Story | 22 Jun, 2018

IUCN WCEL Meeting to Advance the Global Pact for the Environment

The Commission convened a small meeting of experts on 25 May in New York City to discuss how the environmental law community can proceed following adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 May 2018 setting in motion a process seeking to discuss and reach agreement on the aims of a Global Pact for the Environment.

WCEL organized a meeting on 25 May 2018 at the New York Office of UN Environment to coordinate next steps to be taken with partners for sharing information and contributing to the process established by United Nations General Assembly  Resolution 72/277 “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment” adopted on 10 May 2018. Justice Antonio Benjamin, WCEL Chair, hosted the distinguished group of 17 participants with the goal of channeling their expertise in international environmental law and the United Nations system to advance a rapid and effective plan to solidify understanding and support among UN Member States to negotiate and eventually adopt a new binding international instrument in the spirit of the original intentions of the draft Global Pact for the Environment.

The insightful discussion covered developments and details of Resolution 72/277, partner contributions thus far, and agreement on a set of four main actions to be advanced through WCEL. The priority actions to be pursued are:

1. Focusing on the production of legal indices (see the “Downloads” section of this webpage for the indices released so far) linking different provisions of the Pact with existing legal obligations at regional levels. This work is being undertaken with the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice and further indices will be produced for additional regions.

2. Investigating and identifying ways for experts and partners to contribute to the process of preparing the report of the United Nations Secretary-General to the UN General Assembly.

3. Collaborating with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network at Columbia University to procude papers and explanatory documents to identify the key aspects and importance of the Pact (see the "Downloads" section of this webpage for one-page summaries in English and Spanish).

4. Working with the International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL) to organize a number of workshops and/or briefings at UN Headquarters to inform regional groupings and individual delegations.

Participants present at the meeting included:

  • Jamil Ahmad: Director a. i. Head, Intergovernmental Affairs at the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme
  • Denise Antolini: WCEL Deputy Chair
  • Antonio Herman Benjamin: WCEL Chair and ICEL Member
  • Tutku Bektas: Intern to Nilufer Oral
  • Aaron Laur: WCEL Executive Officer
  • Reinhard Krapp: Minister, Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations and ICEL Member
  • Katrina Fischer Kuh: Haub Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and WCEL Member
  • Hiroko Muraki Gottlieb: ICEL Representative to the United Nations and WCEL Member
  • Nilufer Oral: Member, United Nations International Law Commission and Member of both ICEL and WCEL
  • Teresa Parejo: Senior Policy Advisor, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Columbia University
  • Cymie Payne: Associate Professor, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University; Chair, WCEL Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reefs Specialist Group; and ICEL Representative to the United Nations
  • S. Rama Rao: Former Legal Advisor to the Foreign Ministry of India
  • Nicholas Robinson: ICEL Executive Governor and WCEL Chair Emeritus
  • Victor Tafur: Co-Director, UN Environmental Diplomacy Program, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University; WCEL Member; and ICEL Representative to the United Nations
  • Maria Antonia Tigre: Senior Attorney, Environment Program, Vance Center for International Justice and WCEL Member
  • Clement Yow Mulalap: Legal Advisor, Permanent Mission of the Federation of Micronesian States to the United Nations and WCEL Member