Environmental Law

We live in a world where we are subject to environmental and economic effects that transcend national boundaries. Increasing globalisation has led to a greater recognition of the need to address these issues.



How we engage

Law is fundamental to just and effective governance of natural resources, for the benefit of people and nature.

IUCN aims to advance environmental law through the development of legal concepts and instruments. IUCN also helps societies apply environmental law in the conservation of nature and ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.


  • River delta in Mozambique Photo: ©Shutterstock/Toby Grayson

    BRIDGE: Transboundary water cooperation in East and Southern Africa


    Two new visual story features on the BRIDGE ‘Building River Dialogue and Governance’ project were published on the occassion of World Environment Day. BRIDGE works in fourteen transboundary river basins worldwide. 

  • Warning board with sunset background Photo: ©Shutterstock/Leena Robinson

    Blog: World Environment Day - Will the world be more willing to heed warnings?


    By Claire Warmenbol. Whilst the world eagerly awaits a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, there is currently no better cure than prevention. Water and hand hygiene, physical distancing and mask wearing; all are central to stem the further spread of the...

  • Lago di Fusini, Italy Photo: ©Shutterstock/Yevhenii Chulovskyi

    Nature-based Solutions for Water Infrastructure at your service


    'Natural water infrastructure' is not built infrastructure. Instead, it is shaped, grown, eroded or deposited by nature over time. It refers to services nature provides for free, such as mangroves protecting shorelines from storms, peatlands sequestering...

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desert desert Photo: naturfreund on Pixabay

Climate Change

Global biodiversity faces severe threats from climate change in the form of rising temperatures, floods, droughts, severe weather incidents, deforestation and desertification.


Other areas

The ELP works across different scales from global to local, and across the full spectrum of sectors concerning natural resource governance.


Cambodia, river Cambodia, river Photo: kolibri5 on Pixabay

Water Law and Governance

Only 3% of the earth’s water is freshwater; about two-thirds of it is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps and we have long over-stretched this precious resource.


Protected Area Photo: IUCN

Protected Areas (PAs) and Land Use

Protected Area (PA) systems, as well as individual PAs, must be supported by a firm legal infrastructure.


Quick reads

Aimed at policy-makers and journalists, IUCN Issues Briefs provide key information on selected issues in a two-pager format.

thumbnail_Governing areas beyond national jurisdiction issues brief Photo: IUCN

Governing areas beyond national jurisdiction

Nearly two-thirds of the world’s ocean is beyond national jurisdiction – where no single state has authority. This area reaches depths of over 10 km and represents 95% of the Earth’s total habitat by...
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