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The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Scholarship Awards for Senior and Emerging scholars recognize publications including academic books (edited or authored), journal articles and book chapters, as well as commissioned policy reports and studies of research value in any language. Consideration may also be given to other scholarly activities, such as organizing academic conferences and workshops, building collaborative research networks, and other innovations that advance research in environmental law.

The 2015 Scholarship Award winners are announced below.

Senior Scholarship Award: Professor Ben Boer

Professor Ben Boer is Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Sydney (Australia) and Distinguished Professor at Wuhan University Law School in its Research Institute of Environmental Law (China).


Professor Ben Boer and Professor Nilufer Oral, Chair, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law

The following excerpts regarding the academic work of Professor Boer are taken from the reviewers:

Prodigious scholarly efforts.  A pioneer. Internationally recognized expert.  His scholarly work has been characterized by extraordinary transnational as well as international scope, careful attention to detail and exposition in describing issues and existing law accompanied by sensible, original, and sometimes bold legislative, policy and governance proposals”.

A distinguished academic career spanning over more than four decades at a number of prestigious universities and international organizations – his high-quality original scholarship – wide range of subject areas including international environmental law, comparative environmental law, conservation and heritage law, water law, environmental rights, protection of soils and the law related to protected areas and biodiversity – highest academic standards with a considerable degree of originality and great accessibility appealing to a wide readership well beyond environmental law“.

Emerging Scholarship Award: Professor Sara Seck

Professor Sara Seck is Associate Professor with the Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario, Canada.


Professor Sara Seck

The following excerpts regarding the academic work of Professor Seck are taken from the reviewers:

“Significant body of work.  Wide array of issues related to the governance of transnational corporate activity, human rights and the environment.  Original insights into the way the extractive industry has helped to shape environmental discourse on resource extraction and sustainable development and into the colonial attributes of international environmental law….Quality of scholarship is excellent. Work is thorough, critical.”

“An extensive and impressive record of scholarship – a meticulous scholar – thorough understanding of the existing legal and policy framework.  An admirable balance between analysis and advocacy – Engagement with third world approaches to international law.  Professor Seck addresses the failure of international environmental law to engage with the harmful environmental impacts of transnational corporate conduct, questioning the view that intra territorial environmental harm lies outside the purview of the discipline…”

Emerging Scholarship Award: Professor Hannah Wiseman

Professor Hannah Wiseman is Assistant Professor at the Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.


Professor Hannah Wiseman

The following excerpts regarding the academic work of Professor Wiseman are taken from the reviewers:

“An ability to recognize emerging issues before virtually anyone else.  First law scholar to recognize the importance of hydraulic fracturing.  A thorough understand of the subjects.  Detailed, well-reasoned analyses and compelling arguments.  Her articles have influence (ex. EPA) “an influential voice” – International importance and significant attention outside the US.  Her insights and advice provide a roadmap that other jurisdictions could use in crafting their own regulations – Ability to do several different types of work … not limited to hydraulic fracturing: other energy topic that have an environmental nexus….She writes and speaks in such a balanced tone, supports her arguments with such sound reasoning that has earned the respect of both critics and defenders of hydraulic fracturing.”

“Her scholarship is novel, well-researched, well-written, and as importantly, helping to make law and governance better in impressive ways.  …Highest scholarly quality, providing important novel insights into timely topics and foundational ones.  Publications on hydraulic fracturing alone are enormously influential.  Articles impeccably researched, demonstrate a depth of understanding, put forward innovative ideas that could be implemented practically, and are well-written and well-organized….”

IUCN Academy of Environmental Law 2015 Environmental Law Education Awards

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Education Awards recognize significant and diverse contributions to education and learning on environmental law by Senior and Emerging faculty. Such contributions include teaching specialized courses to undergraduate and graduate students, delivering clinical programs that expose students to the practice of environmental law, and supervising students who are undertaking advanced research in Masters and PhD programs.

The 2015 Education Award winners are announced below.

Senior Education Award : Professor Charles Okidi


Professor Charles Okidi

Professor Charles Okidi is associated with the School of Law and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy at the University of Nairobi, Kenya.  The following commentary is taken from the remarks of Professor Sophie Riley, Chair of the Academy’s Teaching and Awards Committee, in announcing the award.

