IUCN World Conservation Congress

Haub Law Team Student Members – IUCN World Conservation Congress Accomplishments

Since Spring 2019, and in the lead up to the WCC, dozens of Haub Law students have worked with the law school’s Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies (GCELS) to draft, submit and debate IUCN policy motions to help advance environmental justice and strengthen environmental rule of law globally. During the WCC, Haub Law students went head to head in negotiations with government representatives at IUCN to secure stronger human rights and environmental protections. Below are select highlighted successes of Haub Law students that took place during the Congress:


International Symposium on Environmental Law - Peace with Nature: Laws for Ecological Resilience 
Haub Law students, alumni, and faculty were featured panelists in a two-day symposium entitled Peace with Nature: Laws for Ecological Resilience which was held from September 2 to 3, 2021, in Marseille, France and virtually. Professor Nicholas Robinson and Professor Victor Tafur helped organize the symposium and participated in various panels throughout the event. The symposium was organized as a side event in the lead up to the IUCN World Conservation Congress in which many Haub Law community members are also taking part.  

  • Haub Law students Carly Hopkins and John Notoris presented on the urgency of ending fossil fuel subsidies, alongside Professor Richard Ottinger.  
  •  Madison Shaff and Christopher Sudol presented on the need to prevent further zoonotic diseases and the need to renounce the colonial Doctrine of Discovery, respectively. 
  •  Cassandra Jurenci ’21 and Nick Sioufas ’19 presented on the critical links between upholding food sovereignty and protecting biodiversity, alongside Professor Smita Narula. 
  •  Former Environmental Law Program LLM Fellow Umair Saleem ’21 presented on Lahore’s Judicial Commissions while Haub Law alum and 2020 Haub Visiting Scholar Professor James May spoke to actualizing the rights of nature.


Renouncing the Doctrine of Discovery – Motion 048 

  • Motion 048 calls on IUCN to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery as already implied in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). 
  • Chris Sudol and Gina Hervey represented the Haub Law team during virtual negotiations for Motion 048. Makayla Loeb and Madison Roberts had also previously worked on the motion. 
  • Chris Sudol was successful in delivering interventions on behalf of GCELS and connected with several allies during the process. 
  • Motion 048 renouncing the Doctrine of Discovery was successfully adopted. 

 

Calling for Immediate International action to Address Climate Change – Motion 034

  • Motion 034 calls on the IUCN, as the largest and most prestigious international environmental organization, to take immediate steps in addressing the climate crises through adopting thereby broadening the IUCN definition of Nature Based Solutions and calling on IUCN Members and Experts to urge their governments and private sector organizations to phase out their dependence on fossil fuel and to phase out the non-essential uses of plastics.
  • Professor Ottinger and John Notoris represented the Haub Law Team in virtual negotiations for Motion 034 calling for amendments urging IUCN members to take immediate action. Carly Hopkins and Allison Wood ‘21 also provided significant support to this motion. 
  • Motion 034 was adopted with the Team's Amendment incorporated by 95% of governments and 94% of NGOs.

 

Strengthening Food Sovereignty and Security of Indigenous Peoples and Peasant Communities – Motion 044

  • Motion 044 calls on IUCN Members to reject destructive agricultural practices and embrace more sustainable food pathways by joining in the global recognition of the rights of peasants and respect for traditional agrarian knowledge.
  • Professor Narula, Cassie Jurenci, and Nick Sioufas represented GCELS in virtual negotiations for Motion 044. The team provided successful interventions and made significant progress on priorities for the Motion, managing to get most of their amendments in for the Motion.
  • Motion 044 was adopted with most of the Team's amendments incorporated into the text

 

Preventing Zoonotic Spillovers to Avert the Next Pandemic – From New and Urgent Motion to Motion 135

  •  This Motion calls for the IUCN’s acceptance of the One-Health approach, readjustment to land use laws, environmental statutes to incorporate zoonotic disease potential in all Environmental Impact Statements, and a cultural shift back to prioritizing indigenous teachings.
  •  The IUCN Resolutions Committee revoked their initial rejection of the Zoonosis Motion and subsequently merged our proposed New and Urgent Motion with Motion 135 "Ensuring human, animal and environmental health, and preventing pandemics through the One Health approach".
  • Madison Shaff assisted in drafting the text appealing the IUCN Resolutions Committee decision on the Zoonosis Motion. 
  • Madison Shaff and Brooke Mercaldi drafted the Haub Law Team’s application for submitting the New and Urgent Zoonosis motion. Brooke also secured co-sponsors for Haub Law’s New and Urgent Zoonosis motion, represented GCELS in the initial virtual negotiation for Motion 135, and drafted language on the inclusion of Environmental Impact Assessments to be added to Motion 135 in the final Contact Group negotiation
  • Claire McLeod represented GCELS in the final virtual negation for the Motion and was successful in reaching consensus language which highlights impact assessments in the text. 
  • Motion 135 was adopted, with language referencing the "One Health" approach and Impact Assessments, by 93% of governments and 95% of NGOs. 

