Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies

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About the Center:

The Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies (GCELS) at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University anchors innovative and ongoing projects to develop necessary laws to address the world’s most pressing global environmental issues. Our work is guided by the paramount need to ensure human rights and environmental justice for communities most affected by climate change and environmental degradation.

GCELS offers several opportunities for law students to advance their experiences in and understanding of global environmental issues. The UN Environmental Diplomacy Practicum allows students to serve as representatives of UN missions, including those of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and various small island nations, and to address pressing environmental matters with diplomats at the United Nations. We are one of only two law schools that is a voting member of IUCN, the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network. GCELS has actively participated in the IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) held every four years, and has supported various sectors of the IUCN, including the World Commission on Environmental Law.

Since January 2019, and working closely with GCELS’ faculty and fellows, dozens of Haub Law students helped to draft, negotiate, and adopt IUCN motions advancing environmental justice and strengthening environmental rule of law at the World Conservation Congress, which took place in September 2021 in Marseille, France, and represented a critical opportunity to mobilize the international community to take effective action on biodiversity loss and climate change.

Haub Law students, faculty and alumni took part in the WCC both in-person and virtually. Our work on IUCN motions to uphold Indigenous Peoples’ rights, advance food sovereignty and peasants’ rights, and take urgent action to address climate change and prevent further zoonotic diseases can be found here:

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