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Sidebar: Legal Victories on the World Stage

September 22, 2009

Progress in international environmental law can be agonizingly slow; it requires sustained and persistent effort. Yet IELP has amassed impressive results. Here are a few of the clinic’s many victories:

Saving Sea Turtles–IELP played a central role in the development of the Cooperative Agreement for the Conservation of Sea Turtles of the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Defending Whales–IELP has worked with the International Whaling Commission to ensure that any new regulations for the resumption of commercial whaling help protect whales.

Protecting Parks–To protect La Amistad International Park in Panama from devastation caused by human encroachment and the construction of four hydroelectric dams, IELP was instrumental in getting the park listed as a World Heritage Site.

Battling Climate Change–Climate change is causing the deterioration of some of the world’s most beautiful places, such as Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park on the U.S.-Canadian border. IELP petitioned to have the park designated as a World Heritage Site in Danger due to climate change, which would require both countries to take corrective actions to address threats to the park.

Helping Butterflies–IELP drafted a treaty to protect the North American monarch butterfly migration.

Changing the Rules of the Game–IELP has drafted legal opinions that supported government efforts to confiscate ivory transported by diplomats (despite claims of diplomatic immunity), that changed permitting rules for international trade in endangered species, and that thwarted efforts to weaken rules for citizen participation in NAFTA’s environmental commission.

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