003

The first-ever Academy of Environmental Law, a global network and forum for universities to achieve higher standards in environmental legal education and research worldwide has been launched today. The IUCN Academy, which will bring together leading universities in all fields of environmental law, will convene annual colloquia; promote research on cutting-edge environmental issues; and facilitate cooperation among participating universities. To date, 45 universities from 45 countries have supported the initiative. "IUCN is privileged to convene the world's foremost academics in environmental law under this new endeavour, which implements recommendations made in Agenda 21," said Professor Nicholas A. Robinson, Chair of IUCN CEL. The inaugural Colloquium is being hosted from 4-6 November by China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University on the topic of 'The Law of Energy for Sustainable Development'. "What better place to launch the IUCN Academy and its first Colloquium on sustainable energy law than in China, where decisions made today will affect the future of the fastest-growing continent and indeed the whole world." said IUCN Director General Achim Steiner in a video address to the Colloquium delegates.

IUCN Media Release
Statement from the UN Secretary General
Statement from IUCN Director General
IUCN Academy Programme
IUCN Academy Brochure
IUCN Academy Launch

25 April 2003

The first preparatory meeting for the establishment of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law was successfully held at Pocantico Hills, New York on April 13-16, 2003, with participants coming from 21 countries representing all regions of the world. The meeting, which was chaired by Professor Nicholas Robinson, aimed to establish a collaboration of universities with significant environmental law programs throughout the world, with the purpose to expand and strengthen environmental legal education and research, to build capacity for government agencies, the judiciary and the public to address environmental problems and support sustainable development. The establishment of the IUCN Academy was based on the recommendation of IUCN's Commission on Environmental Law and was approved by the IUCN Council last December. The formal launch of the IUCN Academy as an autonomous entity, associated with the IUCN's Environmental Law Program, will take place in November 2003 in Shanghai, at the Academy's first annual Colloquium.

IUCN Academy Programme
IUCN Academy Brochure
Full Press Release
List of Participants
Statements issued by IUCN DG and by IUCN Environmental Law Programme

IUCN Council Endorses IUCN Academy on Environmental Law
16 December 2002

IUCN's 2nd World Conservation Congress held in Amman Jordan in 2000, in Resolution 2.24, endorsed a proposal from the Union's Commission on Environmental Law to establish a new, world-wide Academy of Environmental Law. After extensive study, the Steering Committee of the Commission at its meeting held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in August, 2002, recommended that the Council of IUCN approve and authorise the establishment of the 'IUCN Academy of Environmental Law' as an autonomous entity, associated with the Union's Environmental Law Programme. Based on the Commission's recommendation, the 57th Meeting of IUCN Council (9-11 December 2002) unanimously approved the establishment of the Academy and authorised the Committee to implement the Commission's proposal for its establishment. The Commission will formally establish the Academy at the end of 2003, at the Academy's first annual Colloquium. Preparatory meetings are scheduled throughout 2003 leading to this launch.

Principal author: Maria Socorro Manguiat. Last updated: 11 October 2004

Original URL was: iucn.org/themes/law/cel07a.html

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