Regional Webinar: IUCN COP28 Position Paper for Europe & North America
(October 31st, 2023)

Organized by:

Welcome and introduction:
Boris Erg, Regional Director, IUCN European Regional Office, Bonn, Germany

IUCN’s key messages for UNFCCC COP28:
Christina Voigt, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) and Member of IUCN COP28 Working Group

Moderated Q&A:
Tracy Farrell, Regional Director, IUCN North America Regional Office, Washington D.C., USA -

Maher Mahjoub, Director, IUCN Mediterranean Cooperation Centre, Malaga, Spain


The intergenerational dimension of Human Rights and public interest litigation: The role of young and future generations
(September 20th, 2023)

Organized by:
IUCN WCEL Early Career SG and Youth and Environment Europe.

The ​​Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed that human-caused climate change already affects every region on Earth in multiple ways, leading to widespread impacts on people and nature.

Nonetheless, developing nations will face the most dire consequences while benefiting the least from the activities causing global warming. The regions most affected and highly vulnerable to climate change are West, Central, and East Africa, South Asia, Central and South America, Small Island Developing States, and the Arctic. Within these regions, even more vulnerable people are disproportionately affected by climate impacts, raising concerns about human rights violations and climate injustice.

Children, youth, and future generations are also disproportionately affected by climate impacts despite being the ones who have least contributed to this crisis and have little - if any - participation in political decisions in the matter. On that account, children and youth are raising their voices all around the world to push their governments toward effective actions to tackle climate change and to claim for the intergenerational dimension of human rights and climate justice.

Human rights law has been playing a key role in addressing the climate crisis since it provides a strong legal foundation for environmental and human protection.

In the face of climate change, human rights are being resignified through multiple lenses. One of them is intergenerational. Consequently, the role children and youth play is of utmost importance in policy support since effectiveness is enhanced by political commitment and partnerships between different social groups.

The world needs urgent and equitable actions to cope with increasing threats posed by climate change and protect ecosystems, biodiversity, and the livelihoods, health, well-being, and human rights of current and future generations. This webinar will address questions relating to that.

Rights of nature – Towards transforming our relationship with the environment
Webinar Series: The Transforming Power of Law: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges
(August 16th, 2023)

Organized by:
IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) Rights of Nature Task Force.

Rights of nature have been proposed as an alternative to anthropocentric and centralised environmental law regimes. They are recognised in a growing number of countries. Yet, there remain many questions concerning the concept and its application. This webinar explores how rights of nature can contribute to reinforce existing environmental protection measures, and their potential limits.

Event outline:
The concept of rights of nature is gaining increasing attention around the world as a mechanism to potentially help strengthen environmental governance. At least 30 countries have already proposed and/or given legal recognition to nature’s rights. While the concept is not new, it needs to be explored in a more comprehensive and systematic manner. Different stakeholders have different interpretations about the concept and its application. Some view the concept as a radical one, paving the way to fundamentally recalibrate the human-nature relationship. Others believe the concept is simply a tool to help strengthen implementation, compliance, and enforcement of existing environmental law, that can help in making use of existing good practices at the local level. There are also different views as to how the concept does – or does not – interface with the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.
This event will discuss the progress and relevance of the fast-growing development of rights of nature in a variety of contexts and their pertinence to the protection of our planet’s vital ecosystems.

Prof. Christina Voigt, University of Oslo (Chair IUCN WCEL)

Dr Yaffa Epstein, Uppsala University
Prof. Tianbao Qin, Wuhan University
Dr Hugo Echeverría, Universidad Hemisferios

Prof. Philippe Cullet, SOAS University of London (Chair IUCN WCEL Rights of Nature TF)
Sabrina Nick, Initiatives and Governance Officer at Director General’s Office and Governance Unit IUCN (Secretariat lead of the IUCN WCEL Rights of Nature TF)


The Evolving Legal Framework for the Management and Governance of Groundwater – Domestic and Transboundary
Webinar Series: The Transforming Power of Law: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges
(August 7th, 2023)

