Program on International & Comparative Environmental Law
The Program on International & Comparative Environmental Law (PICEL) promotes environmental law as a response to the serious threats currently facing the global environment. The Program integrates WCL students with lawyers and practitioners in the field. This integration provides exciting new learning opportunities for WCL students through client-based research projects, expanded support for student research projects, and diverse special events at the school. PICEL also supports several long-term research projects.
Project on Global Environmental Standards
Throughout the past decade, civil society, multilateral development banks, export credit agencies, commercial banks, private industry, and governments have all been searching in different ways for commonly accepted environmental and social standards to govern major investments in developing countries. While some standards come from international treaties, others come from the policies of development banks themselves, namely those of the World Bank Group. The project on global environmental standards focuses on the substantive and procedural aspects of integrating global environmental priorities into international financial and investment decisions. Such global environmental priorities include, but are not limited to, the reduction of greenhouse gases or the conservation of biological diversity; the future direction of investment policy, including what rules would be necessary to protect community-based sustainable development; and the administrative procedural principles and practice that should govern standard-setting at international organizations. This research project includes commenting and participating in consultations related to updates, re-drafting, and drafting of environmental and social standards at international organizations, primarily the International Financial Institutions.
China-Latin America Sustainable Investments Initiative
The Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law has launched a new project: la Iniciativa para las Inversiones Sustentables China-América Latina (IISCAL) or China-Latin America Sustainable Investment Initiative (CLASII). CLASII works to ensure that Chinese investments bring positive benefits to the people and environment of Latin America. CLASII promotes sound environmental and social regulations alongside robust civil society participation in order to ensure responsible investment and adequate oversight. Activities include developing and translating a manual on Chinese guidelines, developing bulletins to update partners about new developments, and hosting workshops throughout Latin America. CLASII is lead by Paulina Garzón, an Ecuadorian native with 25 years of experience working on issues relating to business, the environment, and human rights. Paulina has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2009). More information is available here.
Accountability in Practice: Lessons from the CAO
The Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law has a project focused on looking at the first fifteen years of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO), which is the independent accountability mechanism for the International Finance Corporation. The project will look at the creation of the CAO and early complaints, as well as drawing on the reflections of Meg Taylor, the first CAO Executive Vice President. More information will be coming soon as the project develops.
Climate Law Project
Climate change is arguably the most pressing environmental issue facing humanity today. Little doubt now exists that human activities are causing an overall warming. Further, this warming has significant potential implications for agriculture, the spread of disease, sea level rise, polar ice, and biological diversity. At the same time, curbing climate change with minimum interference on the global economy and the need to continue raising the quality of life, particularly for the poor, will take creative and innovative law and policy making at all levels. As governments around the world discuss how best to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, the Climate Law Project strives to develop and promote innovative legal approaches to climate change, including approaches to carbon emissions trading, technology transfers, liability for climate change, and carbon financing.
Durban Climate Project
Building on the last two years, the Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law will be attending the Seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa from Nov. 29 to Dec. 9. In the previous two years, students have been able to participate in the Environmental Law Program's Climate Project by attending the COPs and seeing first hand what international negotiations are like. The work has, and continues to be, primarily focused on issues related to climate finance, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), safeguards, accountability, and transparency. This year, Program Coordinator Erika Lennon is leading the Durban Climate Project, in which four students studying environmental law will attend COP-17. The WCL students will work on numerous issues including climate finance, accountability, transparency, REDD, public participation, compliance, and the continution of the Kyoto Protocol and its mechanisms. Erika and three of the JD students will be assisting the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and other environmental non-governmental organizations monitoring the negotiations. Additionally, one of the students will be serving on the Dominican Republic's delegation and will work with them to help negotiate a treaty that will be beneficial.
Follow the WCL students on Twitter @auwclEnvLaw.
Cancún Climate Project
Continuing the work around international climate negotiations, the Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law will be attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-16) in Cancún, México from Nov. 30 to Dec. 10. Professor David Hunter and Program Coordinator Erika Lennon are leading the Cancún Climate Project. Ten students who have demonstrated their commitment to environmental law will accompany Professor Hunter and Erika to COP-16. The WCL students will work on numerous issues including climate finance, human rights and climate change, technology transfer, public participation, and compliance. They will be assisting the Center for International Environmental Law, the Center for Biological Diversity, and other environmental organizations actively monitoring the negotiations.
To follow the WCL Students on Twitter, please visit @COPout16_BeLive.
Photo credit: Carroll Muffett
Copenhagen Climate Project
The Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law will be attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark from Dec. 7-18. The WCL Copenhagen Climate Project is led by Professor David Hunter and Program Coordinator Erika Lennon and includes several students who have demonstrated a commitment to environmental law. The UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen may result in the next treaty addressing the problems associated with climate change. This is a unique opportunity for WCL students who are assisting the Center for International Environmental Law, the Climate Law and Policy Project, and other environmental organizations actively monitoring the negotiations.
To read blog updates from the WCL Copenhagen Climate Project, please visit the Center for Progressive Reform.
For information about events hosted by the Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law, click here.
For more information about the Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law and its activities, please contact the program coordinator, Erika Lennon.