Recent events and news

Read about recent events and other news from NZCEL

  • 8th Frontiers in Environmental Law Colloquium 2022, 9 - 11 February 2022 

The New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law, University of Auckland and the Centre for Environmental Law, Macquarie University will be co-hosting the the 8th Frontiers in Environmental Law Colloquium 2022, 9 - 11 February 2022 together with the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment. 

The theme for the 2022 Colloquium is 'Environmental Law and Responsibilities in the Anthropocene.' 

The deadline for abstracts is 15 January 2022.

Click below to download the Call for Papers 

  • Dr Stephen Knight-Lenihan moves to Sweden 

The city of Malmö has evolved from its industrial roots and established itself as a Swedish green innovation hub, something NZCEL member Dr Stephen Knight-Lenihan has a particular interest in. Stephen moves to Malmö in early 2022 for a couple of years, and will look at how well things have gone for the city’s green points system aimed at incentivising sustainable design. He also plans to continue research into how to incorporate ecological principles into legislation, particularly in the area of ecosystem enhancement and restoration. Stephen will become an external member of NZCEL. He welcomes enquiries at 

  • Professor Klaus Bosselmann receives the 2021 Carlowitz Sustainability Award:

    Klaus received the prestigious award (international category) for his pioneering legal work and leadership over three decades.

For more information, click here

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France, has elected NZCEL member Professor Dr. Christina Voigt as new Chair for the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law - 13 September 2021

Dr. Christina Voigt is professor of law at the University of Oslo, Norway, and a renowned expert in international environmental law. She is passionate about environmental legal issues, such as climate change, biodiversity, forests, oceans, environmental multilateralism, and sustainability. Professor Voigt has published widely on these topics and is a frequent speaker at international and national events. For more than 10 years, she also worked as legal adviser and negotiator for the Government of Norway in the UN climate negotiations. She is the first co-chair of the Paris Agreement´s Compliance and Implementation Committee. Professor Voigt has been engaged with the work of the IUCN WCEL for many years, including as the chair of the Climate Change Specialist Group of the IUCN WCEL and a member of the IUCN Climate Change Task Force.  She has two young sons, Oscar and Victor.

  • Caroline Lambert visits the University of Auckland - 29 July 2021

Caroline Lambert, Head of Trade, EU Delegation visits with the Centre to discuss the new EU Green Deal and proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, as well as environmental aspects of the New Zealand-EU free trade agreement negotiations.

Prue Taylor (Deputy Director), Caroline Lambert, Caroline Foster (Acting Director)
  • Sustainability and Property Rights Conference” – 17 June 2021:

NZCEL is partnering with the Institute for Environmental Law, University of Augsberg, Germany to present a collaborative conference profiling academics from both institutions. The conference will draw attention to the intersection between property law and environmental law. In this context it covers the perspectives of two different jurisdictions, seeks to promote sustainability as a balancing principle and expound requirements for sustainable environmental protection.

For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Martin Kment

  • NZCEL Symposium “Rights of Nature, Kaitiakitanga and the Concept of Earth Trusteeship

This symposium was held on 20 November 2020 with 30 participating academics, experts and students. It explored theoretical and practical aspects of Earth trusteeship through seven presentations and plenary discussions. A particular practical focus was the cultural and legal developments around legal personality for natural beings, including Te Awa Tupua. Gerrard Albert, Chair, Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganu Te Awa Tupua and Christopher Finlayson QC delivered presentations on their understanding of whether legislation and initiatives for Te Awa Tupua represent a significant shift in relationships and obligations. The results of this symposium will inform ongoing research.

  • A new research project: Nation State and Earth Trusteeship:

Klaus Bosselmann and Prue Taylor received funding for a research project entitled “Nation State and Earth Trusteeship: Advancing the Concept of State Sovereignty in the Anthropocene”. The aim of this project is to elaborate on the theory of the sovereign state as a trustee of both humanity and of Earth. The project will draw upon earth system science, emerging theories of governance and case studies demonstrating pre-existing examples of Earth Trusteeship. As part of this project, Prue and Klaus recently attended the 2019 Global Symposium on Ecological Law and Governance. The second day of the symposium took place at the Santa Chiara Lab at the University of Siena. The Lab takes an interdisciplinary approach and focuses on innovation for sustainable development. The highly productive day resulted in a proposal to transform the SDGs from an ecological perspective. This outcome was facilitated through the interaction of play and creativity. The presence of ‘boxes’ representing the 17 SDGs enabled participants to engage with the SDG’s in new and innovative ways.

Prue Taylor and Klaus Bosselmann at the Santa Chiara Innovation Lab, University of Siena.
Prue Taylor and Klaus Bosselmann at the Santa Chiara Innovation Lab, University of Siena.
  • Book launch: Fossil fuel subsidies and the law:

In September, NZCEL member Associate-Professor Vernon Rive of AUT Law School formally launched his new book Fossil Fuel Subsidies: An International Law Response at an event at AUT's St Paul St Gallery. The event doubled as an opening for a 2-week exhibition featuring a selection of climate change-themed photographs taken by Vernon at locations in South Africa, France, Auckland and Huntly during the course of a six-year research project on fossil fuel subsidy reform.

With support from the New Zealand Law Foundation, the book offers a wide-ranging analysis and critique of polycentric international responses to environmentally harmful fossil fuel subsidies. Drawing on interviews with officers and representatives of a wide range of institutions involved in subsidy reform, as well a broad range of cabinet papers and diplomatic correspondence, Vernon dissects and maps the activities of the international legal and governance framework relevant to fossil fuel subsidy reform. The book also contains constructive ideas and suggestions on how the international law framework could be employed more effectively and appropriately to respond to environmentally and fiscally harmful fossil fuel subsidies.

