Our work

IUCN ELP Capacity Building Initiative

From the earliest roots of the Environmental Law Programme (ELP), "capacity building in environmental law" has been one of the most critical elements of the Programme's mission.

This key objective of the ELP is fulfilled in an ever increasing variety of ways, including through:

As well as through:

The ELC Libraries are a critical element for enabling these activities through providing a high level of information, experience, and education that interns, fellows, researchers, course participants and others are able to access at the Environmental Law Centre (ELC).


The ELP's capacity-building programme includes a careful mix of workshops and seminars.

Many of these programmes are designed to provide materials, information and advice of practical value to attorneys working in specialised and developing fields. Recent workshops and seminars have included specialised work addressing legal issues in the fields of

  • Access and Benefit Sharing 
  • Biosafety
  • Clean Development Mechanism
  • Conservation Finance
  • Environmental Flows
  • High Seas
  • Liability
  • River Basin Management
  • Technology Transfer
  • Wildlife Trade Enforcement

The ELP is also well-known for its involvement in more general courses in Environmental Law, offered at national and regional levels, through education institutions in co-operation with the World Commission on Environmental Law. As the number and capacity of regional 'centres of excellence' has increased, they have assumed a major portion of this work.

Lectures / courses

The ELP is often called upon to provide lecturers and faculty members with specialised expertise in particular aspects of conservation and sustainable use law, to a variety of meetings, venues and programmes. This type of participation allows the Programme to reach out to non-lawyer conservation and sustainable use professionals, to build co-operative relationships with other organisations and institutions, and to share its special expertise on conservation and sustainable use issues.

The ELP has provided these services in many different venues, including programs sponsored by

  • CITES Secretariat
  • Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz)
  • German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium für Umwelt Naturschutz und  Reaktorsicherheit)
  • German Foundation for International Development  (Deutsche Stiftung für internationale Entwicklung)
  • Global Invasive Species Programme
  • Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid
  • International Development Law Institute
  • Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention
  • The Global Biodiversity Forum
  • University of Cologne (Universität von Köln)
  • University of Neuchatel (Université de Neuchâtel)

Independent or Sponsored Research at the ELC

Between the ELC's library collections of literature and legislative documents, and other resources, both personnel and physical facilities, the ELC has attracted many researchers, for both short and long stays. Study tours and research delegations from national governments and other organisations have been able to utilise a wide range of resources, including informal seminars by ELC staff and CEL members, focused on specific issues and concerns. Space and staff availability are always concerns, so prospective visitors are encouraged to contact the ELC, giving as much advance notice as possible to ensure that they choose an appropriate time for their visits. In addition, long-term visitors and those who will require staff, office space, or equipment support need to discuss suitable arrangements for covering overhead and other costs.

IUCN ELP Capacity Building Initiative