Organized by:
IUCN WCEL Water and Wetlands Law Specialist Group

"Emerging directions - A comparative overview"
Speaker: Stefano Burchi (Chair of the IUCN WCEL Water and Wetlands SG)

"The approaches and experience of South Africa"
Speaker: Barbara van Koppen (Scientist Emerita at the International Water Management Institute)

"The approaches and experience of India"
Speaker: Gayathri Naik (Assistant Professor of Law at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, India)

"The governance of transboundary aquifers: emerging legal frameworks"
Speaker: Gabriel Eckstein (Texas A&M University School of Law)

Michael Hantke-Domas (Deputy-Chair of the IUCN WCEL Water and Wetlands SG)

Science-policy interfaces & environmental rule of law: Challenges and recommendations - a dialogue between policy and science
Webinar Series: Early Career Specialist Group - "Project 4" (June 26th, 2023)

Organized by: IUCN WCEL Early Career Specialist Group

This 1 hour webinar consists in a dialogue between Luciana Xavier and Pradeep Arjan Singh about the challenges and recommendations they identify in the science-policy interfaces in the context of the environmental rule of law.

Toward a Zero Draft for the Plastics Treaty - Outcomes from INC 2 and progress toward INC 3
Webinar Series: The Transforming Power of Law: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges
(June 23rd, 2023)

From 29 May to 2 June, States and observers met in Paris for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) 2 in the process of negotiating an internationally binding instrument on plastic pollution. While INC 1 in 2022 established the parameters of the negotiation process, INC 2 saw progress toward the creation of a zero draft treaty for discussion at INC 3 in November as well as an understanding of areas of convergence and contention between States. This event will provide a summary of the critical lessons from INC 2 as well as the work to be completed during the intersessional period and the anticipated issues for INC 3.

Prof Christina Voigt, Chair, IUCN WCEL
Dr Alexandra R Harrington, Chair, IUCN WCEL Agreement on Plastic Pollution Task Force
Dr Karine Siegwart, Senior Policy Advisor, IUCN International Policy Centre

Protecting nature, creating accountability, framing change: the power of recognising “Ecocide”
Webinar Series: The Transforming Power of Law: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges
(June 6th, 2023)

Organized by: Stop Ecocide International
Co-hosted by: IUCN WCEL

Existing environmental regulations, while plentiful, are often poorly monitored and enforced. A growing number of governments and civil society sectors are calling for stronger legal frameworks. This webinar explores how legal recognition of “ecocide” as a crime could reinforce existing laws, strengthen accountability and guide positive behaviour.

Event outline:
Existing environmental protections are often not adhered to or are poorly enforced. Many states, as well as NGOs, lawyers, academics, scientists, grassroots movements and a growing number of voices in the corporate and finance sectors are speaking out in support of stronger legal frameworks and accountability. In particular, the legal recognition of “ecocide” (severe and either widespread or long-term harm to ecosystems) as a crime at the international level could go a long way to shifting attitudes and guiding behaviour with regard to the worst threats to the living world.

This event will discuss the progress and relevance of the fast-growing ecocide law initiative in a variety of contexts pertinent to the protection of our planet’s vital ecosystems, drawing together a variety of perspectives.

Jojo Mehta - Chair, Stop Ecocide Foundation
Dr Christopher Bartlett - Climate Diplomacy Manager, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Vanuatu
Fiona Napier - Africa Nature Lead, Climate Champions Team
Julio Prieto - Environmental & Indigenous’ Rights Lawyer, Ecuador (Chevron case)
Patrick Alley - Co-Founder & Director, Global Witness
Roxane Chaplain - Legal advisor to Marie Toussaint, Member of European Parliament
Yuliiya Ovchynnykova MP - Member of Parliament, Ukraine

Christina Voigt - Chair, World Commission on Environmental Law

The use of environmental law for forest conservation
Webinar Series: The Transforming Power of Law: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges
(April 17th, 2023)

Presented by IUCN WCEL, Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco, the International Ranger Federation, the Global Forests Coalition and IIFB, in our partnership in the Forests & Communities Initiative (FCI) for the second FCI webinar.

