In January 2018, WCEL Chair Justice Antonio Benjamin visited WCEL members and partners in Marseille, Nice, and Paris, France to plan for 2018 activities.
During a week-long mission to France in January 2018, Justice Antonio Benjamin met with key organizations and individuals to promote collaboration through the World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL). He began in Marseille with a visit to the World Water Council, and was the first WCEL Chair to have visited the organization. There he met with Danielle Gaillard-Picher, the officer in charge of the 8th World Water Forum, to discuss the programme of the WCEL-led “Judges and Prosecutors Subprocess” that is convening from 19-21 March during the Forum in Brasilia. Justice Benjamin also discussed the possibility of signing a memorandum of understanding with the World Water Council to ensure WCEL’s future contributions to the 9th World Water Forum to be held in Dakar, Senegal in 2021.
In Nice, the Chair visited La Faculté de Droit et Sciences Politique (Nice Law School) for a working meeting with professors of environmental law, coordinated by Professors Gilles Martin, Pascale Steichen, and Sarah Vanuxem. They agreed to organize a training programme for judges of the Mediterranean region and to seek funding for the initiative. The visit to the Law School was also an opportunity for Justice Benjamin to give a lecture to PhD and Masters students.
The Chair completed the last leg of his mission in Paris, meeting first with Sebastien Mabille (Chair of the Law and Environmental Policy Commission of the IUCN National Committee of France) to discuss recruitment of WCEL Members in France and across Francophone countries, and to organize celebrations for the 70th Anniversary of IUCN during 2018. Promoting the initiative of a Global Pact for the Environment was a main subject of a meeting with Yann Aguila (President of the Environment Commission of the Club des Juristes) and David Gaudillière (Chief of Staff at the Conseil constitutionnel (Constitutional Council). They discussed WCEL contributions to a “roadmap” of events that will support the potential adoption of the Pact by the UN General Assembly by 2020.
Chair Benjamin then met with Justice Christine Maugüé (Senior Member of the Conseil d'État (Council of State and Supreme Court for Administrative Justice)) who graciously accepted an invitation to participate in the “Judges and Prosecutors Subprocess” of the 8th World Water Forum in March. He also met with senior justices from the Cour de Cassation (Supreme Court) including Justice Christian Pers (Dean of the Criminal Chamber), Justice Denis Jardel (Dean of the 3rd Civil Chamber), and Justice Nicolas Maziau. They discussed collaboration between WCEL and the Cour de Cassation, particularly a future programme with the University of Nice and other activities of WCEL.
An additional meeting in Paris with Prof Laurent Neyret (Professor of Environmental Law at Université de Versailles and Sciences Po) focused on the possibility of the Sciences Po hosting a future event with WCEL. With a focus on forests and freshwater, the working title for the event is "Legal Status of Nature: A dialogue between law, science and ethics", and is planned in the context of celebrations for the 70th Anniversary of IUCN.