Since 1999, the Environmental Law Institute has developed its Africa Program to promote environmental law, policy, and management in Africa. Partnering with African NGOs and governments, ELI assists in drafting and advancing pragmatic and effective environmental laws and policies, analyzes and identifies options to improve the implementation of existing environmental law, and builds the capacity of local institutions and citizens in Africa to carry out these tasks independently. In addition to strengthening environmental laws, ELI and its partners empower civil society to address environmental needs by undertaking projects in rule of law, transparency, public participation, and access to justice.
ELI has worked with in-country partners on: seminars to build capacity of East African judges to hear environmental cases and lawyers to advocate effectively for the environment; an awareness-raising campaign advancing opportunities for a regional initiative on environmental governance in Africa; a study on best practices and lessons learned in developing and implementing laws and policies governing access to genetic resources and benefit sharing; and research on how to protect biodiversity in Islamic countries in Africa, drawing upon provisions of the Shariah. ELI also has an expanding program for African Visiting Scholars.