Environmental Liability and Biodiversity

June 25, 2021 10:00 am — 12:00 pm


This conference is co-sponsored by the World Commission on Environmental Law and the Environmental Law Institute.

Please visit the event page to register.

Biodiversity loss—driven by actions such as illegal wildlife trade, deforestation, climate change, and mining—causes cascading ecological, social, and economic harm. These impacts place growing demands on legal systems not only to tighten regulations and strengthen enforcement, but also to hold responsible parties liable for the harm they cause.

Although the substance, procedures and practices of law vary across countries, many countries provide a legal right to remedy when the environment is harmed—including in Brazil, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, European Union members, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines and United States (Jones et al. 2015). Yet, liability for environmental harm is virtually absent from practice in many high-biodiversity countries, notably across the Global South. And even where environmental liability has been employed, it has rarely been used to address key drivers of biodiversity, including from illegal harvest, use and trade of natural resources (see Phelps et al. in forthcoming; www.conservation-litigation.org).

Strategically leveraged, existing environmental liability laws provide a potentially ground-breaking opportunity to better safeguard biodiversity by remedying harm when it occurs—holding responsible parties liable for actions such as species rehabilitation, apologies and habitat conservation.

The body of precedent cases, expert guidance, and experience to build lawsuits to remedy biodiversity harm is nascent in most Global South countries. In this session, we will consider the emerging role of environmental liability litigation.

Jacob Phelps
, Senior Lecturer, Lancaster Environment Centre, UK, Moderator
Antonio Herman Benjamin, Justice, National High Court of Brazil – STJ; Chair, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law
David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Canada
Ofir Drodi, EAGLE Network, Kenya
Rika Fajrini, Indonesian Centre for Environmental Law, Indonesia
Valerie Fogleman, Professor of Law, Cardiff University, Wales UK
Carol A. Jones, Visiting Scholar in Environmental Economics, Environmental Law Institute, USA
Sébastien Mabile, Seattle Avocats and Mighty Earth, France
Rebecca Nichols, Lecturer, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Taufiq Purna Nugraha, Indonesian Institute of Life Sciences, Indonesia
John Pendergrass, Vice President for Programs and Publications, Environmental Law Institute, USA

Please visit the event page to register.