“Professor Charles Okidi is of course well known amongst our colleagues of the Academy as the father of environmental law in Africa. In this sense, he requires no further introduction and anything I am about to say is superfluous. However, let us reflect on some of Professor Okidi’s amazing achievements.

To start with he taught environmental law at the University of Nairobi in the 1980’s, long before the subject was taught elsewhere. Professor Okidi has supervised many graduate students and mentored students in publishing their work. He uses a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching and this is reflected in the fact that Professor Okidi’s students have gone on to work for organisations such as UNEP, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In addition many of his students have become researchers and academics at a range of universities.

Professor Okidi is also one of the founding members of the International Commission on Environmental Law as well as a founding member of the IUCN Academy on Environmental Law. In these positions Professor Okidi has forged linkages with leading academics around the world.

More recently Professor Okidi founded the Centre for Advanced Study of Environmental Law and Policy at the University of Nairobi. This centre offers graduate programmes in environmental law, policy and diplomacy. Professor Okidi was also a driving force behind the establishment of the Association of Environmental Law Teachers in African Universities.

Professor Okidi has published in the vicinity of 40 books and monographs, 28 journal articles and book chapters. He has also co-authored the first environmental law text book in Kenya.

In short, professor Okidi has been instrumental in setting the environmental agenda in Kenya and beyond.”

Emerging Education Award: Professor D. Kapua’ala Sproat

Professor Kapua’ala Sproat teaches at the University of Hawaii. The following commentary is taken from the remarks of Professor Sophie Riley, Chair of the Academy’s Teaching and Awards Committee, in announcing the award.

“Professor Sproat has taught environmental law at the University of Hawaii since 2007. She is an exceptionally talented teacher who emphasizes the relationship between environmental law and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In addition, Professor Sproat teaches practice-oriented environmental law courses with a focus on environmental enforcement and citizen litigation. In 2011 she became the principal investigator for the A’o Aku A’o Mai initiative to provide direct legal services to under-represented groups in rurual communities.


Professor D. Kapua’ala Sproat

Professor Sproat has also published a number of legal primers including: one on water use and management in Hawaii; traditional and customary Native Hawaiian Rights and Nature; Hawaiian Burials and Quiet Title and Partition. Moreover, Professor Sproat is an outstanding mentor to her students, whom she encourages to act as research assistants and assistants in environmental law clinics.

In the words of her Dean, professor Sproat “…stands out as extraordinary…her success in conveying intricate information to law students, experts, community members…is unparalleled…she is an exemplar of what it is to be a brilliant teacher”

IUCN Academy of Environmental Law: 2015 Best Graduate Student Paper Award

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law is pleased to announce that Marcia Fajardo Cavalcanti de Albuquerque (who is a student at both Paris Pantheon-Sorbonne, France, and Mackenzie University of Sao Paolo, Brazil) and Dignité Bwiza (who is a student at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa) are the winners of the 2015 Best Graduate Student Paper Award.  Congratulations.

Márcia Fajardo Cavalcanti de Albuquerque

The title of Marcia’s paper is “Biodiversity vs Agriculture – Friends or Foes?  The Agroforestry Case within the Brazilian Legal Framework.”   Her paper argues that agriculture and biodiversity can be allies through the adoption of agroforestry practices. She illustrates her argument through a Brazilian case study, and discusses the reforms necessary to create a supportive regulatory framework.


Winnie Carruth & Marcia Fajardo Cavalcanti de Albuquerque

Dignité Bwiza

The title of Dignite’s paper is “Attaining Sustainable Forest Management in Post-Conflict Societies: How the Principles of Adaptive Law and Resilience can Strengthen Forest Law Enforcement.”  Her paper examines forest management in the Democratic Republic of Congo and uses legal and non-legal materials as well as structured interviews with a variety of stakeholders to develop recommendations for protecting forests in post-conflict societies.


Dignité Bwiza

Edward Elgar Publishing kindly donated two books to each of Marcia and Dignité to mark the occasion.  The IUCN Academy thanks Edward Elgar for its generosity and continuing support of the Academy.