Archive News

The 12th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law will be hosted by Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, Spain, from 30 June to 5 July 2014. Please save the dates.

A Call for Papers will be sent out in the Fall.

It is with deep sadness that the IUCN Academy has learned of the passing of Dr. Françoise Burhenne-Guilmin on Saturday, August 24th. She was a pioneer and lifelong champion for environmental law education, research and advocacy. She was instrumental in developing many of the international environmental law instruments which we teach in our courses today. Francoise was an ardent supporter of the IUCN Academy since its inception ten years ago and, as the Academy, we will proudly pass on her rich legacy to future generations.

The IUCN Environmental Law Centre in Bonn has created a tribute in her honour which details her remarkable achievements at Individual messages may be posted there.

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law

An exciting opportunity to strengthen environmental law collegial links with Australia and New Zealand

Colleagues coming to Waikato for the 2013 IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium may enjoy the opportunity to strengthen links with fellow environmental lawyers in Australia while exploring a selection of urban, coastal and rural landscapes. An exciting post-Colloquium programme, designed to stimulate collaboration and to give colleagues ‘a taste of Australia’ has been designed.

As many Colloquium attendees will be passing through Sydney on their return journey from New Zealand, we have organised a programme to capitalise on this. Delegates will participate in a full day field trip to the University of Western Sydney where peri-urban environmental issues are a focus and this will be followed by a Reception and Panel Discussion back in Sydney City with colleagues from the University of Technology Sydney. Delegates will then have the opportunity to see some of Australia’s fabulous coastline, with a bus tour to the University of New England in Armidale via Port Macquarie. We will also travel via Dorrigo where environmental land use conflict issues have emerged in recent times. Along the way, there will be opportunities to witness stunning scenery, and to interact further with colleagues. Following our arrival in Armidale, delegates will participate in a two-day symposium on land use change law and policy.

The Australian Side Event organizers look forward to a leisurely and enjoyable opportunity to build on the collegial links which will be created and strengthened by your attendance at Waikato.

For more detailed programme information, and online registration, please visit: or email Amanda Kennedy: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Final Program

He Tapuwae: footprints left on the land, symbolizes the human journey into new territory as we explore and develop our world. This Colloquium will therefore focus on key emerging themes of international, comparative and domestic environmental law and our journey in responding to them. The experience of low lying coast and island communities, for example, reflects the fact that at the heart of environmental pressures and conflicts lie frequently fractious relationships and interactions between power and vulnerability. All around the world, there are deep tensions, frequently, between vastly different understandings of how to live as human beings in the complex ecologies in which we find ourselves and with which we are co-formed.

Local and traditional communities across the world share multiple forms of environmental vulnerability. Indigenous peoples in the critically endangered forests; communities suffering from the effects of irresponsible mining or hazardous wastes; subsistence farmers whose resources are degraded or appropriated without fair recompense. A wide range of human communities suffer from forms of deep environmental injustice in the name of 'business as usual'. Meanwhile, innumerable predations affect animal populations and the fragile ecosystems upon which all life on earth depends.

Those who depend most intimately and directly upon the living world for their physical and cultural existence tend to suffer most from environmental destruction and degradation. While all of human life depends upon the living world, communities vulnerable to the socio-cultural effects of environmental degradation suffer particular and well-documented forms of environmental injustice, exclusion and marginalisation. This IUCN Academy Colloquium invites participants to address this challenge and the various ways in which law could more effectively 'speak truth to power'.

Our hope, as organisers, is that members of the Academy will contribute to a critique of environmental injustice and offer 'sacred footsteps' into new frontiers of environmental justice. We hope for fresh jurisprudential, doctrinal, institutional and tactical insights, and practical mechanisms for the delivery of resilience to vulnerable communities, animals and ecosystems.

For further details, please visit the website of the University of Waikato. Once we have further information on the Colloquium, we will update our website accordingly.

Final Program

The Draft Program is now available. For further details, please visit the website of the University of Waikato. Once we have further information on the Colloquium, we will update our website accordingly.

The IUCN Academy was featured in the October 2012 North America issue of the International Innovation Magazine. Click here to download the article.

In the immediate aftermath of the Rio+20 international discussions revisiting the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 and in the year also marking the 40th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law held its tenth annual colloquium on the theme “Global Environmental Law at a Crossroads.” The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Baltimore, Maryland, hosted the colloquium and associated workshops from July 1-5.

Panellists in the opening plenary session on the Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development included Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin of the High Court of Brazil; Amy Fraenkel, UNEP’s Regional Director for North America, and Scott Fulton, General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Nicholas A. Robinson of Pace University and Jacob Scherr of the Natural Resources Defense Council provided further insights into the aspirations and accomplishments of the Rio meetings with particular reference to conference statements including “The Future We Want” and the Rio+20 Declaration on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability.”

Professor Edith Brown Weiss of Georgetown Law School gave the distinguished Fedder Lecture in which she highlighted “kaleidoscopic” transformation in the sources and processes of environmental law-making and governance that now include voluntary and self-regulatory initiatives alongside international, national and local government measures. In his welcoming remarks to colloquium participants, Joel Fedder underscored the importance of environmental research and advocacy.

In a special plenary session on access to justice at the University of Maryland and at a post-colloquium forum on environmental justice and information hosted in Washington by the World Bank, Academy members commemorated the exceptional career of the late Professor Svitlana Kravchenko.

The colloquium was attended by about 175 environmental law scholars drawn from universities in Africa; Europe; North America; Central and Latin America; Asia; Australia and New Zealand, as well as government officials, NGO representatives and independent experts. They discussed and debated a broad range of legal, scientific and policy issues relating to environmental governance with reference to climate change, oceans, ecosystem services, the challenges of environmental enforcement on water, energy and natural resources, among other specialized themes.

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law represents an international network of over one hundred and fifty institutions teaching and pursuing research in environmental law. The annual conference provides an opportunity for environmental law researchers from around the world to discuss key challenges on the environmental law agenda and to deliberate on the formulation of the Academy’s programme of research and teaching. The latter, as reported at the annual general meeting by the Chair, Professor Rob Fowler, includes instructional training initiatives underway or proposed in China, India, Indonesia and Colombia.

The Academy recognized outstanding contributions to environmental law scholarship with honours going to Professors Antonio Benjamin (University of Texas School of Law), Benjamin J. Richardson (University of British Columbia) and Margaret Young (University of Melbourne).

The IUCN Academy’s 2013 conference “He Tapuwae: Footprints on the Land” will be hosted in New Zealand by the University of Waikato in collaboration with the University of New England, June 24-28.

For further information on the Academy, its programmes, and its publications, see or contact the Secretariat at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.