Adjunct Professor of Law
David Downes is Assistant Director for Policy in the Office of International Affairs at the United States Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. He leads a team that coordinates international activities across the Department's bureaus on issues such as trade and investment policy, biodiversity and cooperation in the Arctic region. Mr. Downes is also an adjunct associate professor at the American University's Washington College of Law. From 2011-2014 he served as co-chair of the International Environmental Law Committee of the ABA Section of International Law; from 2007-2010 he edited the committee's annual review of international environmental law for an ABA journal The International Lawyer.
From 2000-2009, Mr. Downes was a Program Analyst in the Department's Office of Policy Analysis and served as the Department's Senior Trade Advisor. Before commencing government service, Mr. Downes was Senior Attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), also in Washington, where he created CIEL's biodiversity program, launched its intellectual property work and helped lead its trade and environment program. Before joining CIEL, he practiced law with the Washington firm of Steptoe & Johnson. He received his J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School and has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan.
Professor Downes teaches a course on the International Law of Biodiversity in the Summer Environmental Law Session.
Areas of Specialization
- International Environmental Law
Degrees & Universities
- J.D., University of Michigan Law School (cum laude)
- B.A., University of Michigan
- David Downes, Biological Diversity: A Multipolar Resource in a Multipolar World, Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting at the Am. Socy. of Intl. L. (2014).
- David Downes, Earth at Rio+20, 29 Envtl. Forum (May/June 2012).
- David Downes, ed., International Legal Developments in Review 2010: International Environmental Law, 45 Intl. Law 409 (2011).
- David Downes, ed., International Legal Developments in Review 2009: International Environmental Law, 44 Intl. Law 503 (2010).
- David Downes, ed., International Legal Developments in Review 2008: International Environmental Law, 43 Intl. Law. 837 (2009).
- David Downes, ed., International Legal Developments in Review 2007: International Environmental Law, 42 Intl. Law. 285 (2008).
- David Downes, contributor, International Legal Developments in Review 2006: International Environmental Law, 41 Itnl. Law. 201 (2007).
- David Downes, contributor, International Legal Developments in Review 2005: International Environmental Law, 40 Intl. Law. 197 (2006).
- David R. Downes & Carolyn Deere, Fisheries and Trade: A New Frontier?, in Achieving Sustainable Fisheries (Charlotte de Fontaubert, ed., IUCN 2003).
- David Downes, How Intellectual Property Could Be a Tool to Protect Traditional Knowledge, 25 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 253 (2000).
- David R. Downes & Braden Penhoet, Effective Dispute Resolution: A Review of Options for Dispute Resolution Mechanisms and Procedures, (WWF-US, 1999).
- David R. Downes & Sarah A. Laird, Community Registries of Biodiversity-Related Knowledge: the Role of Intellectual Property in Managing Access and Benefit Sharing, (UNCTAD, 1999).
- David R. Downes & Sarah A. Laird, Innovative Mechanisms for Sharing Benefits of Biodiversity and Related Knowledge: Case Studies on Geographical Indications and Trademarks, (UNCTAD, 1999).
- David Downes & Matthew Stilwell, The 1999 WTO Review of Life Patenting Under TRIPS, Bridges (English, French & Spanish) (Jan./Feb. 1999) (reprinted in Global Diversity (English & French, 1999) and in Diversity Magazine (Mar. 1999)).
- Nigel Sizer, David Downes, & David Kaimowitz, Tree Trade: Liberalization of International Commerce in Forest Products: Risks and Opportunities, (WRI/CIEL, 1999).
- David Downes, Global Forest Policy and Selected International Instruments: A Preliminary Review, in Assessing the International Forest Regime (Richard G. Tarasofsky, ed., IUCN 1999).
- Richard G. Tarasofsky, & David R. Downes, Global Cooperation on Forests Through International Institutions, in Assessing the International Forest Regime (Richard G. Tarasofsky, ed., IUCN 1999).
- David Downes, Integrating Implementation of the Biodiversity Convention and the Rules of the World Trade Organization, (IUCN 1999).
- Ian Bowles, David Downes, Dana Clark, & Marianne Guerin-McManus, Encouraging Private Sector Support for Biodiversity Conservation: The Use of Economic Incentives and Legal Tools, 8 Duke Envtl. L. & Policy Forum 209 (1998).
- A. Charlotte de Fontaubert, David R. Downes, & Tundi Agardy, Biodiversity in the Seas: Implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity in Marine and Coastal Habitats, 10 Geo. Intl. Envtl. L. Rev. 753 (1998).
- Susan H. Bragdon & David Downes, Recent Policy Trends and Developments Related to the Conservation, Use and Development of Genetic Resources, (Intl. Plant Genetics Resources Inst., 1998).
- Dana Clark and David Downes, What Price Biodiversity: Economics and Biodiversity Conservation in the United States, 11 J. Envtl. L. & Litig. 9 (1997).
- Francesca Grifo & David Downes, Agreements for Pharmaceutical Research on Biodiversity: a Checklist of Issues and Basic Principles, in Valuing Local Knowledge: Indigenous People and Intellectual Property Rights (Steven Brush & Doreen Stabinsky, eds., Island Press 1996).
- David Downes, Global Trade, Local Economies and the Biodiversity Convention, in Biodiversity and The Law (William J. Snape, ed., Island Press 1996).
- David Downes, The Convention on Biological Diversity and the GATT, in The Use of Trade Measures In Select Multilateral Environmental Agreements (Robert Housman et al., eds., UNEP 1995).
- David Downes and Chris Wold, Biodiversity Prospecting: Rules of the Game, 44 Bioscience 381 (1994).
- David Downes, Sarah Laird, Christopher Klein, & Bonnie Kramer Carney, Biodiversity Prospecting Contract, in Biodiversity Prospecting: Guidelines for Using Genetic and Biochemical Resources Sustainably and Equitably (Walter V. Reid et al., eds., World Resources Inst. 1993).
- David Downes, New Diplomacy for the Biodiversity Trade: Biodiversity, Biotechnology and Intellectual Property in the Convention on Biological Diversity, 4 Touro J. Transnatl. L. 1 (1993).
- David Downes, Don't Blame It On Rio: Human Rights and the Environment at UNCED, 15 Evntl. Forum (May 1992).