This topics covered were:
- The use of environmental law for forest conservation and
- Reconnecting national/international funding and governance to IPLCs for forest conservation.

Prof. Christina Voigt - Professor of Public International Law at University of Oslo / Chair IUCN WCEL (from Germany in Norway)

Ambassador Patricia Lima - Ambassador of Brazil in Cameroon (from Brazil in Cameroon)

● Prof. Eeshan Chaturvedi - Assistant Dean, Jindal School of Environment and Sustainability (Sabbatical)/ Ph.D. Stanford Student University (from India in USA) ● Kenneth Angu - IUCN, Regional Forest Program Coordinator for Central and West Africa/ Head of IUCN Cameroon Country Office (Cameroon)
● Alejandra Rabasa Salinas - Head of the General Unit of Scientific Knowledge y Human Rights of the National Supreme Court of Mexico (Mexico)
● Prof. M. Andrew Heinrich - Adjunct Professor at Columbia University / Founder and President at Project Rousseau (USA)
● Justice Antonio Benjamin - National High Court of Brazil/Chair, IUCN WCEL Model Forest Act Task Force (Brazil)

Ayman Cherkaoui - Director at Hassan II International Center for Environmental Training / Deputy Chair, IUCN WCEL (Morocco)


What outcomes from COP 15?
Webinar Series: The Transforming Power of Law: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges
(February 8th, 2023)

Presented by:
IUCN WCEL and The Hassan II International Center for Environmental Training:

Ecosystems and their biodiversity are the key to life on the planet. Biodiversity has become a major issue in international relations. The need to ensure global food security and the development of biotechnology have transformed biodiversity into an economic resource. But the resources needed to exploit it are unevenly distributed.

The Global Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published in 2019 showed for the first time that human activity was responsible for the erosion of 75% of terrestrial ecosystems.

Experts have been warning for decades, and even more recently, that habitat fragmentation and human contact with wild animals increase the risk of disease in human populations. These threats to biodiversity and its natural habitats, by bringing species closer together, favor the emergence of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19 or Ebola, which has wreaked havoc in Africa.

The 15th COP of the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Montreal from 7 to 19 December 2022, concluded with the adoption of a global framework for biodiversity for the post-2020 period: the Kunming-Montreal Agreement.

What can we learn from this COP? Will the agreement allow us to halt biodiversity loss and support transformative change? What support mechanisms and technical means will be used to implement and monitor commitments? What role do the different actors, including the general public, and the legal community play?

Introductory Remarks:
Prof. Dr. Christina Voigt - Chair, IUCN WCEL
Ms. Nouzha Alaoui - Secretary-General of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection
Ms. Sonia Peña Moreno - Director of the International Policy Centre, IUCN

Ms. Elizabeth Mrema - Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework through a legal lens:
Prof. Michelle Lim - Deputy Chair of the IUCN WCEL Biodiversity Law Specialist Group

Youth Leadership in biodiversity:
Ms. Swetha Stotra Bhashyam, Global South Focal Point, Global Youth Biodiversity Network
Ms. Julieta Sarno, IUCN WCEL Early Career Specialist Group member
Ms. Aya Laccheb, Young Reporter for the Environment

What approach should universities take to ensure that species and ecosystems begin to recover?:
Ms. Emily Stott - Nature Positive Universities Coordinator, Department of Biology, University of Oxford

Ayman Cherkaoui - Deputy Chair IUCN WCEL / Director of the Hassan II International Centre for Environmental Training


Advisory Opinions on Climate Change: initiatives, expectations and possibilities.
Webinar Series: The Transforming Power of Law: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges
(January 25th, 2023)

This webinar explores the different Advisory Opinions in three international courts: the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR).