Vernon Rive is pictured here with AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack and Professor Kris Gledhill
  • The IUCN, Trophy Hunting and Environment Ethics – hitting the headlines:

In 2017 Professor Klaus Bosselmann and Prue Taylor (together with four members of the IUCN Commission for Environmental Law, Ethics Specialist Group) co-authored a report: ‘Compatibility of Trophy Hunting as a Form of Sustainable Use with IUCN’s Objectives’

Compatibility of Trophy Hunting as a Form of Sustainable Use with IUCN’s Objectives

Trophy hunting as a conservation tool, is highly controversial. Many IUCN members and observers have been highly critical of the organisation’s limited ethical dialogue on this issue. The purpose of the report was to encourage ethical debate on the topic of trophy hunting to ensure IUCN’s decisions (including those regarding membership) remain consistent with its ethical mission. The report was recently picked up by the UK Telegraph and acknowledged for its critical contribution to discussion.

Telegraph article.

A subsequent article concluded that it is difficult to see how the Ethics Special Group argument is wrong. See subsequent article here. 

  • From War to a Peace and Life Zone in Korea:

Professor Klaus Bosselmann was recently invited to Korea to attend the PLZ (Peace and Life Zone) Ecology Forum, 19-21 September 2019, organized by the People for Earth, (CEO Kang Geumsil) and Gangwon-do. The Forum was an integral part of the '2019 PLZ Festival' to newly recognize the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as a Peace and Life Zone or ‘PLZ’. The PLZ is a unique ecological area and well-suited to joint trusteeship governance by North and South Korea. The topic of Klaus’s key note at the Forum was “Earth Governance: The State as Environmental Trustee”. While in Korea, Professor Bosselmann also gave a special lecture at Seoul National University's Graduate School of Environmental Studies and was invited to meet with officials of the Korean government including the mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, to discuss prospects of ecological transformation. His visit was noted by Korean television and press, including an interview for one of the nation’s largest papers; The Central Times.

  • International Treaty Negotiations:

Prue Taylor recently attended the 3rd international governmental conference (IGC) to negotiate an implementing agreement to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, at the United Nations. She attended as a legal expert advising on behalf on the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). In addition, she provided legal advice at the request of individual Pacific Island States. Areas of advice included; adjacency, environmental and strategic impact assessment, marine protected areas, climate change and the oceans and the common heritage principle. The new implementing agreement (entitled: Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction) is intended to create a legal regime for protection of the high seas marine environment and benefit sharing/use of marine genetic resources. The August negotiations were the first to focus on a draft text

Visit the UN's official website.

Sculpture of a whale
Sculpture of a whale ensnared in plastic outside the UN Conference Centre, August 2019
  • Resource Management Review

Honorable Tony Randerson QC was recently appointed to chair the Government’s Resource Management Review Panel. The Panel is tasked with achieving a comprehensive review identifying the “broader and deeper changes needed to support the transition to a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.” The Government’s stated aim is “to improve environmental outcomes and enable better and timely urban development within environmental limits.” The terms of reference are still in draft form, but the review will encompass interactions between the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Local Government Act, Land Transport Management Act and Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon Amendment) Act.

Improving our resource management system

  • Dr Kenneth Palmer: In 2018, Dr Palmer participated as a legal adviser in the Environment Court regarding an application for a declaration. The decision, Application by McKay [2018] NZEnvC 180, determined that the conversion of a cross-lease title to a freehold title, would normally require a new subdivision consent under the Resource Management Act. This outcome would ensure that necessary services and easements were in place, and other rules in the district plan were satisfied.
  • NZ Journal of Environmental Law: The production of Vol 22 of NZJEL has continued in 2018, under the main editorship of Dr Palmer. The volume, to be published early in 2019, will contain nine articles, mainly authored by students in the postgraduate programme. The subjects include the German and NZ approaches to sustainability; environmental trusteeship of the global commons; marine genetic resources; tikanga Maori in genetic modification; philosophy and environmental law; NZ and German waste systems; local government strategies for GHG reduction; and pricing fresh water extraction.
  • Professor David Grinlinton is offering a new LLM course in 2019 entitled Selected Issues in Environmental Law.
  • Professor Johan Rockström: In April 2018, NZCEL partnered with the Hillary Institute and the NZ Centre for Global Studies to host Professor Rockström (Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Hillary Laureate 2017) for the delivery of a public lecture on Planetary Boundaries: Implications for Global Governance in the 21st Century. 
  • Professor David Grinlinton and Prue Taylor profiled: The University of Auckland showcased David and Prue’s work as part of its 2017 series on sustainability research and teaching.
  • Book Launch: Environmental Law in New Zealand (2nd edition), P. Salmon and D. Grinlinton (eds) Thomson Reuters 2018, was launched at the Faculty of Law. NZCEL members contributed several chapters to this comprehensive textbook.
Hon Peter Salmon QC and Professor David Grinlinton with Environmental Law in New Zealand 2nd Edition.
  • Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP): NZCEL and SPREP entered into a MoU in September 2017. This recognises past collaborations, including two editions of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements Negotiator’s Handbook, Pacific Region (2013 and 2017) and facilitates further work.
  • Addressing the United Nations: As part of the Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony with Nature and in commemoration of international Mother Earth Day, Klaus Bosselmann addressed state representatives on the concept of Earth Trusteeship including transforming the existing UN Trusteeship Council enabling states to function as trustees for humanity and nature.

Professor Bosselmann’s address begins at 53.35 min.

  • Book Launch: Ecological Approaches to Environmental Law, K. Bosselmann and P. Taylor (eds) Edward Elgar 2017, was launched at the Faculty of Law, Sienna, Italy in October 2017.
Klaus Bosselmann, Polly Higgins, Prue Taylor and Massimiliano Montini at the book launch.