Hosted by the IUCN Environmental Law Centre (ELC), eighteen international law experts from all over the world - most of them Members of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law (CEL) - gathered in Bonn to proceed to an update of the draft Covenant on Environment and Development. The project is spearheaded by CEL, and implemented with the support of the International Council for Environmental Law (ICEL), an international NGO member of IUCN. The meeting followed more than one year of preparation, with invited experts providing proposals for amendments to be considered at the meeting.
The draft Covenant is a blueprint for an international framework (or umbrella) agreement consolidating and developing existing legal principles and rules related to environment and development. First published in 1995, and launched that year at the UN Congress on public international law, the Covenant is meant to remain a ‘living document’, regularly updated to reflect the development of international law and practice. It has thus been updated and revised twice since 1995.
The purpose of the recent meeting was to revise the draft Covenant once more, and thus lead to its fourth edition later in the year. The text of the Covenant is accompanied by an article by article detailed legal commentary, which is updated on the occasion of each edition to reflect modifications made to the text.
The Bonn meeting’s mandate was Resolution 4.101 of the 2008 IUCN World Conservation Congress entitled International Covenant on Environment and Development. This resolution calls upon IUCN to prepare a fourth edition, and upon ICEL to continue to support these efforts, substantively and financially.
Publication of the fourth edition is expected in the Fall.