IUCN World Conservation Congress (September 3-11, 2021)

The Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies (GCELS) at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University anchors innovative projects to develop necessary laws to address the world’s most pressing global environmental issues.

The following motions, which will be voted on during the IUCN World Conservation Congress Members’ Assembly, were submitted by Haub Law School faculty, alumni and students. 

WCC MOTION 048 - Rediscovering the care of Mother Earth from the vision of Indigenous Peoples

WCC MOTION 044 - Actions to strengthen food sovereignty and security of indigenous peoples and peasant communities

WCC MOTION 034 - Climate Change and Biodiversity Crisis [Promoting integrated solutions to the climate change and biodiversity crises]

NEW AND URGENT MOTION: Preventing Zoonotic Spillovers to Avert the Next Pandemic

WCC MOTION 048 - Rediscovering the care of Mother Earth from the vision of Indigenous Peoples 

WCC MOTION 048 - Rediscovering the care of Mother Earth from the vision of Indigenous Peoples 

Motion 048 calls on IUCN to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery as already implied in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Laws, policies, and practices effectuating the Doctrine of Discovery are unjust, destroy the collective and individual rights of Indigenous Peoples worldwide, and have devastating impacts on nature.  

The Doctrine of Discovery (“DoD”), is an international legal principle that historians date to the 5th century A.D. 

Today, DoD legitimizes the continuing suppression of Indigenous communities and cultures while making the co-stewardship of nature and natural resources by Indigenous Peoples impossible during a time when unsustainable development, supported by DoD principles, is diminishing biodiversity and contributing to climate change.  

Motion 048 calls on IUCN to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery. The adoption of this motion would reaffirm the dignity and humanity of all Indigenous Peoples, and help achieve IUCN’s mission for the conservation of nature 

Now is an opportune moment for IUCN to reify its support of Indigenous Peoples’ rights by adopting this motion.  

Please find memorandum on Motion and amendments to Motion here.

WCC MOTION 044 - Actions to strengthen food sovereignty and security of indigenous peoples and peasant communities.

WCC MOTION 044 - Actions to strengthen food sovereignty and security of indigenous peoples and peasant communities.  

 The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) upholds peasant farming as an alternative to industrial agriculture. It also champions women’s rights and affirms peasants’ rights to land, seeds, and food sovereignty, as well as their right to maintain biological diversity through the use of traditional practices and knowledge. When their rights are recognized and protected, peasants inherently shore up the ecological infrastructure needed to conserve biodiversity, build sustainable food systems, and protect rural and urban communities against climate shocks. Motion 044 calls on IUCN Members to reject destructive agricultural practices and embrace more sustainable food pathways by joining in the global recognition of the rights of peasants and respect for traditional agrarian knowledge. 

The essential biodiversity that underpins global food production is disappearing. Industrial agriculture has led to a host of environmental problems, including deforestation, soil degradation, increased greenhouse gas emissions, extinction of species, and pollution of freshwater sources. Moreover, our industrial food system often impoverishes small-scale farmers, and displaces rural communities and indigenous peoples. Peasant movements from around the globe are advancing an alternative model that is oriented toward peasant-based agriculture and that prioritizes local markets and uses agroecological production methods to facilitate the transition to more sustainable and inclusive food systems.  

This model underscores the rights of Indigenous, rural, and traditionally-underrepresented peoples to define their own agricultural systems and policies, also known as the right to food sovereignty. 

In December 2018, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the landmark U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (“UNDROP”) -  a powerful legal tool to help ensure peasants’ rights and elevate this model. 

The result of nearly 20 years of mobilization by the social movement La Via Campesina and its allies, and six years of negotiation at the U.N. Human Rights Council, UNDROP is a response to the ongoing violations of the rights of peasants and other rural communities who help protect biodiversity and build sustainable food systems but are themselves disproportionately affected by extreme poverty and hunger. 

