The IUCN Commission on Environmental Law’s Chair and Deputy Chair, Ms. Sheila Abed and Prof. Antonio Benjamin, visited the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) regional office in Nairobi last month. During their stay, they had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Angela Cropper, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Bakary Kante, Director of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, Ms. Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary of UNEP/CMS Secretariat in Bonn, and also a member of CEL’s Steering Committee and Mr. John Scanlon, Principal Advisor to the Executive Director on Policy and Programme, and former Head of the IUCN Environmental Law Programme and Director of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre (Bonn, Germany).
The dialogues that went on during the meetings focused on analyzing the work the Commission is carrying out and exploring opportunities to work jointly on some of CEL’s initiatives such as the Judicial Portal, as well as in the different regions where IUCN and CEL are acting. Another topic of discussion included the continued support of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAS). The environmental leaders also discussed the steps to follow in preparation for the next Earth Summit 2012 “Sustainable Development – The Peace of the Future”, which will be held in Brazil.
Ms. Abed and Prof. Benjamin had the chance to meet with Ms. Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner. During the meeting they had the chance to discuss support programmes for civic participation and other areas of environmental law where CEL and other organizations can act.
CEL’s Deputy Chair interviewed Mr. Donald Kaniaru, former Director of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation at UNEP.
This visit also served as an occasion to speak with the President of the Supreme Court of Kenya, Chief Justice Johnson Evan Gicheru, about legal training for judges in the field of environmental law.
As a whole, the visit was a huge success and it was definitely a step forward in achieving the Commission’s goals and the continued advancement of the Union’s Programme.