The Organising Committee is pleased to announce the confirmed speaker for Plenary Session 5 Looking to the future, on Friday 28 June: 3.30pm-5.00pm. Emeritus Professor Ben Boer will present a thought provoking and energising paper on "Global Environmental Restoration: The Role of Environmental Law".


Ben has taught environmental law since 1979. He was a founding director of the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law, Sydney. He was Co-Director of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Ottawa from 2006 to 2008. He was appointed as Emeritus Professor in 2008 and continues to teach part time at the University of Sydney.
In 2011 Ben was appointed as a Distinguished Professor at the Research Institute for Environmental Law, School of Law, Wuhan University, People’ Republic of China under the Chinese Government 1000 Talents Programme.

At the World Conservation Congress in 2012, he was appointed as Deputy Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law. He has also served as co-chair of the Protected Areas Law Specialist Group, established by the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. He is also one of the founders of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law Specialist Group on Sustainable Soils and Desertification.

Over the past 25 years he has served as a consultant to various government ministries and intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations in Australia China, Federated States of Micronesia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam and Samoa. Most recently he has worked on the development of a policy on Zero Net Land Degradation for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Abstract: Global Environmental Restoration: the Role of Environmental Law

This paper focuses on the urgent need to ramp up the development and implementation of environmental law at international, regional and national levels. It argues that existing legal frameworks are insufficient to support effective environmental and natural resources governance and management regimes in the majority of the world's countries and regions. In the light of scientific indicators relating to the effects of climate change, the loss of terrestrial and marine biodiversity in terms of both ecosystems and species, and the processes of land degradation through desertification, erosion and contamination, comprehensive initiatives are required to promote the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental law on a global scale. In keeping with the subject matter of this colloquium, human rights and policy issues arising from these scientific indicators will also be canvassed. It argues that a new generation of environmental law must be advanced globally to ensure that the newly emerging Sustainable Development Goals (including the ecological, social, cultural, ethical and economic aspects of sustainability) are fully catered for by principled and comprehensive legal frameworks.

These problems cannot be addressed without a clear inventory and understanding of existing legal frameworks, based on indicators of good practices, as well as ongoing efforts to evaluate progress, improvement, or failures over time. In order to address these concerns, this paper proposes a periodic, comprehensive assessment, region-by-region, of the effectiveness of environmental law. This assessment would be coordinated through the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law and the IUCN Environmental Law Centre, in conjunction with UNEP, the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) and other partners. It will be suggested that such an ongoing project should, among other things, produce regular reports on the development and progress of environmental law similar to the UNEP Global Environment Outlook. The primary goal of such reports would be to highlight positive developments or improvements in the effectiveness of environmental legal frameworks and to promote the role of environmental law in global, regional and national environmental restoration.

Organizing Committee: 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium 2013