Please find memorandum on Motion and amendments to Motion here
To find out more details about UNDROP, watch video here. 

WCC MOTION 034 - Climate Change and Biodiversity Crisis [Promoting integrated solutions to the climate change and biodiversity crises] 

WCC MOTION 034 - Climate Change and Biodiversity Crisis [Promoting integrated solutions to the climate change and biodiversity crises] 

 Motion 034 calls on the IUCN, as the largest and most prestigious international environmental organization, to take immediate steps in addressing the climate crises through adopting thereby broadening the IUCN definition of Nature Based Solutions and calling on IUCN Members and Experts to urge their governments and private sector organizations to phase out their dependence on fossil fuel and to phase out the non-essential uses of plastics. With climate change effects far more drastic and immediate than previously predicted according to recent IPCC findings, immediate and drastic steps must be taken to mitigate and adapt to the global climate crisis. 

Climate change effects are far more drastic and immediate than previously predicted according to recent IPCC findings.  

Immediate steps in mitigating and adapting to climate change must be taken as there is no longer time to just develop a plan for addressing its existential threats. 

As the largest and most prestigious international environmental organization, we urge the IUCN to take action at its World Conservation Congress 2021 regarding climate change. 

Motion seeks to broaden the IUCN definition of Nature Based Solutions to include renewable energy practices such as solar, wind, and hydroelectricity - all practices which are recognized as essential elements of reduction of the climate crisis threat.  

Motion calls on IUCN’s thousands of Members and Experts to urge their governments and private sector organizations to phase out their dependence on fossil fuel and to phase out the non-essential uses of plastics 

Please find memorandum on Motion and amendments to Motion here.

NEW AND URGENT MOTION: Preventing Zoonotic Spillovers to Avert the Next Pandemic 

NEW AND URGENT MOTION: Preventing Zoonotic Spillovers to Avert the Next Pandemic 

“Zoonotic diseases”, such as COVID-19, are illnesses resulting from germs that animals carry which are becoming more common as humans increasingly encroach on wildlife habitats. By recognizing that the best way to prevent future pandemics is a proactive approach, this Motion calls for the IUCN’s acceptance of the One-Health approach, readjustment to land use laws, environmental statutes to incorporate zoonotic disease potential in all Environmental Impact Statements, and a cultural shift back to prioritizing indigenous teachings.  

“Zoonotic diseases”, such as COVID-19, are illnesses resulting from germs that animals carry. 

With an increasing world population, humans are spreading into habitat zones where they previously had not causing more close connections with animals carrying such zoonotic diseases than ever before, thus more opportunities for the transfer of zoonotic diseases to humans. 

The Motion for Preventing Zoonotic Spillovers to Avert the Next Pandemic recognizes that the best way to prevent future pandemics is a proactive approach. 

This motion calls for the IUCN’s acceptance of the One-Health approach, readjustment to land use laws, environmental statutes to incorporate zoonotic disease potential in all Environmental Impact Statements, and a cultural shift back to prioritizing indigenous teachings. 

Please find memorandum and Motion here.

2016 World Conservation Congress

At the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) 2016 World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii, a delegation from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, including faculty, alumni, staff and students, joined thousands of other world leaders in environmental law to take part in workshops, events, and votes on critical sustainability and conservation issues. In partnership with the William S. Richardson School of Law at University of Hawaii, Pace Law held an international environmental law moot court focused on intergenerational climate justice and the international law response to the global climate crisis.

Press Releases

News and Commentary

Pace Law Programme

Pace Law Motions

2012 World Conservation Congress

At the 2012 World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea, the Pace Law delegation hosted a "Conservation Campus" on environmental adjudication. You can watch the workshops on IUCN's YouTube site.

Having been prepared by Pace Law students and faculty, the following Pace Law resolutions were adopted:

Previous World Conservation Congresses and General Assemblies:

Pace Law students and faculty attended:

  • 2008 World Conservation Congress - Barcelona, Spain
  • 2004 World Conservation Congress - Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2000 World Conservation Congress - Amman, Jordan
  • 1996 World Conservation Congress - Montreal, Canada
  • 19th General Assembly, 1994 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 18th General Assembly, 1990 - Perth, Australia
  • 17th General Assembly, 1988 - San José, Costa Rica