Opening Remarks: Prof. Dr. Christina Voigt (Chair, IUCN WCEL) and Dr. Grethel Aguilar (Deputy Director General, IUCN)

ITLOS: Assoc. Prof. Chhaya Bhardwaj (Member, IUCN WCEL Early Career SG)
Dialogue between: Prof. Nilufer Oral (Member, IUCN WCEL Steering Committee) and Prof. Cymie Payne (Chair, IUCN WCEL Ocean Law SG)

ICJ: Susan Ann Samuel (Member, IUCN WCEL Early Career SG)
Dialogue between: Prof. Francesco Sindico (Deputy-Chair, IUCN WCEL Climate Change Law SG) and Prof. Margareta Wewerinke (Member, IUCN WCEL Climate Change Law SG)

IACtHR: Assoc. Prof. Claudia de Windt (Member, IUCN WCEL Steering Committee)

Moderator: Ayman Cherkaoui (Deputy Chair, IUCN WCEL)


From Punta del Este to Paris: Outcomes of the Plastic Treaty INC-1 and Issues for INC-2.
Webinar Series: The Transforming Power of Law: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges
Presented by the IUCN WCEL Agreement on Plastic Pollution Task Force. (December 14th, 2022)

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The first round of intergovernmental negotiations for the Plastics Treaty (INC-1) took place from 28 November to 2 December in Punta del Este, Uruguay and online. As the first of a planned series of 5 INCs before the adoption of a Plastics Treaty in 2025, INC-1 served as a significant plenary session and paved the way for INC-2, scheduled to open on 22 May 2023 in Paris, to serve as a joint plenary and treaty negotiation session.

This event presented the core areas of discussion during INC-1, including regime convergence regarding human rights and trade law as well as multilateral environmental agreements, the need for a robust set of definitions and compliance mechanisms, the cross-cutting legal elements of regulating plastic pollution, and the need to bring innovation to the Treaty’s structure. In addition, it highlighted the clear distinctions that emerged regarding the Treaty’s structure, the contents and requirements of proposed National Action Plans, the need to focus on various aspects of the plastics lifecycle as a first priority, and the ways in which scientific and technical elements are to be merged into the legal and policy elements of the Treaty. Based on this, the event also noted the areas of key priority for INC-2 and beyond.


How can the Global Biodiversity Framework make progress towards a world “living in harmony with nature”?
Webinar Series: The Transforming Power of Law: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges
Presented by the IUCN WCEL Biodiversity Law Specialist Group. (December 15th, 2022)

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The complex, hyperconnected and novel challenges of our present, and of the future, mean that achieving the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2050 Vision of a world ‘living in harmony with nature’ requires anticipation of emerging national and transnational legal challenges. This must be combined with integrated cross-sectoral regulatory approaches. Meanwhile, there remains the need to address enduring issues regarding the legal weight of the Convention itself and its associated targets and plans (e.g. the Global Biodiversity Framework and its predecessors the Aichi Targets and 2010 Biodiversity Target).

This webinar, brought to you by the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law’s (WCEL) Biodiversity Law Specialist Group and the WCEL’s Pollution Taskforce, brings together environmental law experts from across multiple sectors and jurisdictions to highlight emerging novel biodiversity-related issues and coordinated legal approaches. The panel discussion addresses legal instruments (and regulatory gaps) as they relate to direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss identified by the Global Assessment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It also brings together legal expertise on Genetically Modified Organisms and food security; plastics, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, climate change, indigenous sovereignty and equity. The panel discussion assesses the capacity of the proposed Global Biodiversity Framework and the Convention itself to address these issues and identifies ways forward for national implementation and transnational regulation.

International cooperation and research projects in the field of environmental law (Workshop #2)
Webinar Series: Early Career SG - Project Management for Environmental Lawyers 
Presented by the IUCN WCEL Early Career Specialist Group. (December 16th, 2022)

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