The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is the largest conservation group in the world.  It holds a Congress of its members (governments and NGOs) every four years, and Pace Law’s Center for Environmental Legal Studies, as a voting member, sends a delegation. This year, we’re in Jeju, Republic of Korea, with more than 8,000 other participants. For a marathon nine days (September 6-15), delegates of voting members meet, hold hundreds of workshops and events, hear the business of the Union, and decide on new Resolutions that will guide the IUCN’s policies and activities for the next four years.  Our delegation includes Dean Emeritus Dick Ottinger, Professor Nick Robinson, Professor David Cassuto, Assistant Dean Lin Harmon, SJD student Faisal al-Turki, and star alums So Byungchun and Elaine Hsaio.

The Congress has been in full throttle (day and night) and it’s been difficult to find the time to post blog entries.  From 8:00 in the morning until sometimes far into the night, there are activities, seminars and meetings going on in many different conference and meeting rooms at once throughout the five-floor Jeju International Conference Center and a separate Conservation Campus.  So far in Jeju:  We attended two days of the Commission on Environmental Law meetings, where Dean Emeritus Dick Ottinger, chair of the Climate Change and Energy Specialty Group, gave a report on the SG’s accomplishments from 2008-12, and Professor Nick Robinson spoke on the environmental adjudication initiative.

Along with our colleagues Justice Antonio Benjamin from Brazil, Pace Judicial Scholar Merideth Wright, Environmental Law Institute Jay Pendergrass, and inspiring Filipino environmental attorney Tony Oposa, Nick and I presented a four-hour workshop on “Giving Force to Conservation Laws: Environmental Adjudication.”

Alum Elaine Hsaio, now a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia, has attended and spoken at numerous meetings, workshops and contact groups on protected areas and indigenous peoples’ rights.

We spoke individually at other workshops, attended numerous “contact groups” to hammer out motion language acceptable to a number of members, promoted our seven motions and a number of co-sponsored motions, listened to numerous speeches of candidates for numerous IUCN offices, attended daily hours-long Sittings of the Member’s Assembly and voted on motions, including a significant motion about the motions process itself that took 14 hours of negotiation by a number of parties (and we have more Sittings to go), had dinners with workshop speakers and other colleagues, and essentially immersed ourselves in the chaotic glory that is the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – a group of scientists, economists, ethicists, communicators, activists, government officials, lawyers, and law professors all passionately dedicated not only to the cause of nature conservation in a rapidly changing world, but nature-based solutions to the world’s problems – the “nature+” approach.

We’ll provide our insights, and a tally of our motions passed, in subsequent posts.

For all sorts of news from the Congress visit