Prestigious 2023 Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy Presented to Ambassadors Marja Lehto and Marie Jacobsson in Recognition of their Work to Protect the Environment in Times of Armed Conflict

November 1, 2023
Haub Award 2023
Pictured at the 2023 Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy Ceremony: (left to right) Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University Dean Horace Anderson, Christian Haub, former Ambassador Marie Jacobsson of Sweden, Ambassador Marja Lehto of Finland, Pace University Trustee Liliane Haub, and Pace University President Marvin Krislov

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University has conferred the prestigious 2023 Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy on Ambassador Marja Lehto of Finland and former Ambassador Marie Jacobsson of Sweden for their pivotal roles advancing environmental law and policy to protect the environment in times of armed conflicts. The award was presented on Monday, October 23 by Pace Trustee Liliane Haub during an in-person ceremony at Pace University’s New York City campus and broadcast live to supporters from across the globe representing more than 15 countries.

Ambassador Lehto is Senior Expert on Public International Law for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and, until recently, Ambassador Jacobsson served as Principal Legal Adviser on International Law, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden. While Members of the UN International Law Commission (ILC), both served successively as Special Rapporteur for the topic of the “Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts.” In this role they worked tirelessly for a decade to develop the Draft principles on the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts and then skillfully led the adoption of the draft principles by the ILC and their acceptance by the United Nations General Assembly in 2022.

“We are honored to present the 2023 Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy to two extraordinary women for advancing a landmark development in international  and environmental law,” said Horace E. Anderson, Dean of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law. “Recent global warfare in places such as the Ukraine and now the Middle East have made it clear the importance and urgent need in managing environmental challenges in times of an armed conflict. The work of both Ambassador Lehto and Ambassador Jacobsson has provided a legal framework that paves the way forward to address these challenges in cooperation with the international community.”

This year’s Haub Award featured a timely panel discussion with the laureates, led by Nicholas A. Robinson, University Professor on the Environment and Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law Emeritus, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, and with panelist Dr. Nilüfer Oral, a Member and Chair of the United Nations International Law Commission, and Director of the Centre for International Law (CIL), National University of Singapore. The panel was preceded by a special message from Carl Bruch, Director of International Programs, Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and President, Environmental Peacebuilding Association (EnPAx), who spoke from Kyiv, Ukraine, while there advancing implementation of the principles.

In his introduction, Professor Robinson commented, “These principles are indeed a milestone in humanity’s efforts to safeguard earth’s biosphere. They are a realistic testament of hope and pragmatic sanity at a time when armed conflict in places such as Myanmar/Burma, Ukraine and now Gaza, seem to be violating the most basic norms of humanitarian law.”

During the program, Ambassadors Lehto and Jacobsson spoke about the unique and complex challenges of developing the draft principles as Special Rapporteurs for nearly a decade in succession. They noted that their roles required taking a broad temporal perspective to evaluate the rules before, during and after a conflict, and in situations of occupation. This included taking into account other areas of law and clarifying the obligations of States, international organizations and other relevant actors, including non-State armed groups to enhance environmental protection.

Ambassador Lehto added that the principles have also directed the Commission “to identify environmental problems that are cross-cutting through the different phases of the conflict cycle such as the legal and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and issues of responsibility and remediation.”

While noting that the teaching of the principles will be crucially important to future implementation, the Laureates provided advice to those who follow in their footsteps, calling on Universities to encourage research on issues related to the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts.

“It is also important that the work done by Universities reaches the politicians and the decision makers,” said Ambassador Jacobsson. “To make an impact, it needs to be widely disseminated while keeping the academic integrity.”

The Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy is the world’s most prestigious award in the field of environmental law. The Award has a distinguished history since 1979 shaped by progress in the field of environmental law and policy, and through collaborations with the Universite libre du Bruxelles and the International Council of Environmental Law. In 2016, the Family of Elisabeth Haub and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University established the award as it is known today to honor Elisabeth Haub (1899–1977), a noted philanthropist and advocate for strong laws for the conservation of nature. Chosen annually by an esteemed jury, the Award recognizes the innovation, skill, and accomplishments of lawyers, diplomats, international civil servants and other advocates who work to create the world environmental order. Learn more

Watch the 2023 Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy ceremony and panel discussion

About Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University offers JD and Masters of Law degrees in both Environmental and International Law, as well as a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The school, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, NY, opened its doors in 1976 and has more than 9,000 alumni around the world. The school maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory. Haub Law launched its Environmental Law Program in 1978, and it has long been ranked among the world’s leading university programs, with a current #1 ranking by U.S. News and World Report. Pace’s doctoral graduates teach environmental law at universities around the world. Pace’s JD alumni are prominent in environmental law firms, agencies and non-profit organizations across the U.S. and abroad. In 2016, the Law School received a transformational gift from the family of Elisabeth Haub, in recognition of its outstanding environmental law programs. For more information about Haub Law, visit

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