Announcing the 2016 World Environmental Law Congress!

We are excited to announce that the 1st World Environmental Law Congress will take place in Rio de Janeiro from 27 to 29 April 2016. The World Environmental Law Congress will provide a global forum to advance the role of law in developing and implementing solutions that will ensure ecological sustainability. This Congress will be the first global gathering of its kind, organized under the auspices of IUCN in cooperation with UNEP, and in close partnership with:


the Brazilian Association of Judges (AMB), the Supreme Court of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian National Judicial School, the Association of Judges of the State of Rio de Janeiro (AMAERJ), the International Association of Judges (IAJ), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), the European Union Forum of Judges for the Environment, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and FGV Projetos – Getúlio Vargas Foundation, as a knowledge partner.

The event will take place in the Supreme Court of the State of Rio de Janeiro from 27 to 29 April 2016. The Congress theme is Environmental Rule of Law, Justice and Planetary Sustainability.

Congress Objectives
Coming at a critical time in the context of worldwide efforts to promote the environmental rule of law and sustainable development, the Congress will deal with three main sub-themes:

1) Planetary challenges: Assess the current state of environmental law, policy, and jurisprudence in the context of major planetary challenges and environmental issues (Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Climate Change and Energy, and Water and Food Security).
2) Legal opportunities and priorities: Define opportunities and set priorities for legal systems to actively respond to these challenges and ensure the effective environmental rule of law.
3) Legal institutions and environmental law: Provide a platform for environmental lawyers, stakeholders and institutions to continue discussion and engagement on common issues and to set priorities, especially in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Participants and format
The Congress will involve a broad variety of legal institutions and actors, including judges, legislators, prosecutors, government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, multilateral financial institutions, public
interest organizations, and the private sector, as well as scientific and policy experts from related disciplines. Invitations will be targeted to promote significant participation from every geographic region, and a limited number of spaces will be available by application. Contingent on funding, additional stakeholders will be able to access the Congress via live webcast of the plenary proceedings.

Over the course of three days, through plenary sessions and three series of workshops aligning with the sub-themes (planetary challenges, legal opportunities and priorities, and legal institutions and environmental law), the Congress will go into depth regarding various trends and challenges in environmental law and their importance for conservation and environmental governance throughout the world.

In addition, several pre-and post-Congress events are being organized, including the 1st WCEL Global Colloquium of Early Career Environmental Lawyers, a Symposium on the Environmental Rule of Law, a Colloquium of Environmental Law Centres and Journals, and the first Meeting of the Global Judicial Institute for the Environment.

On behalf of IUCN, UNEP and all of the important partners to whom we are grateful for being involved in the planning of the 1st World Environmental Law Congress, we invite you to stay tuned for further updates and the full programme early in the new year.


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Work area: 
Environmental Law
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